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

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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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About Post Author

The Speech Banana

My unique level of skill sets and eighteen years of working across the lifespan include working as an in-home ABA therapist (under the direction of elite Behavior Analysts), later as a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst  (known as Assistant Behavior Analyst, today) and ASHA licensed Speech-Language Pathologist.  I possess an extensive level of post-graduate training and enjoy research collaboration.  Over my professional career, I have had the opportunity to provide professional therapy services in hospitals, in-patient/out-patient rehabilitation centers, schools, skilled nursing facilities, academic learning centers and private practice. I have successfully coordinated and organized interventions for the most difficult caseloads and executed professional training programs for many educational and health-related institutions. An accomplished clinician, I possess knowledge and skills in all aspects of managing screenings, evaluation and treatment design. I have extensive knowledge and experience with individuals who exhibit complex communication profiles and problematic behavioral characteristics requiring alternative means of communication, feeding/swallowing interventions, specific behavioral intervention plans, and specialized executive function interventions.  My clinical competencies include knowledge and skills in the specialty interventions including:  The Lovaas Model of Applied Behavior Analysis, Errorless Learning, Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT),  Natural Environment Teaching (NET), Verbal Behavior Analysis/Mand Training, Family-Guided Routines-Based Intervention Floortime/DIR, Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Integrated Play Groups Model, Wilson Reading System, Orton-Gillingham, Language!, Lindamood-Bell, Auditory Integration Therapy, Earobics,  Integrated Play Therapy,  PROMPT, Tomatis Method, Neurofeedback and Biofeedback Interventions, TEACCH,  Assistive Technology, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), SuperFlex Social Skills Instruction, Beckman Oral Motor, Sensory Integration Techniques, and many more.
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