ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Fun With Letters: Introduction

Friday, April 3, 2009

Fun With Letters: Introduction

Welcome! New to ABC and 123?
Please check out our FAQ in the left sidebar.

Today we're excited to announce the beginning of a new Friday feature, Fun with Letters! Starting April 17th, we'll begin posting letter activites every other week Fridays. This may prove to be a popular feature, as many of you are looking for early childhood activites.

Now, to consider a question quite controversial among teachers...
In what order should the letters of the alphabet be introduced?
There are several different methods, each with their own pros and cons.

Personalized Random Order:
The random, but personalized, technique makes letter work meaningful for your child's first introduction. For example, introduce the letters in your child's name, one at a time, followed by letters from your last name, favorite relatives, and friends. Or introduce letters related to your child's favorite activities: Tt for Trains, Dd for Dolls, etc.

Thematic Order:
This order is similar to random order, however the effort it made to tie the letter to a theme or season. Examples: Pp during October along with a pumpkin unit.

Alphabetical Order:
Letters are introduced in ABC order. This method is typically not preferred by educators. Why? When introduced in order, a lot of instructional time must pass before students are ready to use their developing letter knowledge for reading & writing. The first five letters of the alphabet are 5 difficult letters to master. a & e are difficult to because they are vowels and make more than one sound. b and d are confusing because of their similar appearance. c is a consonant that makes more than one sound.

Many preschools use Zoo Phonics. It incorporates letter sounds, animal names, and motions. Zoo Phonics is designed to be taught in ABC order.

CVC/Phonics Driven Model:
Many early childhood educators favor teaching the alphabet out of order. Typically several consonants are taught, followed by a vowel. This enables students to quickly begin reading and spelling three letter words. These 3 letter words are called CVC words (consonant-vowel-consonant). Ex. Bat, Sam, & Fan. This method also lends itself easily to teaching word families. Ex. Cat, Sat, Hat, Tan, Man, Band.

Remember the Letter People from your early childhood days? Letter people were/are taught in a more phonics driven method.

If you are interested in the CVC techique for learning ABCs try the following suggested order:
Consonants: Bb, Tt, Mm, Ss, Nn, Ff
Vowel: Aa
Now you can begin blending simple words with consonants ex. at, am, an.
Consonants: Dd, Gg, Ll, Cc, Pp
Vowels: Ee, Oo
This will allow your child to begin making such as leg and dog.
Consonants: Rr, Hh, Vv, Ww, Zz
Vowels: Ii, Uu
Consonants:Jj, Kk, Yy, Qq, Xx

So, What Order Will ABC & 123 Use When Posting the "Fun With Letters" Feature?
After discussing the pros & cons, we've decided to feature the letters in alphabetical order. We will begin with the letter A on April 17th. Although this may not be the preferred method for teaching the letters, we believe it will be the easiest for posting. By featuring the letters in order, we hope it will be easier for you, our collaborators, to keep track of upcoming letters & add your submissions accordingly!

We also recognize that many of you are already doing amazing alphabet activities. It seems there are lots of great ideas in your archives just waiting to be shared. The more you share, the better! We'd love for you to start sending us links to your A & B activities.

However, if we get enough interest in going through the letters in the CVC/Phonics method from our readers we'll make the you let us know what you think!

Alphabet Pointers:
As we gear up to begin our new feature, here are a few more ABC pointers.
Letter Sounds:
Here are suggested words to help teach your child the correct letter sound. Notice the X word ends with X. This is to more accurately model the correct sound X makes.
A as in Apple
B as in Boat
C as in Cat
D as in Dog
E as in Elephant
F as in Fish
G as in Gift
H as in Hat
I as in Igloo
J as in Jet
K as in Kite
L as in Lion
M as in Monkey
N as in Nest
O as in Octopus
P as in Pizza
Q as in Queen
R as in Rabbit
S as in Snake
T as in Turtle
U as in Umbrella
V as in Violin
W as in Walrus
X as in Fox
Y as in Yo-Yo
Z as in Zebra

Fun with Food, Eating the Alphabet:
A fun way to introduce each new letter is by giving your is with a tasty clue. Ask your child to guess the new letter based on the food presented. If you have food suggestions not included on this list please add them in the comments.

Aa: almonds,, apricots, animal crackers
Bb: banana, banana chips, blueberries
Cc: chocolate chips, cherries, carrots
Dd: dates, donuts
Ee: eggs - hard boiled, scrambled, or chocolate ones wrapped in foil!
Ff: figs, Fig Newtons
Gg: grapes, gummi bears, gumdrops, goldfish crackers
Hh: honey
Ii: ice cubes, pass around to hold and/or make colored cubes with a toothpick frozen in each cube. Use the ice cubes for painting on paper.
Jj: jelly beans, Jell-o Jigglers
Kk: chocolate kisses, kiwi
Ll: lemon drops or another lemon flavored candy such as Lemonheads, licorice, Lifesavers
Mm: M&Ms, mini or regular marshmallows, marshmallow fluff sandwiches
Nn: nuts, nectarines
Oo: Oreo cookies, orange slices, oatmeal - hot cereal or in cookies
Pp: pears, potato chips, popcorn, pretzels, pickles
Qq: food shaped like a Qq, or fruit cut into quarters
Rr: raisins, radishes
Ss: sunflower seeds
Tt: tangerines, Twizzlers
Uu: hide food underneath a desk or chair for "under"
Vv: valentine heart candies or cookies
Ww: walnuts, gummi worms, watermelon
Xx: food shaped arranged in a X such as pretzel sticks , licorice, or pickle spears.
Yy: yogurt, yams
Zz: zucchini bread or cooked zucchini slices
Don't forget to enter your comment in the giveaway for a SpellQuizzer program. The program is appropriate for developing vocabulary and spelling skills with students at EVERY grade level! See this post for details. We will be drawing & posting the winner tomorrow!


  1. Great learning & teaching ideas! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I think the order depends on the child. If I had a 4 yo who could say the ABC's I would go in ABC order. However, I have a 2 yo with a speech disorder. We do letters that she can say at the beginning of words. We are creating an ABC SOUND Book, too. We use google images and for family members' names photographs. It's great for us.

  3. love the eating with the alphabet idea:) something like that gives more real meaning to letters; i think!!

    noelle ♥

  4. Thank you, now I know what method my son's preschool uses. I never really understood the method to their madness before. They go by Thematic Order. I am really fine with whatever order.
    I LOVE doing the ABC foods with my kiddos! A great wabsite that gives alot of food ideas is

  5. totally tots is doing a weekly alpahbet theme your LO's will make 2 pages for each letter with the end result in a homemade alphabet book: 1 page is a letter art page the other is a interactive page~

  6. I love this!
    I look forward to the letter every week...I plan on making up a binder with a tab for every letter with the activities/lessons/ideas organized. Then I can decide which way to do it (alphabetical, thematic, etc). I think for us, based on your descriptions, thematic sounds the best.
    Thanks girls!!

  7. I agree with Annette, going in an order depending on the child! My daughter can say her ABC's as well, and I think we would go through them in alphabetic order.

    GREAT post! Comprehensive and practical!

  8. I had NO idea that this was even an issue when teaching. It makes complete sense and I would say that going in CVC order makes the most sense for those learning without any prior knowledge. I can't wait to see what you post!

  9. My dilemna is at what age to start introducing the alphabet. I don't want to push my LO such that I squander her natural desire to learn. Right now, we don't focus on letters, but we do read plenty of ABC books, and have made our own "Eating the Alphabet" alphabet book.
    She knows some of the letters (by associative word, not by letter name).

  10. I am looking forward to this feature. We haven't formally begun teaching letters. My daughter's preschool 3's class teaches letters thematically to start with. I think next year it will be more structured.

  11. I would email this, but I don't have outlook. Here are our Bb lessons. By clicking on each link it will take you to the post to show what we did.

  12. I am really excited about this! Can't wait to read more!

  13. I always love hearing the different methods/theories for teaching letter names and sounds. I definitely don't think there's one "right" way. Like others said, it depends on the child... and sometimes the teacher.