Step-by-Step Strategies for ABC Phonics Mastery in Kindergarten: A Proven Teaching Progression for Optimum Learning (2017)
A Word about ABC Phonics Mastery in Kindergarten:
This ABC Phonics: Sing, Sign, and Read! program is one piece of our comprehensive writing workshop model, which has proven successful in diverse kindergartens in Salem, Oregon and across the country. Diverse kindergarten learners thrive with this comprehensive, authentic, and multisensory ABC Phonics program. We also know that in both affluent school communities and Title I schools, there are learners who need additional support. Assessment-driven instruction identifies these higher-needs learners early for systematic, intentional remediation that builds on Reading Recovery® research and principles of visible learning. Our engaging, art-rich approach does not let kindergarten learners fall through the cracks.
1. Discover the easiest, most delightful way to teach ABC Phonics skills. Don’t wait until kindergarten! First introduce the ABC Phonics: Sing, Sing, and Read! song with FREE instructional video clips and support materials to Head Start teachers, families of preschool, and homeschooling parents in the school community. Encourage a culture of family literacy so all children can build a strong ABC Phonics foundation for success of writing and reading fluency in kindergarten.
2. During spring kindergarten registration, give families the ABC Phonics Family Reference Chart and accompanying letter explaining the program. Do a short ABC Phonics program presentation on the actual spring kindergarten orientation day for new kindergarten families (See video clip on “Multisensory and Phonics Overview” and see document: Why We Use Sign Language and Fingerspelling) Help parents understand how ABC Phonics: Sing, Sign, and Read! builds literacy success for kindergartners with a strong “parents as partners” component. Check out "Parents as Partners" Resources. Many children master the ABC Phonics song and fingerspelling before school starts.
3. As part of Back-to-School Night, use a family scavenger hunt to involve families in teaching the fingerspelling of their child’s name. (See blog: How to Have the Best Back-to-School Night Ever.) Give each family a magnetically backed and laminated Family ABC Chart as another reminder to practice at home. (This is a small investment in time and resources that will multiply the teacher’s effectiveness.) Families use the chart as refrigerator art and are also reminded to use magnetic letters.
4. Teachers: On the ABC Phonics page, find examples of beautiful and organized kindergarten learning environments with consistent ABC visual props throughout the room from the ABC Phonics program: ABC Wall Cards, a vertical poster near the instructional area, miniature charts, books in the library for children to study, and dictionary pages in writing folders (download FREE resources on ABC Phonics page). Teach children how to access and use them!
5. Introduce 4 letters and sounds the first day of school and add 4 new letters every 3 to 4 days. Take the 20 days to 26 Letters and Sounds Challenge weaving short, targeted fingerspelling minilessons in throughout the day. (Many children will already know handshapes and simply need to work on fingerspelling with greater precision.) Keep learning joyful with high expectations! Some teachers use the slower version of the ABC Phonics instructional DVD to ensure more accurate American Sign Language (ASL) lessons.
6. Check for fingerspelling accuracy every day the first month of school by using those short segments of time as children are lining up for recess or lunch. Remind children to practice at home! I bet you practiced at home last night! Who thinks they are ready to demonstrate the entire song? Accurate fingerspelling is a vital piece for harder-to-accelerate students and English learners. The kinesthetic act of fingerspelling with accuracy will help the learners connect with the visual and phonetic components of language. Multisensory learning takes advantage of how the brain learns best!
7. Differentiate learning for early readers and writers. Allow them to soar! Provide a comprehensive, early writing program that includes ABC Phonics Animal Research Notebook projects. All children deserve a cognitively-challenging curriculum!
8. Provide name-writing lessons with the “Name Ticket” strategy from the beginning of the school year. Help children set personal goals beginning with learning to name, write, and fingerspell the letters of their name. Celebrate when a less experienced or struggling learner can instantly name and fingerspell every letter in his or her name. Wow! You worked hard and focused and now you instantly know every letter in your name. You must feel proud of your new learning. What’s your next learning goal? Is it l-o-v-e?
9. Assess students for letter and sound knowledge the beginning of the year and after 10 days of instruction. Determine which children may need additional support with auditory, visual, or kinesthetic memory. Aim for mastery of letters, sounds, and fingerspelling within 20-30 days. Remind parents to practice fingerspelling at home every night with the song and ABC Flashcards (Free Download: ABC Phonics Flashcards Lower Case and ABC Phonics Flashcards Upper Case). Coordinate with the Response to Intervention (RTI) team, or use volunteers, IAs, or 5th grade reading buddies (during their recess time) for additional support.
10. Intervention teams provide the same model of integrated ABC Phonics instruction, often slower, more intensive, and individualized, or in small groups with more repetition. Children use multisensory tools: salt trays to write words, magnetic letters, flash cards, white erase boards, the ABC Phonics book, and the slow teaching tutorial version on the ABC Phonics: Sing, Sign, and Read! DVD. They also use magnetically backed letter and sign language images on cookie sheets, ABC playdough mats, and sandpaper letters. The first ABC goal for ALL children is to write and recognize the letters within their first name; then “love” and a b c d; and the remaining 15 high-frequency sight words (kindergartners call them pink “heart words”). Children practice their ABC Phonics song daily with fingerspelling. They also practice writing and naming letters, and learning to write real words.
11. This accelerated literacy model embraces a growth mindset; learning is visible and multisensory and instruction is assessment driven. Feedback reinforces persistence and hard work towards a goal. More proficient writers are allowed to soar while all learners have the scaffolding for success. We want children to delight in learning new skills!
a. Look at all those letters you already know! When you work hard, you can learn anything!
b. Wow! How did you learn all the letters in your name?
c. Your “a” handshape looks just like the one in our book and chart: you sure are focusing.
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