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Emergent Literacy Instruction: Building Alphabet Knowledge with ABC Books

By Beth Poss, M.A. CCC/SLP

According to Erickson and Koppenhaver, “Alphabet knowledge is fundamental to literacy learning and includes the ability to distinguish letter shapes, name them, write them and identify the sounds they represent.” (2019).  Explicit, targeted instruction embedded throughout the day is important for students who are at the beginning stages of their literacy development and is particularly critical for students with significant disabilities. Alphabet books are a simple yet powerful way to build alphabet knowledge. Choose alphabet books with different themes to engage learners with varied interests.   While reading the books, focus on pointing out the target letter along with the sound the letter makes. Be sure to highlight both the uppercase lower case versions of the letter, so that students generalize their understanding of the sound symbol match to both forms.

A is for Angelfish appeals to ocean fans of all ages. This matching book allows readers to match the letter to the ocean creature or the ocean creature to the letter.

   

 

Wild About the Alphabet allows animal enthusiasts to read and write about the animals they encounter while reading. Practice writing the beginning letter, or just let an emergent writer explore with making marks on the page.

   

 

Get students moving with Action ABC’s and the accompanying puzzle.

   

 

Teach the letter signs along with the letter

Focus on individual letters or small groups of letters using books or games. I Like Pirates, targets P along with the core word like, while A Book of D focuses on D and gives students a chance to add their own D words at the end of the book.

   

 

Erickson, K. and Koppenhaver, D. Comprehensive Literacy Instruction for All, Teaching Students with Significant Disabilities to Read and Write, Brookes, 2019