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Language and Communication Recognise half the letters of the alphabet  This resource has been viewed by a moderator.


Recognises at least half of the letters of the alphabet by shape name or sound.

Early years skill:Reading
Early years typical range:40-60+m
P-scales/Curriculum skill:English Reading
P-scales/Curriculum level:P8
TAP skill:Reading
TAP level:TAP48
Pre/Nat. Curriculum Area:not specified
Pre/Nat. Curiculum Standard:not specified
Section:Early Years (0-5yrs) info; Primary (5-11yrs) info; Secondary (11-16yrs) info
Activity/strategy name and materials required How to do the activity Key principles for doing the activity and comments
Match, select and name letters: step 1 - match

2 sets of moveable letters, or letters printed clearly on cards

1. Make sure the child knows the concept of 'same' and 'different' (if not, this can be taught using objects, or pictures of objects).

2. Choose 2 letters that do not look or sound similar (e.g. s and m).

3. Put one of each letter in front of the child.

4. Hold a second copy of one of the letters, and say 'Look, this is the same as this'. Put the letter down next to its pair.

5. Give the child the extra letter, and ask 'Which is the same?' they should put the letter down next to its pair.

6. If the child does not know, or does it wrong, model again.

7. Repeat with the second extra letter.

8. Ask the child to match the letters 3 or 4 times in this way, or until they are clear which pairs of letters are the same.

To teach same and different, where necessary, see:

This activity is for children who are finding basic letter knowledge very hard to acquire. You will need to move at their speed.

s, a, m, and t are good letters to use at the beginning.

Match, select and name letters: step 2 - select

2 sets of moveable letters, or letters printed clearly on cards

1. Put the 2 letters in front of the child.

2. Point to the m and say this is an 'm' (name) or this is 'mmmm' (phoneme/sound).

3. Point to the s and say this is an 's' or this is 'ssss'.

4. Say the name of one of the letters. The child points to, or picks up, the right one.

5. Repeat with the other letter.

6. Repeat in random order for 3 or 4 times.

You will need to follow the practice in your school about whether to use letter names or sounds. For this activity, stick to one or the other.

Match, select and name letters: step 3 - name

2 sets of moveable letters, or letters printed clearly on cards

1. Point to one of the letters, and name it or say its sound (as you did for 'select').

2. Ask the child to repeat what you have said.

3. Point to the other letter, say it and ask the child to repeat.

4. Return to the first letter and ask the child to say it without you saying it first.

5. Continue in random order 3 or 4 times. If the child makes a mistake, immediately model the name or sound for them again.

At this point you may choose to show the child how to write the 2 letters.

When you are sure the letters you are working on have been mastered, add an extra letter - and begin with step 1 - match again.

When 4 or 5 letters have been introduced, remove the easiest ones so that there are never too many on the table at one time - but check earlier ones from time to time.

If you find you no longer need to do the 'match' step, it may be a sign that the child is ready for a standard phonics programme, such as Direct Phonics, instead of this.

Alternatively, this procedure could be used alongside a phonics programme whenever a new letter is introduced.

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