Pre-school Theme Day
Letter “A” Day
To help my 3 year old son learn that the alphabet was more than just a song, we had letter days. Having them individually helped him to recognize that each letter is different just like each shape is different. After our theme day we’d review that letter for the week until the next theme day.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
The obvious choice for letter days is the “the “ABCD..” alphabet song that most of us learned in school- http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/a004.html
Many different Children’s Music Recordings have other alphabet songs (like Sharon, Lois and Bram’s “Alphabet Medley” from their Travellin’ Tunes album), check your children’s collections to see what you have on hand.
There are songs that emphasize the sound of each letter, too (The one that we know sounds like “Farmer in the Dell” but goes “A says A and A says ah, every letter makes a sound, A says A and ah”).
You can find many free colouring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Alphabet Coloring Pages ” (you can often find alphabet pages with favourite characters on them too like the Sesame Street Characters) or print out my “Big A Little a” Colouring Page.
While colouring the page emphasize the shape by helping your child trace it with his/her finger and emphasize the sound (for Letter A day emphasize the two main sounds “A” and “ah”).
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any alphabet books.
Go to the library with your child to find some alphabet books.
Go to the library on your own to find alphabet books to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “alphabet” under “Children’s Books”). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Try to find some of these fun alphabet books:
· A is for Annabelle, by Tasha Tudor, Henry Z. Walck, Inc., 1954 – I couldn’t resist including this old alphabet book found at our library for its classic illustrations of the doll of the title and all her accessories starting with each letter of the alphabet.
· A is for artist: an alphabet, Photography and design by Ella Doran, Design and illustration by Silence, 2004 – This book has bright photographs for each letter making it an appealing choice for kids.
· A is for axel: An Ice Skating Alphabet, by Kurt Browning and illustrated by Melanie Rose, Sleeping Bear Press, 2006 – Written by World Champion professional skater Browning, this rhyming book looks at every aspect of skating from A for axel to Z to Zamboni. Along the sides of each page additional text offers history or interesting fact.
· A Was Once an Apple Pie, by Edward Lear and illustrated by Suse MacDonald, Orchard Books, 2005 – The original text from this book was published in 1871 but with the sing songy silly rhymes and new and bright illustrations it still entertains today.
· Action Alphabet, by Shelly Rotner, Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1996 – This book has photographs of kids in action to illustrate each letter of the alphabet. Because each page only has the action word and not the letter individually you may want to have your child find the letter at the start of each word to highlight the alphabet. It’s also fun to try to do all the actions.
· Agent A to Agent Z, by Andy Rash, Arthur A. Levine Books, 2004 – In this different alphabet book Agent A is assigned to find the Agent who is not doing something that starts with his letter.
· Alfie’s Alphabet, by Shirley Hughes, The Bodley head, 1997 – the alphabet is highlighted by looking at different things in the little boy Alfie’s world.
· Alligator Alphabet, by Stella Blackstone and Stephanie Bauer, Barefoot Books, 2005 – Fun bright paintings adorn each page that has a baby and parent animal holding their lower case letter. The text rhymes as well.
· Animal Antics: A to Z, by Anita Lobel, grennwillow Books, 2005 – This circus themed books has acrobats in the shapes of the letters and animals on each page.
· My “a” Sound Book, by Jane Belk Moncure and illustrated by Colin King, The Child’s World, 2001 – A boy named “Little a” finds things that start with the letter A to put in his box.
Letter A Collage:
Materials: A copy of my Aa worksheet, old magazines, child-safe scissors, washable glue stick, damp facecloth for sticky fingers.
· Step 1: Look through old magazines with your child and together look for things that start with the letter A.
· Step 2: Help your child cut out the letter A pictures from the magazine to make a pile of pictures to glue on the Aa worksheet.
· Step 3: Show your child how to glue the pictures onto the collage and then let him/her glue the pictures on the paper however he/she likes.
· Step 4: When the collage is dry display the collage (fridge, bulletin board, child’s door) or glue it into your Family Theme Scrapbook.
Letter A Sticker Collage:
Materials: Coloured paper, stickers of things that start with the letter A (or of the letter A itself if you can find some alphabet stickers).
· Step 1: Have your child pick the colour of paper to use for the background
· Step 2: Give your child the stickers or cut outs and let him/her stick or glue them to the coloured paper however he/she wants.
Materials: An apple cut in half lengthwise, a copy of my Aa worksheet , scrap paper, paint, waxed paper, face cloth for dirty fingers, newspaper or plastic for covering the table, old t-shirts or art smocks .
· Step 1: Have your child pick the colour of paint he/she wants to use.
· Step 2: Remind your child that apple starts with the “ah” sound.
· Step 3: Show your child how to press the apple half in the paint and press it onto the worksheet to leave an apple print (you may need to press it on scrap paper to rid the apple of excess paint).
· Step 4: Let your child stamp the apple half in the paint and on the worksheet.
Diced apple (use the other half of the apple you cut for the apple stamping).
Dried apricot (or sliced fresh apricot) and almonds (for those with no nut allergies) make a letter A snack.
Applesauce makes a quick snack.
Apple juice is a refreshing letter A drink.
Avacado sandwich: mash avocado with lemon juice, a little salt and some cumin for a sandwich spread.
Alphabet soup is an obvious choice.
Serve asparagus with dinner.
Buy some Angel Food Cake from the bakery (or bake your own – we used a box mix).
Apple pie or anything sweet made with apples (apple crisp, apple cake, apple turnovers) would make another sweet treat that starts with the letter A.
Step 1: Put the three pages of the Alphabet Chart on your fridge with magnets or pin it to a bulletin board or tape it to a wall.
Step 2: Have your child colour the Cut-out Aa Card.
Step 3: Help your child cut the letter Aa card out.
Step 4: Have your child apply glue to the back of the Aa card and glue it on the Alphabet Chart (or you can have your child use tape) in the appropriate space.
Step 5: Review what letter it is and what sound it is throughout the week by pointing to the chart.
Fill a pie plate with sand, sugar or salt and teach your child how to trace the letter A in the sand. When you are finished tracing dump the sand in a re-sealable bag to use on another day.
Review the entire alphabet by using a set of flash cards (found at book stores, educational stores, even craft stores) or make your own by writing each letter on an individual index card.
There are many different websites that offer games for preschoolers. You can find them by looking up your child’s favourite television characters. Here are two from the Sesame Street website:
Big Bird’s Letters is a simple game because it only involves your child pressing any letter on the keyboard and then the letter appears along with a picture that starts with that letter: http://www.sesamestreet.org/game_player?p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_id=gamePlayer_WAR_sesameportlets4369&p_p_uid=dd838f23-486b-11dd-bf7b-df62be721a24
Letters to Big Bird is another alphabet game to play together. In this game Big Bird literally receives a letter in his mail box and your chid has to click on something on his shelf that starts with that letter: http://www.sesamestreet.org/game_player?p_p_lifecycle=0&p_p_id=gamePlayer_WAR_sesameportlets4369&p_p_uid=bf02fb88-163e-11dd-98c7-b9f43dcf5330
Play “I Spy With My Little Eye” only trying to find things that start with the letter A.
This is similar to “I Spy” in that you walk around your neighbourhood and try to find things that start with different letters of the alphabet. For Letter A Day find things that start with A. You can also do this while in a car or bus etc..
If you have an alphabet puzzle this theme day is the perfect time to play with it together.
Play with any other educational toys that focus on the alphabet.
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows with a focus on teaching the alphabet.
Try to find these titles:
· Blue’s Room: Alphabet Power, Viacom International Inc., 2005 – This DVD has two episodes of blue’s Room and two of Blue’s Clues. The first two shows deal with the alphabet and the last two more with writing and reading.
· Pocket Snails: Letter Adventure, Soaring Star Productions, 2004 – These two simple shows are about three snails who live in a little boy’s pocket who help him learn the alphabet by taking photos of them in Letter Land. One show highlights the Upper Case letters and the other is identical except it showcases the Lower Case letter. There is no focus on the phonetic sounds of the alphabet in these shows but the repetition makes it a good show to reinforce letter recognition.
· Rock n’ Learn: Alphabet Exercise, Rock ‘N Learn, Inc., 2005 – this show has a song for every letter of the alphabet that also incorporates movement like S for Spin and T for Twist.
· Sesame Street: All-Start Alphabet – There’s So Much to See Between A and Z!, Sesame Workshop, 2005 – This fun DVD has capital A and Z interviewing people at a mall about the alphabet while also highlighting each letter with individual skits from the show Sesame Street. Adults might enjoy it because it includes segments with Sheryl Crow, Norah Jones, and the Dixie Chicks to name a few of the celebrities featured.
· Sesame Street: Learning About Letters, Children’s Television Workshop, 1986 – This is a great video using classic clips (that I remember as a child) throughout as Big Bird and friends search for things that start with each letter of the alphabet.
· Sharon, Lois & Bram ABC’s: alphabet sing & dance-along, elephant Records, 2003 – this one reviews the alphabet using different songs about things that start with different letters.
Letter “A” Collage
Letter “A” Sticker Collage
Letter tracing in sugar
A is for airplane
at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum
A is for apple
Photo: C Wright
Photo: C Wright