Nobody ever said teaching young children in Preschool, Pre-K, or Kindergarten to identify the letters of the alphabet was easy. You’re definitely not alone, many early childhood teachers struggle to help their children learn their letters.
The information shared here will help all early childhood professionals and caregivers embrace current best practices in emergent literacy instruction.
Letter of the Week
When you focus on introducing and teaching letters in playful, meaningful, and fun ways your little learners will learn them more quickly and retain the information taught in their long term memory instead of short term.
One of my superpowers is teaching young children how to identify letters. I created this page as a place to define and examine the common practice of teaching Letter of the Week in early childhood classrooms.
Over the years it has brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to Pre-K Pages in search of information and advice, including you!
If you’re here because you searched for Letter of the Week crafts, worksheets, or something similar I strongly encourage you to keep reading – there is a better and more effective way to teach your kids the letters of the alphabet.
The article How to Let Go of Letter of the Week in 5 Easy Steps is available for free. Get your copy of How to Let Go of Letter of the Week in 5 Easy Steps below.
Here are some of the topics addressed in the article:
- What is Letter of the Week?
- Research to Support Moving Away From Letter of the Week
- How Do I Begin to Move Away From Letter of the Week?
Watch the Video
Join the online video book discussion HERE.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and move away from the old-school method of teaching one letter each week, for 26 weeks then I invite you take the Letting Go of Letter of the Week challenge! You’ll be joining thousands of early childhood professionals who have already embraced the most current, research-based best practices for teaching the alphabet.
Letter of the Week Curriculum
You may be wondering how it’s even possible that Letter of the Week is considered outdated when there are tons of letter of the week curricula out there on Google? The fact of the matter is that change is hard – period. Change is especially difficult if it challenges the way we learned and possibly even the way our own children learned.
The truth is that there are new research studies being done on emergent literacy every single day, it’s just difficult to get the word out because it’s not really 5 o’clock news worthy, am I right?
The good news is that you’re definitely not alone in your fear of change. I created a course just for those of you brave enough to take the plunge and embrace the most current, research-based emergent literacy strategies. I’ll help you ditch the old-school letter of the week thinking for good and show you exactly what to do instead! This course is available in the Teaching Tribe where I help teachers like you bring their A games to their kids. You can get all the support and training you need in the Teaching Tribe. If you want to get on the waiting list for the Teaching Tribe, do it soon so you don’t miss the next open enrollment period!
The following are some of the questions I receive most often about moving away from Letter of the Week
When do you start teaching the letters? The first or second day of school. We read Chicka Chikca Boom Boom and do several name activities; “getting to know you” types of activities. Some students may learn a letter or two these first few days just from that limited exposure.
I’m worried that I might not cover all the letters if I don’t use LOTW. How do you know that you have covered all letters? Assessment drives instruction. Through on-going assessment you can identify exactly how many letters each student knows. I have several of my assessments available for download, you may find them useful. I have a spreadsheet of who knows which letters handy. When choosing letters for activities throughout the day I refer to the spreadsheet if necessary.
Many students do not need to have a letter “covered” in a formal unit to learn it. Some students learn more quickly than others and they will learn their letters naturally. For example; some students may learn a letter the first time they see it (letters such as “O” and “S” are good examples) just by pointing it out in a big book or other activity.
How do I explain to the parents that I won’t be teaching the letters of the alphabet in order? I would say the following: “The most current research shows that teaching letters in context is a much more effective method than the outdated Letter of the Week method that they may have been taught when they were in kindergarten or Pre-K. Just like there have been many advances in technology in the last fifty years, the same holds true for education.” Then I would reference the Developmentally Appropriate guidelines from NAEYC and explain how they are the authority on young children and how they learn. I would offer to sit down and review the NAEYC guidelines with with any parent who is interested.
How do you plan activities, crafts, and art projects if you aren’t teaching a Letter of the Week? I teach using themes or units, the activities I do are planned around those themes; you can do a literacy activity with any theme. Your themes can be generated from student interests to make them more meaningful. Click on the following link to see a list of common themes: Pre-K Pages Themes
How long does it take for you to teach all the letters? Since letters are taught in content via integration there is no time line for completion, each student learns the letters at his or her own natural pace; we are learning about all letters, every day, all year long.
No More Teaching a Letter a Week by McKay and Teale 2015, Heinemann