Activities to Strengthen the Connection
As students being to practice letter and sound recognition, writing the letters is also a great way to reinforce the visual and sound recognition. If you make a list of supplies for students, ask that each child have a notebook. If you do not do supply lists at the beginning of the year, notebooks can be purchased very inexpensively at back to school sales. Use these notebooks as writing journals. As you introduce a letter, provide practice in their writing journal for that letter. It is also helpful if you update parents on what letters you are learning as a class. This may encourage parents to work with their child at home. I often left these notebooks out in the morning for parents to peek at, and they make an excellent work sample come conference time. You can easily see the progression being made and the amount of work that has been completed.
The writing practice may need to begin with making circles and straight lines for beginners. Then as you introduce each letter, provide time for your students to write the letter in their journal, on a marker board, or they can even practice the letters in something fun like shaving cream or sand. When working in their journal, encouraging them to make a picture that starts with that letter will help to make that connection between the written letter and its sound. As more letters are learned, you can then begin to have the students write short words. Again, drawing a picture to go with the word help with memorization.
When it comes to the story telling connection between reading and writing, you will see that a child will tell or write a story that may have a connection to something that they read. At the preschool level where writing is not as advanced, you can have a child dictate a story to an adult, and the adult can write it. The child can then illustrate the story, building again upon the preschool writing and reading connection.
As you progress through the school year, continuing to build upon this reading and writing connection will build your students' confidence as they continue to learn to read and write. Always look to add activities that emphasize the reading writing strategies that you are teaching.
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