Do you teach a Letter of the Week? Nobody ever said teaching young children to identify the letters of the alphabet was easy. In fact, teaching letters to young children can sometimes feel like an uphill battle.
You’re definitely not alone, many early childhood teachers struggle to teach their preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten students to identify letters of the alphabet.
Letter of the Week Curriculum
Maybe you’re here because you’re thinking, “If I just had a good Letter of the Week curriculum it would help!”
Or maybe you want to prepare your little learners for kindergarten with done-for-you, no prep lesson plans to help them learn their letters in just 26 weeks.
But what if I told you there’s a better and more effective way to teach your kids the letters of the alphabet? What if what you really needed wasn’t a Letter of the Week curriculum?
Letter of the Week
Listen, I get it, a letter of the week curriculum sounds like a great idea, in theory. It makes perfect sense to us as adults. You teach one letter each week for 26 weeks, and at the end, “ta-da!” letters learned!
You don’t have to worry about the order of teaching letters, it’s all laid out for you, nice and neat. You start with the letter A and end with the letter Z, easy-peasy!
Add in a cute craft for each letter and you might think you’ve got an entire week of lessons for each letter of the alphabet – mission accomplished!
But did you know that introducing and teaching letters in context, using playful, meaningful, and fun ways is actually much more effective?
Here’s the thing, young children learn through repeated exposure, and those exposures must take place over a long period of time. This means kids don’t learn in a linear pattern, from A-Z. They learn at their own pace, as letters become meaningful to them.
Research has proven that children learn letters and retain letter names much more quickly when the letters are not taught in isolation. When we, as professional educators, embrace research-based, evidence-based best practices, the children in our classrooms will be better prepared for what comes next in their educational journey. This approach is so much more effective than surfing Pinterest and doing whatever looks fun or cute.
How to Teach the Alphabet
I’m Vanessa, and one of my superpowers is teaching little learners how to identify letters – I even wrote a book all about it! Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers will equip teachers to infuse every aspect of their teaching with exciting hands-on literacy teaching methods that engage students and help them build authentic connections with books, so that their students will have a strong literacy foundation and will be fully prepared for success in kindergarten and beyond.
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 products and ideas plastered all over the internet? 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, there are new research studies being done on emergent literacy every single day by top experts in the field, it’s just difficult to get the word out because it’s not really 5 o’clock news worthy, am I right?
Moving Away from Letter of the Week
In order to teach the letters of the alphabet effectively you don’t need worksheets, an alphabet binder for each child, a book to go along with each letter, hand print crafts or anything else. What you need is to understand how children actually learn these concepts and what you can do to support their learning. It’s so much easier than organizing tons of worksheets or painting hands, pinky swear!
If Not Letter a Week Then What?
You’re not alone in your fear of change, which is why I wrote Teach Smarter: Literacy Strategies for Early Childhood Teachers .
Here are some of the questions answered in the book:
- When do you start teaching the letters?
- 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?
- How do you plan activities, crafts, and art projects if you aren’t teaching a Letter of the Week?
- How long does it take for you to teach all the letters?