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4 Engaging Strategies to Teach the Alphabet

by Model Teaching | March 19, 2019.

Identifying and writing the letters of the alphabet is a foundational step in every learner’s literacy knowledge. There are countless ways to practice these skills and it can be challenging to know which ones are most effective and engaging. We’ve explored hundreds of strategies and decided on our top 4 favorite ones.These engaging activities will give your young learners plenty of opportunities to grow their alphabet knowledge and practice identifying, writing, and using letters in a variety of ways.

Keep in mind as you read, we have also provided a number of great free resources below to help you teach your students the alphabet.  We will discuss each resource in this article, so please take a look at these tools as you read!  So, here we go!

Teaching the Alphabet

Strategy 1 – Repeat, Repeat, Repeat!

Having a consistent alphabet routine to start your literacy time is an amazing strategy that can help your students learn their alphabet quickly and effortlessly. This alphabet routine can consist of any kind of letter-related activity that you enjoy and want to implement in your classroom, but, ideally, it should remain the same each day at the same time. This repetition is a highly effective way for most students to learn their alphabet skills well. Some quick, simple activities for creating a routine could include:

  • Going through an alphabet chart
  • Completing an alphabet warm-up or alphabet-based morning work activity sheet
  • Or even singing a simple alphabet song or chant.

Pick 2-3 activities that you love and that engage your students and work through them every day. Not only will your students know what to expect from the start of literacy time, but they’ll absorb that alphabet knowledge without even knowing it!

Strategy 2 – Get Moving

Developing fine and gross motor skills while working on acquiring new skills is a super effective way to increase retention. Studies have shown that when students practice new skills while moving and using their bodies in different ways, their retention of those skills skyrockets! A study from Duke University found that a student’s ability to concentrate has a huge impact on their success in school. Young learners can benefit from increased concentration a great deal since their normal attention spans are somewhat short due to their age. So, get your students engaged and concentrated by giving them ways to use their fine motor skills while they learn those letters! Incorporate play dough and mats, activities with Legos or snap cubes, and even clothespin activities with lots of clipping and un-clipping. If you have enough space, giving students opportunities to move their entire body is fantastic too! You can teach them to create letters using their bodies, practice some great letter yoga with videos, or even just have them walk around the room to complete their letter activities. A moving body is a learning brain!

Strategy 3 – Sing it Out

Teaching your students catchy songs and rhymes that correspond to the letters and sounds of the alphabet is another great way to incorporate repetition and help retain information. Even better, teach them alphabet songs that have movements that go along with them to incorporate two of our top favorite alphabet-practicing strategies! Even if you think you can’t sing, teach your students a chant or rhyme from or recorded song. There are so many options available to listen and dance to, so find a few that you love and play them in your classroom every day. This kind of activity makes for super easy engagement because little learners love to sing and dance!

Strategy 4 – Make It Fun and Creative

Remember, you are teaching KIDS. Kids LOVE to have fun! It’s probably one of the biggest motivations for them at this young age. So, tap into that motivation and make your alphabet activities enjoyable! A lot of kids are naturally creative and will find ways to let that creativity shine in their work. Others don’t have such a natural knack for it, but often find the creative side of things to be very enjoyable once they’re introduced to it. So, pack in as much creativity as possible into your alphabet activities! Provide students with activities that allow them to color, draw, cut, glue, and match with different colors and textures. Incorporate alphabet flipbooks to complete and assemble, grab a few alphabet puzzles from a dollar store, or download a few simple letter games or activity packs from your favorite resource creators. A few other fun ideas include letter games on the iPad or computer, giving students the opportunity to work quietly with partners, allowing kids to use your “special teacher markers” or some new flash cards you found at Target. There are so many tiny adjustments you can make to your “normal” literacy routine to make it new, fresh, and fun while still holding the instructional integrity of your learning times. Just pick one or two that you love and see how your kids respond and how their knowledge grows.

There are so many great strategies to teach the alphabet, but we hope that you found a little inspiration here for some new activities and ideas to implement in your classroom. You know your students best, so pick activities that you know they will enjoy and be excited to participate in. Make their learning times as fun and consistent as possible and you’ll have a bunch of alphabet-lovin’ kids bouncing along to their next level in no time!

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Alphabet Building Cards

This resource includes task cards to help instruct students on how to build or create a specific letter or the entire alphabet.

Alphabet Charts & Warm Up’s

This resource includes sheets to use as warm ups or morning work, including a variety of activities all focused on each letter of the alphabet.

Alphabet Clip Activities

This resource includes cards for students to use clothes pins to identify letters and letter sounds.

Alphabet Puzzles

This resource includes puzzles for students to solve by connecting the upper and lowercase letters OR letters and pictures that start with their sounds.

Play Dough Letter Mats

This resource includes mats for each letter of the alphabet to be laminated and used with play dough and/or dry erase markers.


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