Literacy is an important focus of early learning and a special passion of our teacher, Mrs. Scherpenisse. In Kindergarten, our students arrive in September with a wide variety of literacy “skills.” While some students may be printing their name, recognizing letters, and even know some sight words, others are at the very early stages of making connections about the alphabet, printing and the idea of reading. Both ends of the spectrum are fine, because what they all share in common at this early age is a keen interest in learning and trying new things!
While some students may be printing their name, recognizing letters, and even know some sight words, others are at the very early stages of making connections about the alphabet, printing and the idea of reading.
Our teacher likes to introduce the alphabet first by the sounds that letters make, as opposed to the shape of the letter. Children hear words and letter sound constantly, far before they become aware of “seeing” a word. Universally, children love stories, poems and songs, and in our class we capitalize on that to help make the connection between sounds and letters.
We also emphasize and repeat learning opportunities in as many ways as possible. As an example, a fun and simple poem using “H” words is printed on the easel. It is shared with the class as a song and repeated by the students over several days. Seeing the words as they sing helps make the connection between the “huh” sound and the shape of the letter “H.” Perhaps jumping up and down to get the kids a little breathless helps them further experience and understand the breathing out “huh” sound. Writing the letter in the air lets everyone “print” the letter successfully – eliminating worries about not doing it right or having it look the same as others. A brief task of writing the letter in both lower and upper case in an alphabet journal or on their personal white board adds further repetition and emphasis, and finally, story time might share a story about a hippo or boy named Harry!
It all starts to come together in these brilliant kindergarten minds, and we provide lots of opportunities for progress based on individual development stages. By the end of the year, all our students are well on their way to being successful and confident readers!