Considering creating personal alphabet books with your students? Here are some tips to help keep it manageable!
- Get the book ready ahead of time, with a page dedicated to each letter, and the upper and lower case version of that letter written on the page before beginning the activity
- Have ready access to a large collection of images (photos, clip art, flyers, coloring books, stamps, stickers etc), or be prepared to do some drawing! It is helpful to have a photo of the child, mom, dad, siblings and a pet prepared ahead of time (the updated version of My Personal Alphabet Book comes with hundreds of line art images to prepare yourself with, and things run very smoothly when they are easily accessible – that is my index card box pictured above!)
- Materials such as scissors, glue stick and markers should also be handy
- making a book takes time, and it will take a number of different days, even weeks, to create this very personal alphabet book
- the first letters to do are the ones the child knows best, perhaps his or her name, then some others. I often start off with this fun flip book activity and transfer a copy of the pictures the child has selected for this activity over, once I have confirmed that s/he does, in fact, still have the same letter / object association
- when the child sees the letter, or hears that letter sound, the word that pops into his or her head right away is what the picture should show (if the child does not have any ideas for a particular letter, it is best practice to review what is known, sing and point your way through alphabet books and do fun, multi-sensory alphabet activities to develop awareness until a link is established)
- this book will be special because no one else’s books will match exactly – the pictures are individual to the child who creates the book
- the pictures that go into the book have to match the sound of the letter on the page (for vowels, the short letter sound, avoiding combination sounds and exceptions) *Note: The pictures need to be instantly recognizable, and the student consistently saying the same word for that picture (i.e. be cautious with frog / toad, burger / hamburger, bunny/rabbit etc.)
- once all known letters are finished (or it’s ‘enough’ for one period), it is time to review the completed pages by pointing to the letter(s) on the page and the object (i.e. “‘mmmm’, ‘mmm’, mom!”)
Following the initial creation of the alphabet book, the adult and child will read what is in the book, and select another one to three pages to add a picture to each day. There may be a letter that is too difficult, or unrecognizable to the child at that time. Name that letter and sound for him, give a couple of quick examples, then leave it for another day.
Children learn best when they are happily engaged in what they are doing, and when they have their own sound alphabet that they have created from the words and names most meaningful to them. They gain confidence in their memory of letter sounds and using these sounds, with and later, without, their alphabet book.
A letter learning book filled with photos of family members, stamps, stickers and drawings of one’s favorite things, can you think of a more fun and meaningful way to learn about letters?
Do you remember letter learning from your own childhood? How are things different for your own child(ren)?