If you teach emerging readers, you likely do plenty of phonemic awareness work. This work is so important for cementing letter sounds in our students’ minds. It allows readers to retain it all when they begin reading words, sentences, and stories! As teachers of early readers, we know letter recognition is also one skill that needs to be developed to help readers grow.
Sometimes, however, that letter-isolation work doesn’t hold when you start introducing students to longer texts. I noticed with many of my early readers that they would have trouble recognizing a letter fluently as they were reading. If they can’t recognize the letter quickly, they can’t retrieve that letter sound in enough time to comprehend!
Strengthen Letter Recognition Skills
If you have students who are halting their reading over letter recognition, I have two different steps that you can take to help strengthen this skill in your readers!
1.) Continue phonemic awareness work at the beginning of every guided reading lesson. Some students simply need to spend more time orally working through sounds in isolation! Seeing letters and making sounds repeatedly will help your students retain these sounds over time.
2.) Use texts that highlight one letter sound, repeatedly. This shows your students the sound in context, and asks them to identify the letter name and retrieve the sound over and over again in one text. This can help further cement that sound, but while it’s mixed up with other letters! I have a set of texts in my store called ABC Stories, and they are perfect for this!
*Also, check out this previous post I wrote with several letter recognition activities that you can implement!
ABC Stories: Letter Recognition Focus
ABC Stories are a collection of 26 reading passages to use in the Pre-K, Kindergarten, or First Grade classroom. Each passage focuses on one letter, so you will find that letter multiple times in each sentence. This gives your students the opportunity to name one letter’s sound multiple times in one text.
My ABC Stories are versatile, and can be used in so many ways in the classroom. You can use them in guided reading groups and whole group teaching to introduce a letter. They also work well for homework to send home with students who need work with one particular letter, reading intervention groups, and more!
Depending on the age of the students you are using these passages with, you can approach instruction in a few different ways.
How to Use the Passages
My recommended way of using these passages with Pre-K and Kindergarten students is to first read the passage aloud to a student or group of students. Following that, ask them to go in and identify the letter that is being focused on in that passage by circling it each time they see it. They also will label the pictures with words that start with the same letter.
There are versions of each passage with only the text, and separate student pages with both the text and the tasks for students to complete. So, you can read the text together, and then send them off to complete the work independently, or in small groups.
If you have students who are advancing as readers, but only need to work on one or two letter sounds, you may be able to use the passages as a paired reading lesson. You could alternate reading sentences with your students, or have students read sentences immediately after you (also called choral reading). This will promote reading fluency, as well!
ABC Stories and Distance Learning
Recently, my ABC Stories went digital! Now, you can purchase these passages in a PDF format and print them to send home, or you can purchase the Google Slides version and upload them to your virtual classroom! Watch the video preview on my TPT listing to see how to assign these digital passages to your students, and ideas on how to use them!
If you can’t live teach your students this year, these ABC Stories are a great way to ensure that your students are getting plenty of letter and sound work from home!