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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Find It....Letter Recogntion

Have you ever seen those "Find It" Games that are filled with lots of things for little people to find? I've adapted it for my emergent readers and I am absolutely IN LOVE with my latest edition.  If you teach little people, this could be a great activity to put at the top of your list when school is back in session for the Fall.  Now I am an intervention teacher and I have small groups of students usually in K and 1st Grade.  I'm not doing this with a full classroom of students so you can determine whether or not this activity would be cost prohibitive to you or not. Or perhaps you can be creative and get donations from parents or other sources in order to finance the activity. However, if you choose this is for you, then let me tell you ALL about it.

When I first started making "Find It" jars with my students, I collected baby food jars for each of my kiddos so they could take one home with them.  The positive was that I could always gather a bunch of baby food jars and they were really inexpensive...and in fact FREE.  Now I'm not a mom, but I think that perhaps baby food doesn't come in jars anymore or at least the moms in my building do not buy baby food in jars.  I have had a lot of difficulty getting my hands on the quantities that I need so this summer, I decided to go another route. I decided to see if I could purchase "jars" and while I was at it, I wanted plastic in case of those pesky falls caused by clumsy hands. This is what I came up with and I am really liking the solution.  Although they are about $1.50 each, they are so well worth it in my opinion.

In addition to the bottles/jars, you need alphabet letter beads. You can use one type or more than one type. This summer, I lucked out and found some beads at The Dollar Tree, so I wasn't shy with my purchasing there, as I've never found them so inexpensively.  I still have some leftovers from previous years, so I will use those as well. When using the letter beads, I want each student to have at a minimum, one of each letter in the alphabet.  But in edition, I have them spell out their name in beads and I include a bunch of extra letter beads that they did not know based on their initial letter screening assessment.  That way they will learn the letters that are important to them (their name letters) and the letters that are important to me (the ones they do not recognize).  If you are not able to find letter beads at your local dollar store, you can always find them at your local craft store. And just a side note....beads are usually capital letters, not lowercase, at least that's what I have found.

To fill up the jar the rest of the way so they look like an authentic "Find It" Game, you need  Ice Cream Sprinkles.  I'm from Ohio and we called them Jimmies growing up. Although perhaps Jimmies meant either the chocolate only or the rainbow only. I'm not 100% positive. Anyway, I purchased mine awhile back but they came from Gordon Food Service in 25 ounce jars.  But I have since found them online for cheaper.  And I would use what I needed and save the rest for the following year. I figure if they are expired, it's no big deal as we are not eating them right?

I also include a shiny penny in each jar.  I tell my students that is for good luck.  For whatever reason, they really like the idea.

I began using whatever alphabet strips I had in my room when students would sort through the letter beads. They were encouraged to find a bead that matched each of the 26 letters.  But I have since made a fun sorting sheet just for this activity and occasion.  I printed them on card stock and laminated them on my personal laminator, so they are extremely durable and will be good to use in years to come.  If you would like to download this SORTING SHEET FREEBIE, you are more than welcome to do so by clicking on the link below.


Once your students have found all the letters you require or suggest, you can use a funnel and start pouring in the sprinkles into the jar.  Mix in the beads so they are spread throughout the layers of sprinkles, alternating sprinkles and beads, as well as the penny.  Leave a little space at the top of the jar so the sprinkles and beads can rotate through the jar. And this is what the final product will look like. 

So good luck with your project. If you use some different materials, I'd love to hear how you adjust this activity to meet your needs.  Comment below and let me know how it goes.  

And for more great letter and sound activities, please check out the link up below so you can see what some of my favorite TPT teacher author's have up their sleeves.  

Until Next Time, 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Word Work For the Whole Year, Meet Ziggy, and Final Wednesday Linky of the Year

One of my favorite things to teach during Language Arts is "Word Work".  As an intervention teacher, so often my struggling readers do not realize there are similarities between known words and unknown words. I love a good word work session to point this out to my Intervention Students, but used this task a ton when I was in the classroom as well. I also love using it as a sight word review, for all of my students but especially the youngest. So this activity is truly versatile.

All you truly need to do this activity is a set of letters- could be letter cards, letter tiles, or my personal favorite, magnetic letters as I love doing this activity on a magnetic board that hangs on the classroom wall.  My favorite magnetic letters are from Educational Insights. They come in a variety of sizes so I have a ton of the small ones, and a few sets of the big one for my magnetic board.  This is what they look like in case you want to take a peek.  The thing I love about them the most is that they are blue(consonants) and red(vowels). You can visually see the color pattern in the words, and your students can start to see that EVERY SINGLE WORD HAS AT LEAST ONE VOWEL.  This is key information for a student to realize.

I also love having my students sitting around me on the floor near the board so all can see and participate. Students are armed with a clipboard, recording sheet, and a pencil for recording the words they come up with during the lesson.

So what is on the board you may be wondering?  You can put any phrase or saying on the board that you would like. It can be seasonal, related to a holiday, associated with a theme/topic you are working on...the sky is the limits. I make sure the phrase has a variety of vowels in it usually, unless we are focusing on a particular word family and then the vowels are limited.  You will know when you have a phrase that is not working for a lesson as there will be very few words that can be made from the component letters. Here is one that we were working on in second grade intervention this week:

My rule is that my students can not use the words that we start with, so no "happy", "mother(s)", or "day".  In teaching my students to do this, I often times will encourage them to put a different beginning on the word and make word family words such as may, hay, say, pay, etc.  We learn how to add endings such as "ed" or "ing".  We don't focus on plurals and just add "s" to a word once per lesson. Once your kiddos get the hang of this routine, they truly could work for 45 minutes on this task.  Depending on what grade level you teach, your students can work on a variety of different skills. This is truly so easy to differentiate and I have used this with all grade levels from K-4th.  

Now because this is so popular with my students, I have to say after years of using this activity, I finally printed up an instruction sheet. I  duplicated this on card stock and laminated it so it is durable and easy to leave should I have a sub in my room. It is way more detailed than I could ever be in my lesson plan book.  Take a peek at it here and you can get a free download of this in my TPT store as well. You might consider tucking a copy into your sub folder for a last minute absence.

If in the event, you are not creative, don't think you can come up with the phrases for this word work, and just like something already prepped for you and your busy lifestyle, I have included a link to my Growing Bundle that is available in my TPT store. You will see a sample recording sheet for Chinese New Year below.  It also includes a second sheet so you can copy the recording sheets back to back. (Color and B&W are included too!) This bundle will have all the information you will need for an entire school year of word work, as well as all the recording sheets and phrases you will need (7-9 lessons per month).  It is not finished yet, but grows month by month and the charge for the product goes up each time something new is added.  So you can get a good deal on it still if you are interested in incorporating this super activity into your routine.  You can take a look at it here for more information and details.

Growing Magnetic Letter Move Around- YOU CAN STILL SAVE $24 OFF THE YEAR LONG PACKET!

Here is what Mary Jayne from Rockville, Maryland recently had to say about this growing bundle.
"I absolutely LOVE this activity.  I bought magnetic letters for my students but didn't have a structured activity to guide them.  Needless to say, the build a word rotation wasn't very effective. Then I found your activity and my kids are really benefiting from having something to guide them."

Now, for the really fabulous news.  After losing my mascot, Izzy, this past Labor Day Weekend, our home and hearts have been filled with our newest addition, Ziggy.  We picked up this little guy this past weekend, and he is just a little cutie pie!  He is spunky, playful, loves to chew, and loves to explore. He is especially fond of his sock monkey, which may be bigger than him! While I knew how much we missed Izzy, this little guy has made it even more obvious. We are so glad to hear the pitter pat on the floors and he has wiggled his way into our hearts in just a few short days. 

And one last little nugget.  Below you will find some great seasonal products from some of my favorite TPT friends.  Take a peek below, and perhaps you will find something you just must need prior to the end of the school year!

Happy Word Working!

Until Next Time, 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

End of the Year is Near and Puppy News!

Does it feel as if the year is winding down for you?  I'm always amazed how once standardized testing is complete, it seems as if there is a collective "sigh of relief" and the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. Our final day with students is May 25th and our last day is the 26th. That's one month to go.  My mom used to say, the older you get the faster time goes and she was certainly right about that.

So are you looking to find a fun end of the year treat for your students?  They are all over Pinterest for you to pick. I have used this one by Falling into First a few times and it's always fun for my primary students.  They are simple to prep and very low cost.  You can always find multi-packs of bubbles at this time of the year at the Dollar Store, Christmas Tree Shoppe, or Target.

Another fun option, which is incredibly inexpensive are these adorable door hangers. My students will get these too.  The fun graphics make these door hangers so festive. Simply print on card stock, cut out, and your students will love them. There are five different versions, the one pictured below plus four others with adorable summer boys and girls on them.  Just click on the link below and you can take a closer look at them.

Some of my TPT friends will be posting some great end of the year items for you to peek at below.  As for me, it is 3:30 a.m. on a weeknight and I'm heading back to sleep. I awoke thinking of our new puppy, which will be coming home this weekend.  Perhaps I'm trying to get used to sleepless nights again. It's been 17 years since I have had a puppy and the Hubs definitely doesn't know what he is in for!  How can we resist this adorable face. WISH US LUCK and check out Instagram and Facebook this weekend for the big adventure. I'm sure I will post a ton of cuteness.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Lot of Sunshine for My Colleagues

I have mentioned before that I am in charge of the Sunshine Committee at my school.  We have just finished our state testing as well as MAP testing and we are all simply EXHAUSTED!  As chair of the committee, I love looking for ways for our staff to come together for fun, put a smile on their faces, and spread some sunshine.  So for the first time ever, I hosted a "Salad Bar Luncheon" for staff. Let me explain!

I printed and posted the above sign in key locations around our building to talk this activity up in order to maximize participation.  Next I posted a sign up in the office as I knew I couldn't do this alone, nor could the committee afford the whole luncheon. In order to dine, staff members had to bring in a salad ingredient.  My sign up sheet included various veggies, proteins, pasta salads, Ramen Noodle salads, Caprese salads, fun toppings, beverages, and crackers.  That way, staff members had the option of making it as easy or complicated as they wished.

Lettuces, salad dressings, plates, utensils, and napkins were all purchased with Sunshine Funds. (That was my job.)  I purchased my lettuce in bulk from Gordon Food Service, as well as some large bowls and utensils, so we could use them again in the future.

Upon arrival at school, staff members brought their veggies, toppings, beverages, and salads to the staff lounge where we loaded everything onto a cart.  All items were wheeled into our walk in refrigerator in the kitchen in order to keep chilled until lunch time.

In our building, our lunch times vary so lunch is served for various staff members anytime 10:45-2:00.  I staggered the times that food went out twice in hopes that things remained fresh and cold. And here is what our spread looked like! All staff members were encouraged to eat in the common staff lounge as opposed to isolated with their grade levels, and most did just that.  It was great to see everyone chatting, mingling, eating, and smiling.

And the best part....there are still leftovers for Friday's lunch.  Food is truly the way to make our staff members smile.  We are all so tired this time of the year, and it's always so well received and appreciated. So you may want to consider doing this at your school.  This truly is the time of year when we simply can not eat one more turkey sandwich.  A fresh, beautiful salad fueled everyone up for an afternoon of fun and learning.  Perhaps you will try this in your own building!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mr. Purple is the Winner

I have to say that I am slightly distracted these days.  Finally the Hubs and I got to pick out our new puppy this past weekend.  We lost our dog, Izzy this past Labor Day weekend.  Izzy was my dog before the Hubs and I got married. I brought Izzy home just a few weeks before school began in 2000, and had no idea what I was in for in regards to puppy training.  I swore right then, if I ever got another dog, it would be at the beginning of the summer, not the end. So that was my mission, to find another West Highland White Terrier as close to the end of the school year as I could. Also, you know that emptiness in the house when you take your dog to be groomed and things just don't seem quite right? We haven't gotten used to that emptiness feeling and so we decided now is the right time to get another dog.

We plan on getting another male puppy.  We were able to have first choice of the three males in the seven puppy litter. So we went this past weekend to have a look. The three males were roaming around the breeder's kitchen and all had a different color collar on...yellow, orange, and purple. All along I said, the first to come up to me would be our puppy.  That was Mr. Yellow. He was friendly, inquisitive, and social.  Mr. Purple was shaking like a leaf and we decided he was a bit too skittish.  And Mr. Orange was chewing on everything, including our shoelaces, shoes, and pant legs.  He was a little devil!  So we ruled him out but it certainly wasn't because of his looks.  Then Mr. Purple jumped into my lap, fell asleep for about 20 minutes, and stopped shaking. I started to have a change of heart at that point.  My Hubs said, "Well our wedding flowers were purple so maybe it's a sign." So now Mr. Purple is coming home with us in a few short weeks.

While it is not exactly the very end of school, we can make do for a few weeks with some excellent organization and helpers.  Then it will be "training camp" for Mr. Purple.  The easiest part is falling in love with these cute little puppies...the hardest part is finding a name that fits Mr. Purple's personality. That is to be determined.  So stop back for the big announcement soon.  But in the meantime, take a peek at this cutie patootie!  You will understand my total distraction once you see him.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

High Stakes Testing in Ohio and Linky

Happy Wednesday to you.  Here in Ohio, it is AIR testing week(s).  As an intervention teacher, I get to test students on 504's in small group, while putting my regular intervention groups on hold.  I always feel the pressure of not being with my regular caseload students. But, that is not to be while my 3rd and 4th graders are testing.

In the meantime, a most exciting time of the year follows testing.  While we just moved into the fourth quarter of the year, the light at the end of the tunnel has come into view.  Many fun activities have been planned for this time of the year. And as teachers, we can appreciate that the great push to testing season has passed, we can let out a joint "sigh of relief" and we can sit back for a moment, reap the benefit of our hard work, and have some extra fun with our students.

Below are some seasonal and timely products posted by my TPT author friends.  They just might allow you to have some extra fun as you plan for the end of the school year. Do take a peek and stock up on some great goodies.

I hope you have a great week. And for those of you testing this week, breathe and know that you have done an excellent job with your kiddos this school year.

Until Next Time,

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Homemade Anchor Chart Stand

It's almost Friday and I hope you are having a fabulous week. Today I posted a picture of a mini homemade anchor chart stand that I made on Instagram. I decided I had too many great anchor charts around and they just were not organized so I could get my fingers on them quickly.  I decided the majority were in "portrait" so I wanted to make my stand so it could accommodate as many of my charts as I could. keeping them all handy. Also,  I had a question about whether or not I had a tutorial on how I made it. So I thought I would post this here in case anyone else was interested in the specifics. Take a peek below if you are interested.  It is also on my Pinterest page if you would like to access it that way. What do you think?  Are you going to give it a whirl. If I can do it...anyone can.

Hope you enjoy getting organized.  It always feels great to me!

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Post Spring Break and Puppy News

Happy Wednesday and I hope you are having a great week.  If you are on Spring Break, I hope you are enjoying your time off and doing something super fun. For those of you in school this week, I hope all is going well. I'm back to the grind and the craziness has already begun as we finish up MAP testing and get ready for state testing next week.  As an intervention teacher, serving some of the neediest students in the building, I just want to teach. However, after every round of MAP testing, we have Benchmark Meetings, where we meet with each teacher individually to review data and make decisions on how to meet their needs for the remainder of the school year.  Do you do that in your building?

Other than that, with back to school on Monday, I decided to hold my last formal observation of the year that morning, with my first intervention group at 9:15 a.m.  Who thought that was a good idea? Typically, this group is adorable. Don't get me wrong, they were.  But they were a bit out of it. I felt incredibly relaxed going into it, had all my ducks in a row, and ran into technology difficulty.  I had my 2 minute video all cued up so I could incorporate some technology into the lesson.  My laptop logged itself off, I forgot my password (yes...I'm 50 and that happens all the time!), then my tech guy reset my password via text, all the while my boss is sitting there watching this unfold while I'm teaching my three spirited kindergarten students.  And then once my password was reset, I was unable to get on the internet! Let's just say, I'm pretty sure I get to keep my day job, however, I was really bummed as this lesson was definitely planned to the "T" and wasn't supposed to have any roadblocks. You would think after 29 years, I should've known this would happen.

So onward to happier news. Let me just say that this is distracting me each day.  I just received new pics of "the puppies".  If you've been around, you know that we lost our dog in September, after a prolonged illness. It's been an incredibly long seven months living in a home without a dog, after having one for close to 17 years.  Take a peek below for yourself!

Look at these cutie patooties!  These are the boys from the litter, and we are getting first pick.  There are actually only 3 boys so one of these little camera hogs is photographed twice, but I can't tell which one! Now the question is...how on earth does one pick from this adorable lot?  I'm hoping that one just crawls into my lap and that I will know!   I just had to share our excitement, because truly we can not wait. Our new little mascot will be joining our home at the end of April, as close to summer break as I could get.

So that's all the news for today. Other than, I have invited my friends to link up their newest and latest products below. I'm certain that if you take a peek, you can find something that you definitely can use in your classrooms.  I know I always to.

Until Next Time,

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Linky Party, Word Work, Puppy Update, and Blizzard in March

Happy Wednesday. This has been such a strange week.  We are in the midst of MAP testing, Spring Break is next week, and there is a blizzard in the Northwest.  I thought for a minute, here in Ohio, we might have a snow day or delay yesterday.  But the roads were all clear and it was business as usual.

In my current intervention position, I test students who need accommodations so this week is going to be a week of constant testing.  Sometimes, I really like the break in routine but other times it is just a crazy week of long days.  I'm not sure why this is the week as we have kids leaving on vacation so there are bound to be make ups.  And certainly, we don't want to assess kids right after we return from break as they will still "be on vacation". Not the best timing but we will make do!

Other than that, it's business as usual in my world.  I just added my April Magnetic Letter Move Around to my growing bundle.  So it currently includes December through April.  With several months left to go, this is still such a bargain at just $10.  It truly is one of the most versatile and easy to differentiate activities I've ever done with students in grades K-3. Kindergarten students can work on the most basic sight words, first graders can work on sight words and simple CVC words while changing the beginnings, middles and ends, second and third graders can start to build bigger words and add prefixes or suffixes...you get the idea. And the best part is that they will be consumed with this activity and they will work on it for an extended time period. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see a picture of one of my students working on this activity.

Growing Bundle- Magnetic Letter Move Around
Instagram is hands down my favorite social media site so if you aren't following me there, please stop by and check out my feed.  I snap pics throughout the school day and you can see exactly what my students (K-2) are working on in the Intervention Room and where the inspiration comes from for my latest products!  @taryns_unique_learning

Well that's it for me. Four weeks until we meet our puppy and seven until he gets to come home with us.  No name picked out yet.  I'm thinking we need to see him first!  But we are so excited and went shopping for all things puppy this past weekend. So stay tuned for damage reports!

And by the way, I'm taking next week off from blogging due to Spring Break.  So I will be back with you in two weeks.  Have a great break if you are off and see you back in two!

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Time Marches On

Happy March!  Yes, March.  The name of the month makes me think of the color green, signs of Spring, and shamrocks.  I went to Miami University (of Ohio) for undergrad and St. Patty's Day meant one thing! Green Beer!  I remember sitting in my education "methods" classes and one by one, students ran out the back door on St. Patrick's Day! Or maybe it was the morning after.  I can't remember as it was so long ago.

So today I thought it would be the perfect time to share two of my favorite March products with you. And of course, some of my teacher author friends will post some of their favorite items as well. Be sure to read all the way to the end and perhaps you will find something that you must have for this month in your classroom.

The first new activity is just right for your emergent readers who are still learning their letters and sounds.  It is pictured just below and is a super big hit with my students.  Included you will find 3 decks of cards, capital letters, lowercase letters, and beginning sound pictures. Choose the way you would like to play the game, give each student a game board and a hole punch, draw a card and find the matching letter around the perimeter of the board.  Students can have a board with either capital or lowercase, in sequence or mixed, or color or black and white.  So the activity is extremely versatile. I usually print my boards on card stock as well to make it easier for little hands to hold. For more details, click on the link below the picture.

The next activity can be used with older students. It is a St. Patrick's Day Acrostic Poem activity. This is a FREEBIE!  Yippee!  Simply download and copy for each student. This is the perfect way to add some festive fun to your week this week or next.  Kindly leave a rating and feedback for this in my store if you would.

Be sure to check out more great products listed below. I think there will be a little something for everyone.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Word Play Books, Puppy Advice, and Word Work

Happy Wednesday. The weeks are flying by and it is MARCH.  First off, there is a little bit of excitement in our household.  Our new puppy was born this past weekend.  That means the countdown is on until when we actually get him.  We will be bringing him home near the end of April. It's been about 17 years since I've done the puppy thing and that was before the Hubs was around. He has never had a puppy and is not going to know what hit him.  I know what is going to hit me and am bracing myself for it! My favorite shoes...gone, baseboards chewed, and if he's gone missing, FIND HIM!  But more about the puppy later.

This week I thought I would share some books with you that are near and dear to me.  I love to collect books that include some kind of word work within them.  Let me explain to you what I mean!

1.  There's an Ant in Anthony by Bernard Most-  Do you know this book?  This is my favorite book to use when teaching your students the reading strategy of finding little words inside big words.  All of the print is written in black but every time the word ant appears within a word, it is printed in red. This lends itself quite well to brainstorming a list of words with ant in it.  But be sure to have your red and black markers in your hand when doing so!

2.  Well Bernard Most must have thought he was on to something good here. Thirteen years later came another book with a similar format called Can You Find IT?  And you guessed it (no pun intended), the hidden word is it this time but it's not color highlighted.  This sure is a great follow up to Anthony as this is a skill that emergent readers work on all year long.  This I believe is out of print but you can pick up a copy online that is used perhaps. Mine actually came from Half Price Books many moons ago!  It's definitely worth the search. 

3.  Cock-a-Doodle-Moo by Bernard Most is also a fun one that is different from the previous two titles. Here a rooster is having a difficult time waking up all the animals and so the cow decides to help.  Only the Cock-a-Doodle-Doo doesn't quite come out right. All the animals are snoring too in this story so you will see zzzzzz's all over the place.  

4. The next title on the list is Word Wizard by Cathryn Falwell and it is still in print.  In this book, a little girl is looking at her cereal letters in her bowl, which rearrange to make new words.  What fun you could have with some Alphabits cereal!

5.  The Alphabet Keeper by Mary Murphy- Another fun one. The alphabet keeper keeps letters in a cage but the letters get out and swirl around making all kinds of new words.  

These books are all a great way to incorporate a little word work into your day, while teaching your students that little words make up big words.  Word Work was a part of my classroom routine often when I was a homeroom teacher.  And it still finds it's way into my Intervention Room too.  I have recently started updating my word work products in my store. They are now available in a Growing Package and are super engaging and useful for students in K-3.  I've used this activity with every grade level in between and you can't go wrong.  Take a closer look at this product because you can get it at a very low price right now.  I will be adding April in the next few weeks so the price will go up each time a new month is added.  Next week I will be blogging about how I use this product with my groups so stop back for more information!

OK....now back to the puppy!  I thought it would be fun to offer some puppy advice to the hubs since this will be his first time having a puppy.  Please humor me and offer him one of your wisest tips in the comments below.

And finally, check out some great alphabet and/or word work ideas and products from my TPT teacher author friends.  And teacher author friends can offer puppy advice for the hubs as well.  

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Now I Know My ABC's

As a former kindergarten and first grade teacher, I always found it helpful to have a ton of alphabet books on hand. Alphabet books are often appealing to students who are non-readers as they are often wordless.  They were always a great way to get students to learn their letters and corresponding sounds even when I wasn't directly instructing them. Many of these books incorporate letter sounds too, while others incorporate the alphabet into a story of sorts.  I decided today I would share some of my favorites with you. Perhaps some of your favorites will be on the list.  And wouldn't it be great if you learned about a new one right here?  They are not ranked in any particular order...just know that I like them all a lot.

  • The Handmade Alphabet- Laura Rankin- Includes sign language
  • I Spy- Lucie Micklethwait- Includes famous artwork
  • A Fishy Alphabet Story- Joanne and David Wylie- Always inspires a fishy art project to display in the room.
  • ABC POP- Rachel Isadora- Includes Pop Art Style Art Work
  • A Helpful Alphabet of Friendly Objects- David Updike
  • Arlene Alda's  ABC: What Do You See?- Arlene Alda- Love the photographs
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom- Bill Martin Jr.- The colors are so familar and loved by all.
  • Matthew A.B.C- Peter Catalanoto- Imagine 25 students named Matthew in your classroom.
Some of these books are not in print anymore but most are still available by some means when you search on Amazon. You can certainly take a closer look there. Do you have a favorite that didn't make the list? I'd love to hear from you below so comment with your favorite ABC title and email address. One lucky winner will win one of my alphabet products listed below from my TPT store.

I've also included a few great products below that specifically teach the alphabet and letter recognition, letter fluency, letter sounds, letter sound fluency, and letter sequence for your emerging readers.  They are truly products that I have used not only in the classroom but in my intervention office.  My students L-O-V-E these products and they are requested again and again with my kindergartners and firsties. Some are commercially available at your Teacher Education Store or Amazon, while others are available on Teachers Pay Teachers in my store.

My latest obsession for my little ones is using alphabet dot to dot pages. You can get individual copies online by just googling alphabet/letter dot to dot pages, many of which are free. You can also order some dot to dot books online and simply tear pages out for your students to use. Often times, you can pick some up at the store but I like ones that use lowercase letters too since the majority of letters students read are lowercase, and they are typically the letters learned last developmentally.

"Five in a Row" is another great activity that I have in my TPT store. I've refined it over the years but it is also loved by my students and a great one to stick in your Sub Folder for those days when you might be absent unexpectedly.  This comes in a letter recognition version and a letter sound version and depending on your students, you will find them both helpful based on their levels. Included you will find a draw deck of cards (or more than one) and your game boards.  Your students try to mark off or highlight five spaces in a row, while learning their letters, matching letters (same cases or opposite cases), and their letter sounds.  

                                                       Letter Recognition Five in a Row

We all know how important fluency among various skills is in reading success. I'm not talking about reading with speed here. I'm referring to fluency with letters and letter sounds. The quick recall allows our students to focus on the more advanced skills that are necessary to become a good reader.  DIBELS and Aimsweb (for good or bad) have given us the ability to see how "fluent" our students are quickly and easily in the area of letter recognition and sound recognition. My next product allows the opportunity to work directly on this fluency piece throughout the year but in a game format that is fun for students. Included you will find my "Spin and Say Boards" that are bundled for the whole year.  Also included are corresponding spinners.  Your little people spin the spinner, find the corresponding row on the board, and go to town saying the letters or sounds as quickly as possible. I simply copy these so I have enough for my small intervention group so each student has a set.  Just add a paperclip and pencil and your students are ready to spin.  SO MUCH FUN!

I can't imagine that if you teach little people that you haven't seen this game yet.  There are a bazillion versions of "Pop" available so I must include the letter version here.  This little box of popcorn will get used again and again. Your students will request this over and over as well. If you do not know this activity, you can thank me later.  But seriously run to your favorite catalog or teacher store NOW! You may get tired of Pop but your students will not!  And beware of the popcorn that says "pop" because all pieces of popcorn will get returned to the draw pile! 

And finally, you know that some of my favorite TPT teacher authors will have some great products for you that are just perfect for teaching those learning their letters and sounds.  So check out the linky below and you will find everything you need to add some more tools to your toolbox.  I wouldn't want you to be bored now would I?  ;)  

Until Next Time,