Little Miss Teacher Blog

By Clara Fiorentini

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Approaching Letter Knowledge in the Infant classroom

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Hi everyone,

One of the topics I get asked about most frequently is how to tackle literacy and letter knowledge with the Infants.

Here's a brief overview of a typical approach for me:

This week we have begun work on letter 'S'.

1. Letter Sounds

Before ever beginning the letter, I always play "Sally Sound Snatcher" with our puppet Sally. Sally steals initial sounds of words. Obviously if I'm beginning a block of work on letter 'S', Sally will conveniently steal the sounds of lots of objects from around the room that begin with letter 'S'.
Sally Sound Snatcher: " I see the _tars on the door!"
Teacher: "What is Sally saying? I wonder what Sally can see?"
Children: "Stars"
Teacher: So what sound did she snatch from us?
Children: "Ssssss"

2. Introduce the letter sound. 

Jolly Phonics is the scheme I *loosely* base my planning on. The Jingles are handy but be careful - some of their sounds are a bit off - especially for letter 's' - make sure you are teaching the children to say 'ssss' rather than 'suh'.

3. Words that begin with the letter.

The images are from Twinkl - I've downloaded the full pack, one for every letter and blend! Very handy. We play a few memory games with them each day for the week we are studying that letter.

4. Set up a letter & sound table.
The children are free to add to this as the week progresses.

5. Sensory Experiences:
I set aside a table where the children can trace on a variety of surfaces using their finger - paper, sand, gel baggies and pipe cleaner letters!  Sandpaper letters, rice and playdough feature too. I try to alternate with different varieties of surfaces each week.

6. Letter Hunts
I chose a story for the week that contains lots of words beginning with the letter we are learning about. For example, this week we are reading the story, 'The Smartest Giant in Town' and hunting for words that begin with  'S' throughout. At the end, we recap and record all the 'S' letters we remember hearing. The children provide the words and I record them on a whiteboard. We count them up and see if we can find even more the next day.

Another way we hunt for letters is after we have shared and recorded 'Our News'. We review it on the board and take turns circling letters we recognise. This develops in to words etc. over time.

7. Writing
For writing we have a writing song for each letter - for example for letter 's' we sing: (To the tune of the Wheels on the Bus)
"Start at the top and swirl around,
Start at the top and swirl around,
Start at the top and swirl around,
To write the letter S."

There's just so much scope with letter knowledge work without ever letting it become dull, repetitive or mind-numbing to teach!



  1. As i babysit my niece most of the time i have the responsibility with things like these as well. and this post gives me a lot to try out for her. keep posting more

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