Our Preschool-3 children, both in-school and remote, are systematically introduced to the letter sounds of the English alphabet. Every letter is initially identified by its sound rather than its name. Letter sounds are further explored by a discernment of the initial sounds in words. Tiny objects, printed images, and illustrations all beginning with the same letter are used to aid in the recognition of the same initial sound. In the in-school program, “tiny word booklets” are cut and assembled by the children to keep and to “read” as reminders of words that all start with the same letter.
Both in-school and remote Preschool-3 learners follow the same letter order when practicing letter strokes for writing. The first group of letters to be practiced are c, o, a, d, and g. For these letters, the correct stroke begins at the “2 o’clock” position and moves counterclockwise in a shape the children are familiar with, the circle. The children practice proper letter strokes in preparation for penmanship through a number of mediums in the classroom and at home. In the classroom they start big. Standing in front of a whiteboard and using a colored marker, the children develop muscle memory for a letter’s stroke order by sending the stroke order message from the shoulder all the way down to the hand while tracing a large format letter. The in-school children also practice tracing letters at tables on a much smaller scale using a sandpaper letter followed then by freehand letter writing in a sand tray. The children also enjoy writing letters in shaving cream. They also make rainbow letters on a letter-tracing page using crayons or watercolor paints. The at-home children use their computer screens to trace the letters with their teacher. Then they move on to their letter tracing papers.
In the classroom and at home, the children play letter-sound association games. They may be asked to guess what letter sound an item starts with or find things in the classroom or at home that start with the letter sound of the week.
Letter sound practice and formation are embedded throughout both the in-school and remote classes. The children are really enjoying their letter sound discoveries.