17 Writers explore letters, sounds, and words.


Writers explore letters, sounds, and words.

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To write independently, children need to know the sounds that are associated with letters. As they become conscious of the sounds (phonemes) that speakers and listeners use naturally, they can learn to write the sounds as letters. This sound-to-letter consciousness opens opportunities for the children to write words their own way.

About the Picture An alphabet chart shows all of the letters and key words with pictures for doing sound matching.

Major Concepts

  • Knowing the alphabet and its sound-symbol relationships facilitates word spelling and recognition.
  • Consonant sounds are found at the beginning, middle, and end of words.
  • Vowel sounds include short and long sounds.

LAFS Covered in This Chapter

TEKS Covered in This Chapter

TEKS Covered in This Chapter

Daily Lesson Planning

Note: Because of the variety of phonics programs in schools, we are not proposing a specific approach to teaching phonics.

Introduction to the Alphabet Chart

  1. Invite the children to say the letters and name the pictures in the chart "Writers explore letters, sounds, and words." Relate this chart to other ABC posters and cards you may be using in your classroom. For example, ask individuals to name a letter and give other words that begin with it.
  2. Implement “Writers explore letters, sounds, and words” (BB 34).

Activities with Letters and Sounds

  • Implement sound-letter-word activities as appropriate for your students (BB 35-39).
  • Encourage children to write new words in their personal word dictionaries or in their Buddy Books (BB 80-105).
  • Let children explore a letter and its sound by making a class scrapbook for that letter. The book can be shaped like the letter, or the letter can be drawn on the book’s cover. Inside the book, the children can practice writing the letter and add magazine pictures or draw pictures related to the letter.
  • Make an alphabet quilt to display in the classroom. Begin by giving each child a colored square and directing the children to write a specific letter on the square and then decorate it with items that begin with the sound of the letter. When you have squares from A to Z, tape, glue, or sew the squares together to make a quilt.
  • After discussing the idea of name initials (K. A. K. for Katisha Ann Kalb), have children pick theirs from a pile of precut letters and share these initials, and their sounds, with the class. As a follow-up activity, have the children make a picture frame for their school photo, decorating it with their initials.
  • Ask each child to write a specific letter on a card. Then invite the children to find objects in the classroom that begin with the letter. When all children have found at least one matching object, have them tell the class the name of the object and its initial sound and letter. Repeat the same activity several times.
  • Have children choose one or two letters of the alphabet and then write a list of words or pictures that begin with the same sound as that letter.
  • Give each child a copy of "Alphabet Chart" to color or decorate. Let them take the copy home to display somewhere special.
LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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Additional Activities

These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.

  • Associate words with objects.

Put labels on dozens of things in the classroom. Play a game in which you call out a specific letter. The children walk around the room looking for labeled objects that begin with that letter. As they find them, they should try to read the words. This will help children to add to their sight-word lists. Use "Classroom Alphabet" if you wish.

  • Name the letters and sing the alphabet.

Prepare a set of large cards, each displaying a letter of the alphabet. Begin this activity with everyone sitting. Then give each child a card. Ask, “Who is the letter A?” The child with the A card answers, “I am the letter A,” stands up, shows the card to the group, and becomes the first person in a line. Continue playing, adding B, C, D, E, . . . until the whole alphabet is standing in line. (If you didn’t use all of the letter cards, ask children to tell who is missing. Then display those cards for the children to see.) End by singing the “A-B-C Song.” Use the "Alphabet Chart" as a prompt during the song.

  • Match letters to names.

For this activity, you will need several picture cards for each letter of the alphabet. Each card should be clearly marked with the letter of the alphabet that the picture represents. Have each child print the first letter of his or her first name and then find an alphabet card that matches that letter. When each child has a card, they may take turns saying the name of the picture. You respond, “That’s right. Mary and moon both begin with the letter m.” Children can also play with these cards by sorting them into letter piles.

  • Practice writing by using letter sounds.

Once children have a good sense of the sounds letters make, they can begin to write phonetically. Have interactive writing times when children contribute a word or sentence to a story and then attempt to write it. Praise their attempts and also write the words and sentences correctly as models for children to use. As children are able to write phonetically, they will grow as writers. Use "Writers use letters to make words" for this activity.

  • Learn that letters represent sounds.

Knowing letter sounds can be the key to writing for children. By using pictures and sight-words, children learn to match sounds with letters and can then create words to communicate their ideas. Practice making letter sounds for the beginning of simple words—fish, duck, house, sea. When children first try to write phonetically, don’t be critical about spelling and letter formation. Conveying ideas using letters and sounds is the initial goal. Once children are comfortable communicating in this way, they can work on improving the mechanics of their writing.

  • Play a game with letter sounds.

When children are confident about the sounds that letters make, play this game. Pin or tape a letter on the back of a child’s shirt so he or she cannot see it. The child then goes up to someone and asks, “What letter sound am I?” That child looks at the letter on the back of the shirt and says the sound that the letter makes. The first child must then guess what the letter is. Use only letters whose sounds children have learned.

  • Collect words.

Ask children to look for words on objects at home. Encourage them to bring, with permission, one thing from home that has words on it: a card, a food wrapper, a refrigerator magnet, a piece of notepaper, a package, junk mail, and so on. Talk about the items children found and how words are used to share ideas and information.

LAFS Standard:
TEKS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

Related Resource Tags

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English Language Arts: