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Thursday, August 23, 2018


Music is the most natural way to learn anything. Mary Ann Wolf (one of the top reading researchers in our country) recommends singing alphabet songs with young children. She explains that songs act like an umbrella and “place holder” in the brain. When the letters and sounds make sense to the children, they have a “place” to go.

There are many ways to introduce alphabet songs, but it might be helpful to introduce a new song each week. Sing it every morning to start your day, and then use it as a brain break during the day. The next week you can teach the children another song and then review the song you sang the previous week. Write the titles of the songs as you introduce them on a sentence strip and add a picture clue. That way you can let children choose different songs and repeat them.

Visual Connections
As you sing alphabet songs, it will be helpful to connect the visual with the auditory. You can use alphabet cards or point to the letters in your classroom.

Stop and Touch
Here’s another technique that will help children connect with the letters as they sing. Have the children stand and dance as you play an alphabet song. Stop the music on a random letter. At this point, children must tiptoe around the room, find that letter, and touch it. Continue playing the song stopping at several random letters.

 Note! This is a fun way to teach self-regulation and to help children make a physical connection with the letter name and symbol.

LETTER TAILS (Tune: "Gilligan's Island" – Is Everybody Happy? CD)
This is one of my favorite alphabet books that Barb Smith created several years ago. It's good for letter recognition, phonics, and visual closure (recognizing the whole from the part).

     This is a tale about the letter A.
     It makes a special sound.
     /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ A!
     Let’s learn another sound.

     This is a tale about the letter B….

You can download the book here. If you’ll glue the cover to the front of a pocket folder and put the pages in clear sheet protectors the book will last for a long time. 


Hint! This is a great book to put in your listening center with the song.

Here’s a YouTube video of this song:


It really doesn’t matter how you say it, but you’ll find this song one of the most meaningful tunes you can do with your students. I’ve had countless teachers tell me that they do this song every morning at circle time with their students. By repeating the song daily and adding motions and sign language children are able to make the connections between letters and sounds. This is also helpful for children who have trouble articulating some of the sounds.

Alphardy (“Sing to Learn” CD)
A for apple /a/ /a/ /a/ (Pretend fist is an apple.)
B for bounce /b/ /b/ /b/ (Bounce a ball.)
C for cut /c/ /c/ /c/ (Open and close index and middle fingers as if cutting.)
D for dig /d/ /d/ /d/ (Pretend to dig.)
E – elbow (Point to elbow.)
F – fan (Fan self with hand.)
G – gallop (Gallop in place.)
H – hop (Hop on one foot.)
I – itch (Scratch self.)
J – jump (Jump up and down.)
K – kick (Little kicks with foot.)
L – love (Hug self.)
M – munch (Move mouth as if eating.)
N – nod (Nod head.)
O – opera (Extend arms and sing dramatically.)
Q – quiet (Index finger on lips.)
R. – run (Run in place.)
S – sew (Pretend to hold a needle and sew.)
T – talk (Open and close fingers like a mouth.)
U – upside (Lean over.)
V – volley (Hands in air and pretend to volley a ball.)
W – wiggle (Wiggle all over.)
X – x-ray (Make “x” with arms.)
Y – yawn (Extend arms and pretend to yawn.)
Z – zigzag (Make an imaginary “z” in the air.)
Letter sounds are all you need.
Put them together and you can read! (Hold palms together and open like a book.)

Download this book by clicking here.


*Make the black and white student version for children to take home and sing with their families.

Alphardy Poster

Run off this chart for each student and glue to a file folder. Children can use this for choral singing or for independent work at the listening center. If you give them a pretzel stick or Bugle for a pointer they’ll get a little snack at the end of the song!

Singing Names
Insert children’s names in the song:
D for Darren /d/ /d/ /d/
E for Erin /e/ /e/ /e/
S for Sammy /s/ /s/ /s/
H for Hannah /h/ /h/ /h/

Singing Environmental Print
Adapt the words for environmental print:
M for MacDonald’s /m/ /m/ /m/
L for Legos /l/ /l/ /l/

Sight Words
Take color words, number words, or high frequency words and sing them.
R for red /r/ /r/ /r/
P for purple /p/ /p/ /p/

Who doesn’t like birthdays? Children will love dancing and singing this song.

Happy Birthday Letters (Totally Reading CD)
Yo, A,
It’s your birthday.
Let’s all read
Like your birthday.
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
/a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/ /a/
Yo, B…etc.

*Have children stand in a circle and act like rappers. When the letter that their name begins with comes up in the song they get to jump in the middle of the circle and dance.

Letter Birthday Hats
Let the children make birthday hats from sentence strips and wear them as you sing “Happy Birthday Letters.” (Our old stick pony is modeling the birthday hat for you.)

Birthday Cake
Draw a birthday cake on a magnetic board and sing the letters as you place them on the cake:

Yo, M, it’s your birthday.
Let’s all sing like your birthday
/m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/
/m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ /m/ m/

Here’s a link so you can download the birthday cake.

Rapper Necklace
Cut letters out of heavy cardboard. Let children decorate them with fake jewels, glitter, or stickers. Punch holes in the letters and tie on string. Children can wear these as you sing this song.