I thought it would be helpful to list all the resources I use to teach my young kindergartner(5) letters and letter sounds. I absolutely love teaching this age! It’s so fun and they are eager to learn. The lessons are short and varied to keep it interesting for us all. This is what I use for my 5 year old. Your child might be ready to jump in a littler earlier or later, you know them best! If at anytime my daughter seems disinterested, we just put it away and play again later or the next day. We’re pretty laid back over here!
There are so many free resources online that you can pull from, anything from printables to game ideas. I utilize these often, but my daughter also uses a guided workbook alongside them. Some students are ready to start blending letter sounds after completing lessons like this, and others might still need more time.
When my oldest son was 5, he already recognized all the letters and letter sounds, and was even blending a few cvc words together on his own. We jumped right into a phonics curriculum, but a few months in, he was very frustrated and discouraged. If I could do it all over again, I would have played more letter based games with him. Not only do I think he would have had a blast really solidifying the letter sounds, but he would have gained a ton of confidence before moving on to easy readers. Lesson learned. Sorry, bud!
By the way, you don’t need all of these resources in order to teach letters. I chose not to include the beautiful and very expensive, wooden alphabet board that my daughter only used one time. It would have made for an Instagram worthy picture, but it’s just not something we use….ever.
The one and ONLY hands on manipulative that my oldest used when he was 4 years old was a cheap set of alphabet foam letters, and they worked great! I’ve slowly gathered what we have now over time and purchased the games/puzzles for birthday and Christmas gifts.
(The Amazon links below are all affiliate)
Main curriculum we use:
The Good and the Beautiful Pre-k Language Arts Course Set
This includes a workbook, games, and flashcards. They have several sample pages for you to flip through.
I’m not convinced that she needs a curriculum at this age. We could just play letter based games all the time, but she really enjoys her little workbook. 🙂
To help with letter formation and early writing:
The Good and The Beautiful Doodles & pre-writing
It’s a cute “doodle type” workbook that focuses on strokes and forms used to create letters and common shapes. It’s really fun and she works on it independently during morning basket.
Other manipulatives that we use to help with letter formation are:
*Homemade play dough to form letter shapes. (Stamps or wooden letters are also fun to make impressions in play dough)
*Sand tray (my daughter’s favorite). I use a half pan baking sheet that was meant for a toaster oven similar to this one, and found the sand at Michael’s
*Alternatively, we sometimes head outside. She grabs a stick and writes in the dirt, or chalk on the sidewalk.
Board Games, Card Games, Puzzles and Flashcards:
This was the first set of cards I purchased for any of my kids. They come in two sizes, 4×5 or 7×9 and I have the large ones. They were hanging up in our classroom, but since we don’t spend much time in there anymore, we use them for flashcards. She also uses them for a reference when working on letter formation practice. You can find them HERE.
*Go-fish Alphabet Cards
We use these cards the most. We also play memory match games with them. They have upper and lower case with a mommy and baby animal on each card so even my preschooler can play with us by asking/looking for the animal. It’s very family friendly!
*Alphabet Island board game Match upper and lower case letters. There’s also an option to use the pictures on the back of the cards to help learn beginning letter sounds. It’s a really fun game to learn all the letters and letter sounds in one.
*Alphabet Bingo Game Includes upper and lower case letters.
Now for the FREE stuff! There are so many really great resources out there, and my two favorite places for free printables come from PreKinders and Totschooling.
I love finding the picture/beginning letter sound matching games and upper/lower case matching games. I change these up every new season. My daughter absolutely loves them! I’ll link to our favorites below. Obviously it would be convenient if you owned a printer. 😉
Some of our favorite free printables are:
Bingo Stamping Cards
Alphabet Photo Cards (clip cards for beginning letter sounds)
Letter Tile Mats
Cookie Jar Letter Sound Matching
Ice Cream Alphabet Match
Games that you can play:
Letter Hop- Write the letters on a piece of paper (or use your flash cards) and have them hop next to each letter saying the name/sound.
Bean bag letter toss- Write the letters (or use flash cards). Place the cards on the ground and as you say a letter the other player has to toss the bean bag on that letter. Take turns calling, and don’t forget to practice letter sounds!
Letter Hopscotch, calling out each letter and sound as you jump on the squares.
So, what does a typical lesson look like? We usually go through one page in her workbook, run through a few flash cards, work on letter formation with her choice of manupulative, and then choose one printable/game to play with. On the days that we play the board or card games, we don’t do anything else. It doesn’t take us long at all and she is having so much fun.