One thing I distinctly remember from when I was a Kindergartener, was playing with the alphabet magnets on a magnetic easel. When I was in Kindergarten, most of what I learned throughout the year was letters and their sounds through lots of letter recognition activities. These days, most Kindergarteners come in knowing all their letters and the majority of their sounds. This doesn't mean we don't have to worry about letter recognition! It's important to continually teach the letters and their sounds to start building their fluency and prepare them for the first steps of learning how to read.
Teachers are usually split on how to teach letter recognition and sounds in Kindergarten. Some prefer to focus on one letter per week, teach the sound, as well as focus on other phonics skills. Many curriculums are laid out this way. Other teachers prefer the “boot camp” style- teaching one letter per day for the first 26 days of school. It really depends on your school and class with how you teach letters. I prefer to do a week or two of just letter recognition, then three to four weeks of focusing on letter sounds, each day focusing on one to two sounds. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to teach letters and sounds, just as long as you spend time reviewing and practicing them. Today, I'm sharing 10 simple letter recognition activities for Kindergarten with you!
10 Simple Letter Recognition Activities for Kindergarten
1. Pocket Chart Games
If you have a pocket chart and some alphabet flashcards, you're in luck! There are plenty of ways to practice naming letters with a pocket chart. You could play memory, where students have to match the uppercase to the lowercase letter. You can hide an object behind a flashcard and have students try to find it, by saying the letter name of each card. Another idea is to use letter cards to spell the names of our classmates.
2. Play Dough Letters
Fine motor skills are SO important to continue to develop in Kindergarten. Playdough is undoubtedly my favorite way to add in a little fine motor practice plus it's fun! Have students roll out the play dough like a snake to make different letters. You can display the letter on the board, or use a playdough mat like this one found here: Phonics Play Dough Mats.
3. “I'm thinking of a letter…”
This guessing game is a fun way to practice the various attributes of a letter! Your students will try to guess what letter you are thinking of by giving them clues, and then letting them guess. For example, “I'm thinking of a letter that is a vowel. It looks the same both uppercase and lowercase. It does not have straight lines.” And you may have guessed I was thinking of the letter O!
4. Alphabet Sort
Using stamps, letter magnets, or even a pencil, have students sort letters by their different attributes, by vowels and consonants, or if it's in the students' name. You can grab this freebie here: Free Alphabet Sorting Mats.
5. Play a song
Did you know that songs help kids learn? Hearing that rhythm and rhyme helps skills stick in their brains longer. Think about how you get those songs stuck in your head, even from 10 years ago! You can find a whole playlist of songs to practice letters here.
6. Letter Crafts
This makes an adorable book that students can take home once they are finished! We did these letter crafts as part of our Fun Friday centers every week. At the beginning of the year, I did a lot of modeling and we did the first few together. After a few letters, they were able to do it just by looking at the picture sample.
7. Read a book
Reading is one of the best ways to add in some variety to your phonics lessons! Grab an alphabet book and have students go on a letter book hunt while you read. Pause when you come to a letter and have the students shout it out.
Check out my post on books that teach letter recognition and sounds here.
8. Letter Hunt
Use what's already in your classroom to go on a letter hunt! Have students pick a letter card out of a basket and go “hunt” for that letter. They can find it on a poster, book cover, friend's name, anywhere! Once they find one, they stop where they're at until all friends have found a letter.
9. Write and Wipe
Give each of your students a whiteboard and dry erase marker. Call out a letter and have students write it on their board and hold it up to show you. You can quickly check and see how your students know each specific letter.
10. Shaving cream letters
Squirt a little bit of shaving cream on each student's desk and have them practice writing letters! You can call the letter out to write or write it on the board and have them copy it. Bonus: this makes your classroom smell amazing and cleans the desks!
More Letter Recognition Activities for Kindergarten
If you're looking for a simple, all in one guide to teaching Letter Recognition and Sounds, check out the Kindergarten Phonics Curriculum Unit 1: Letter Recognition and Sounds. This includes a six-week unit overview, phonemic awareness warm-ups, detailed lesson plans, center activities like the play dough mat above, worksheets, and more!
What letter recognition activities for Kindergarten would you add to this list?