Letter of the Week information for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten teachers.
One of my passions is teaching children how to identify letters in the most meaningful and fun way that I can. I also enjoy helping early childhood professionals and caregivers embrace current best practices in emergent literacy instruction.
This page started 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!
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.
The following are just some of the most frequently asked questions 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 via integration. 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 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following: “The most current research shows that teaching letters in context is a much more effective method than the outdated Letter of the Week method that they may have been taught when they were in kindergarten or Pre-K. Just like there have been many advances in technology in the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 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 complete all letters? Since letters are taught 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