Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Alphabet Recognition

(Gotta love post options!)
As a Kindergarten teacher, alphabet recognition is something I have sort of been fighting with during the course of my first year at my new school. Coming into this school, I was told that the school does not believe in the direct instruction of reading. So that translated to me as no direct instruction of anything reading related, including alphabet recognition. I have struggled with this oh, for the last 7 months. I have taught Kindergarten before (granted in Southern California, and at a private school no less) where the kids entered Kindergarten knowing all their letters, how to write their name, and knowing most of the sounds (save for a handful of children who were clueless and were your quintessential Kindergarteners).
When this school year began, I was in for a major shock. Less than half of my students knew all their letters and even fewer knew all their sounds. Up until now, I have felt as though I have been doing my students a dis-service by not directly instructing in phonics, alphabet recognition, etc. SO, a switch went off in my brain and I decided regardless of what the school believed, I wanted these kids reading. Over the last couple of weeks, I have begun doing centers. I have three groups which are based on the results of the alphabet recognition check I did before Winter Break began. We meet daily and the kids love it. I couldn't tell you if those that weren't picking up on learning all the letters of the alphabet are starting to now but there's a joy in the classroom that had been absent for the past 7 months.

5 comments:

  1. good for you! I remember Samantha starting Kindy in a public school and the teacher being pissed off at me because she didn't know the alphabet and had trouble writing. I was absolutely gobsmacked! I thought kids went to school to learn those things. Not everyone goes to preschool... I guess that is easy to forget these days

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  2. I'm sure the students could feel your joy since you were happy doing what you felt was best. I am curious though, is it a balanced literacy approach that the school was looking for? I think you can do it both ways. Phonics is an integral part of learning to read whether you learn those skills in isolation or within text. I applaud your tenacity in jumping in to make it work for your class. Including some songs, poems and books that connect the letters to literature is what I guess the school was looking for. It wouldn't be hard to incorporate that into what you're already doing. I with you continued joy in your teaching.

    All the best,
    Jane

    http://theholeintheceiling.blogspot.com/2011/02/hole-in-ceiling.html

    http://algonkian.blogspot.com/

    algonkian.blogspot.com

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  3. You are doing a great job with your kindergarteners. No wonder they are enjoying your class :)

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  4. Phonics seems to go in and out of fashion. When I taught in the early 70s it was "out". But my collegue and I taught it anyway.

    Go for it.

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  5. Wow, I can't believe how many didn't know their ABC recognition/sounds. Sean knows his entire alphabet (he just turned 4) and we're working on spelling with him. He can spell a few words now. I'm quite impressed. He can even write the entire alphabet and some letters in BOTH upper and lower case! So proud of him. I want him to go to kindergarten and not be one who is behind. He's been inquiring about learning to read, so we're working on that (by sounding out words and asking him how to spell them) on a daily basis. The kid is a sponge.

    Sounds like you're doing a great job in your class. Can't wait to hear about how they are at the end of the school year compared to where they started in Sept. You'll have to do a year end report for us!

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