All About Letters – Teaching Letters and Sounds for EASIER Skill Acquisition

Read Time4 Minutes, 45 Seconds

I am often asked HOW to teach letters and letter sounds to children that don’t seem to pick it up easily within the classroom setting.  I have utilized this systematic method for eighteen years!  Give it a try…it really works!!!

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Matching Skills

Step 1: Uppercase to Uppercase

SD:        “Match”

“Find the same.”

“Put with same.”

“Show me the match.”

“Find this one.”

Example: While giving the child the uppercase letter “A” and say, “Match”.

SR:  The child matches the letters correctly.

Example: The child will match the uppercase letter “A” with the uppercase letter “A” on the table.

Prompts: Physical, Verbal, Pointing, Tapping

Note: Start with a field size of 3 or 4 and gradually increase to 8 or 10 as the child continues to match correctly.  The therapist may use letters printed or typed on index cards or 3-dimensional letters such as magnetic refrigerator letters.  Only place uppercase letters on the table in this step.

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Step 2: Lowercase to Lowercase

SD:        “Match”

“Find the same.”

“Put with same.”

“Show me the match.”

“Find this one.”

Example: While giving the child the lowercase letter “b” say “Match”

SR:  The child matches the letters correctly.

Example: The child will match the lowercase letter “b” with the lowercase letter “b” on the table.

Prompts: Physical, Verbal, Pointing, Tapping

Note: Start with a field size of 3 or 4 and gradually increase to 8 or 10 as the child answers correctly.  Only place lowercase letters on the table in this step.

Step 3: Uppercase to Lowercase

SD:        “Match”

“Find the same.”

“Put with same.”

“Show me the match.”

“Find this one.”

Example: While giving the child the uppercase letter “C” say “Match”

SR:  The child matches the uppercase letter to the lowercase letter.

Example: The child will match the uppercase letter “C” with the lowercase letter “c” on the table.

Prompts: Physical, Verbal, Pointing, Tapping

Note: Start with a field size of 3 or 4 and gradually increase to 8 or 10 as the child answers correctly.  Remember the lowercase letters are on the table.  The child is matching the uppercase letter to the appropriate lowercase letter.

Step 4: Lowercase to Uppercase

SD:        “Match”

“Find the same.”

“Put with same.”

“Show me the match.”

“Find this one.”

Example: While giving the child the lowercase letter “d” say “Match”

SR:  The child matches the lowercase letter to the uppercase letter.

Example: The child will match the lowercase letter “d” with the uppercase letter “D” on the table.

Prompts: Physical, Verbal, Pointing, Tapping

Note: Start with a field size of 3 or 4 and gradually increase to 8 or 10 as the child answers correctly.  Remember the uppercase letters are on the table.  The child is matching the lowercase letter to the appropriate uppercase letter on the table.

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Receptive Skills

Step 1: Identify Uppercase

SD:        “Show me the letter …”

“Find the letter…”

“Give me …”

“Where is the letter…”

“Hand me the letter…”

“Point to the letter…”

Example: “Show me the letter A”

SR:  The child identifies the uppercase letter by giving or pointing to the correct letter.

Example: The child will touch the letter “A”.

Prompts: Physical, Verbal, Pointing, Tapping

Note: Start with a field size of 3 or 4 and gradually increase to 8 or 10 as the child answers correctly.  Only place uppercase letters on the table in this step.

Step 2: Identify Lowercase

SD:        “Show me the letter …”

“Find the letter…”

“Give me …”

“Where is the letter…”

“Hand me the letter…”

“Point to the letter…”

Example: “Show me the letter n”

SR:  The child identifies the lowercase letter by giving or pointing to the correct letter.

Example: The child will touch the letter “n”.

Prompts: Physical, Verbal, Pointing, Tapping

Note: Start with a field size of 3 or 4 and gradually increase to 8 or 10 as the child answers correctly.  Only place lowercase letters on the table in this step.

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Expressive Skills

 Step 1: Label Uppercase

SD:        Simply hold up the letter card or 3-dimensional letter

“What is it?”

“What letter?”

“Tell me the name of this letter.”

Example: Hold up the letter “A” and ask “What is it?”

SR:  The child will verbally label the uppercase letter.

Example: “A”

Prompt: Verbal

Note: Teach the letters in random order.  No not teach letter A then B then C…

Step 2: Label Lowercase

SD:        Simply hold up the letter card or 3-dimensional letter

“What is it?”

“What letter?”

“Tell me the name of this letter.”

Example: Hold up the letter “a” and ask “What is it?”

SR:  The child will verbally label the lowercase letter.

Example: “a”

Prompt: Verbal

Note: Teach the letters in random order.  Do not teach the letter “a” then “b” then “c”…

 Step 3: Rote ABC’s

SD:        “Tell me the ABC’s”

“Tell me the alphabet.”

Example: “Tell me the alphabet.”

SR:  The child will say the alphabet.

Example: “A,B,C,D,E,F,G….”

Prompt: Verbal, Written

Step 4:  Intraverbal

SD:  The therapist will say a string of letters in consecutive order.

Example: “E,F,G_”

SR:  The child will fill in the next letter in the sequence.

Example:  “H”

Prompt: Verbal, Written

Letter Sounds

Step 1: Receptive

SD:        “Show me the letter that says ____.”

“Find the letter that says ___.”

“Touch the one that says ____.”

“Point to the one that says ____.”

Example:  “Show me the letter that says SSSSS.”

 SR:  The child will point to the correct letter.

Prompt:  Verbal, Pointing, Tapping, Physical

Note: Start with 3 or 4 letters on the table and work up to 8 or 10.

Step 2: Expressive

SD:        “What letter says _____?”

“Tell me the letter that says…?”

Example: “What letter say “pa”?”

SR:  The child answers verbally.

Example: “P”

Prompt: Verbal

Step 3: Reverse

SD: “What sound does ___ make?”

Example: “What sound does “S” make?”

SR:  The child will verbally produce the correct letter sound.

Example: “SSSSS”

Prompt: Verbal

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