We teach so many different skills to develop young readers. Here is my list of my top teaching alphabet identification printables and favorite free resources used this year in my guided reading groups.
These have helped me focus on specific skills to teach how to read and meet student needs.
Alphabet identification in kindergarten
I use these materials with small groups of students (4-6) who are demonstrating a similar reading level and generally similar strategies and skills.
However, I will mention sometimes I pull just 1-2 students from a group to work on a piece of a skill before calling the rest of the group to come over and join us.
I don’t use these for kindergarten literacy center materials (though you could), just small group work.
My literacy centers are broader and differentiate themselves based on where students are at.
My favorite freebies
Let me start by listing some of my top alphabet identification and letter recognition free activities.
I Spy Letters – I like to give students a fun way to work on identifying letters. Once they locate a hidden letter in this I SPY workmat, then they name it and write it.
This is the alphabet version of the beginning reading strategy “What makes sense?” They use the alphabet chart and knowing the abc’s as their background knowledge/schema to draw from.
Strategy Tip: Keep an alphabet chart handy for reference so they can say their abc’s in order to find a match if they have difficulty naming it.
I Spy Jungle Letters – I love I Spy activities so much that I created another version for my class to use.
This one focuses on lowercase letters and has three different recording sheets so you can have options.
Alphabet Rock Paper Scissors – This is a twist on the classic game “rock paper scissors.” Use the cards for students to identify and then compare the symbols.
This feels like a war game in the way it’s played and is handy to play with an alphabet chart nearby.
Tip! Copy these cards onto colored construction paper to create sets that are easy to keep separate so that you can have multiple games going on at once with easy clean up.
Letter Name Treasure Quest – This game is a simple one. It works where students pull a letter card and identify it.
They keep it for identifying correctly as a point and there are additional cards that change up the rules for play to keep it interesting.
Everyone keeps playing until all the cards are drawn. The winner is the one with the most cards.
Flashcard Flash – This is a less “exciting” activity, but my students enjoy assessing themselves or working in partners so it works for us!
Each student has their own set of cards. It’s easy to track who’s cards belong to who since each child gets their cards printed onto their own color.
They like to keep track of the number they get correctly and try to improve next time.
If they use the strategy of finding it on the alphabet chart… it goes on yellow – but they can still get points for using a strategy.
When they consider the cards they got right as “points” it becomes fun!
Here are some great free letter flashcard sets we used:
Dot Maker Letter Mazes – The idea of using visual discrimination to name letters is powerful. I use a letter maze once I’ve identified the 1-2 letters that are causing the most difficulty for a student and then use it specifically with them.
They get one focus letter. They begin searching for the focus letter as they practice moving left to right and top to bottom along the letter grid.
Once they find the focus letter, they have to identify its name before stamping it. I choose lots of letters that look similar to make this a challenge.
Let’s wrap it up
I hope that you can use one or some of these alphabet identification ideas with your kinders in small groups!
Ready for more skills to work on? Here are my favorite 5 beginning sounds activities for free.
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