A few weeks ago I shared how I had done a training on teaching the alphabet with a letter a DAY instead of a letter a week. I was wildly curious to see how this would work when applied to our homeschooling. We have been doing gentle homeschooling since Athena was about 2 1/2, which included a weekly letter. We have been struggling to connect the letters in the ABC song, to the actual symbols and sounds themselves.
In an attempt to “up our game” so to speak, I did a few VERY intentional things to help with our recognition and connection.
The first- StoryBots. We have been watching StoryBots on Netflix, and the girls LOVE the StoryBots Learn to Read series. However, sitting in front of the TV watching the episodes over and over isn’t realistic, nor something I WANT to do. However, you can get the soundtrack from the episodes, which I have compiled into a single playlist! We have a few Bluetooth speakers. Depending on where they are at, I will put a speaker out, and play the StoryBots playlist while they play. Not only does it cover each letter of the alphabet and their sounds, but also grammar, punctuation, vowels, and letter combinations like “sh” and “ch.”
The second component that I added to our ELA are 2 apps. The first is The Good and the Beautiful Homeschool App. This app is LOADED with resources. For our purposes, we have been using the Kindergarten games. These mostly consist of short sight words, but Athena loves them. We also added in the Duolingo ABC app. Just like the original Duolingo which helps you learn a different language, the ABC app is designed for tiny humans to learn their ABCs, basic sight words, matching letter sounds, etc. A few days a week, she is allowed 20min between the 20 apps. Because we limit the screen time, even though it’s educational, she is MORE excited and focused on doing the work. Duolingo also provides weekly updates as to her progress and what she reviewed.
Third, I have a number of ELA pages from various My Mega Bundles that I have purchased in recent years. Identifying letters vs numbers, identifying a letter from a group, a bunch of other options. I did my best to coordinate the pages that we did with the letter of the day, but some of it was just straight up practice- and that’s ok!
And finally, the intentional letter-a-day itself. We used a very basic, ABC workbook for Pre-K/K that I had gotten in the Target Dollar Spot- no joke. We worked through the letter, it’s sound, it’s StoryBot song, and how to write its capital and lower case. I also tried to throw in learning the ASL sign for letters since they love doing hand songs so much.
As I had said in my original post, it can be hard to quantify and truly assess if this change in method “worked,” because it could be a combination of the changes made along with regular old childhood brain development. I can tell you that her piano teacher has seen a serious increase in her letter identification and being able to write them. Along this process I also learned that it’s not uncommon for children who are read to often to be able to read/identify sight words before they are able to consistently identify their alphabet, though it feels on par for my child to be able to READ before she even fully knows her ABCs. I can tell you that though not perfect, I’ve seen a marked increase in her ability to identify letters by their symbols. I can also tell you that I’ve seen enough improvement that we will continue to do this letter a day cycle!