Letters, there are so many ways to teach letters.
I figured we should start doing letters given we aren’t officially starting school this fall. It has been a battle of a decision, but we all have come to an agreement that it would be better to home school for preschool. Just preschool though.
Since there are so many different, redundant ways to learn letters, I thought we could make things more interesting and less predictable, by bouncing around the alphabet, instead of going in traditional order. I asked Snug what letter she wanted to do first and she said Z, T fell in nicely after that.
We started learning about letters the only way we know how, by going to the library.
(Side note, not all the letters will be like T and Z, they get better and more in-depth).
For our letters we get a couple of different kinds books, though I can’t believe how few books we got for Z. There are far more out there. We always get the Animal Antics A to Z books, that is picture on the bottom left, this is the focus of our letter, the star book, as it were. Next we find sound books, the sound of z, the sound box, etc. Then we get a general alphabet book that contains all the letters and a story about them. Finally we find books that have the letter in the title.
Zachary Zebra’s Zippity Zooming by Barbara deRubertis – Part of the Animal Antics A to Z series, Alpha Betty has a school and a class and each of her students is a different letter/animal combination, 26 students in all. One for each letter, the books are full of that letter, in this case Z. Zachary Zebra is always zipping and zooming around until one day when it seems his zip has gone right out. Turns out Zachary had been losing some Zz’s, staying up and reading ‘Zoe’s Zombie’ stories. He learns, by himself, to make better decisions about when to read and learns the importance of a good nights sleep.
Zack’s Zippers the Sound of Z by Cecilia Minden – This is a nice early reader book. There is a sentence on each page with an emphasis on the letter Z. This series is great, fun simple stories, that the kiddos can learn to read while they learn their letters. (Also this series is great because they do different letter sounds, hard G and soft G, long A and short A, are some examples).
My “x, y, z” sound box by Jane Belk Moncure – The classic sound box book. This book is about a little character, the letter kid, who goes around looking for things to put into his sound box. Usually it is only one letter per book, but x, y, and z have sparse choosings. So they combined, apparently.
AlphaOops The Day Z Went First by Alethea Kontis – This is Snug’s favorite book. We have checked it out every other week, since we initially got it. Z gets tired of waiting at the bottom and demands to have a turn going first. All the letters, except A, think it would be great to change things up a bit and there are letters everywhere in mass chaos. ‘A’ makes up for things in the end and all turns out well.
Zen Ties by John J. Muth- This is a nice story. A very relaxed story, with very good morals. It is worth checking out, not one of Snug’s favorites, but I thought it was lovely.
Beyond the books and activity books, we usually pull out all of our activity books and go through each one looking for the letter Z page. We do that writing page and leave the rest. This has been working out well so far. I noticed that when we used to go page by page, we would always get tired or stop by a certain letter, E or something. We never really went past that. One page at a time now.
So, beyond the books and activity books, we had one more little activity that came from the Animal Antics book. On the very last page there are some activities and a note about the featured animal. Then on the bottom of the page, in non-obtrusive small font is a sentence that says for more activities and games visit www.kanepress.com/intro-animal.html. They have the best activity sheets, each at least four pages long and full of games about the letter.
For Z they had a couple of games. The first was a board game, for zippity zooming.
There were 12 pieces to cut out, along with the three characters. After placing the characters in their spots on the board, you pile up the pieces. Grab one from the top and read what it is, depending on what letter it starts with the character with that letter goes. Whoever zips to the end first wins.
The other game was a mad lib game of sorts about Zoe Zombie. There, again, were pieces to cut out and place on lines to fill and create a funny story. Find these activities here!
Beyond lots of talk and looking to spot the letter Z, that was all we did.
Tessa Tiger’s Temper Tantrums by Barbara deRubertis- In this animal antics story Tessa is having a very hard time being a good sport, trouble in games often leads to tantrums. After her team loses the big t-ball game Tessa has the biggest tantrum yet! So big, no one wants to play with her anymore. Hard lessons are learned with the help of Alpha Betty and Tessa learns how to be a good sport.
My “T” sound box by Jane Belk Moncure- same idea, same author different print edition.
Ted and Tim the sound of T by Cecilia Minden- same as above, I don’t quite remember what this one was about.
One my Trip the sound of TR by Cynthia Fitterer Klingel- This book was nice, just like any sound book it had very simple sentences, this featured tr words. Great learn to read phonics book.
Tennis, Anyone? by Shane McG- A boy gets a tennis racket, but doesn’t understand what it does or who even plays tennis. He goes around asking and exemplifying everyone! His dad plays with him and he finds, in the end, after some tries, he in fact loves tennis!
Tiger Trouble by Diane Goode- This one is fun….and makes sense….but it is one of those where you just have to take the story for the story. A child and his/her tiger live in an apartment happily, until a new man buys the complex and moves in. He doesn’t like cats in any form and tells the child the tiger will have to be gone by the morning. That night, a burglar tries to break into the wealthy owners apartment, the tiger stops the burglar and saves the owners dog! All is well and the tiger is well-loved in the end.
Tangerines and Tea, my grandparents and me; An alphabet book by Ona Gritz- I was thrilled when I found this alphabet book! Not only is it an alphabet book, it starts with the letter T! It can’t get any better really. Through the alphabet, siblings tell of the things they love to do when they visit their very special grandparents.
We of course, did our activity books and then the animal antics pages for T also. I didn’t take any pictures, there was one page about being a good sport and another about hearing the sound of T within a word. You can find that worksheet here.
P.S. I FORGOT THE BEST PART OF OUR LETTER ACTIVITIES! Well maybe not the best, but…
For every letter, we will do a final project. An art project. On the back of a sheet of paper, we write down all the words that start with the letter we learned about. On the other side we do a different form of art for every letter.
Since we were just starting out, we did simple art for Z and T.
This adds a little more depth the the project. Over the course of the alphabet we will be thinking of and sampling many different kinds of art to decorate our final letter. After we are done with each letter we put them in a binder in alphabetical order, so Snug can look back on them.