The Alphabet Chant
The alphabet chant is one of the most important things we learn in our kindergarten classroom. It provides students with a way to learn letter names and sounds while giving them visual cues. Having your child practice the chant while pointing to the pictures and letters will help them memorize the letter and the corresponding picture. This is a valuable tool for all students in our class since we will practice it, refer to it, and build upon it throughout the year. Students who are just beginning to learn the letters and sounds of the alphabet will have a visual reference with a picture to help them. Students who already know letters and letter sounds will use the guide words and pictures in various ways as they develop as writers.
To practice the alphabet chant we say the letter name twice, followed by the picture name, and then say the letter sound twice followed by the picture name. For example for the letter "A" we would chant: "A a apple" "/A/ /a/ apple" It often helps to point to the letters and pictures as you say them. Kids love to do the chant backwards, skip letters, or you can make an extra copy to cut up and pull letters out of a bag to say and sort.
In class we use the alphabet chant to help students learn to write independently. Kindergartners use it as a reference guide to help them write the sounds they hear in words. At this developmental stage, we do not worry about conventional spelling. Even though it is tempting to spell words for your children…please, please resist! In order for students to learn about how letters and sounds work they need to experience it first hand. When we spell words out for kids we are sending the message that writing is too hard and that only people who know how to spell every word should be writing. We want kids to gain confidence and learn to love writing. When you are writing with your child have them say the word out loud, write the sounds they hear and move on to the next word.
For example if they are writing the word "balloon":
1. Have them say the word out loud and write the beginning sound /b/.
2. If they are not sure what letter makes the sound, show them the Alphabet Chart and have them find the "bear" and write the letter b
3. Repeat this process until they have written the whole word
4. If they need to spell a sight word such as "the" or "was" please have them copy it off the “word wall” chart on the back of the Alphabet Chant. We use t his “word wall” in class to help students spell sight words correctly during Writers Workshop. You can support your child at home by allowing them to copy these words as they come up in sentences. *Remember, sight words should be memorized and not sounded out.