letter in their deck of letter cards and organize a treasure hunt to find the letter in other places in the room. Later, make a big version of the letter on the ground outside—have the children line up and march along the letter shape while chanting something rhythmic about the shape. For example, while marching along the letter “B,” they might chant, “Down up, around, around.” For the last two days of the week, play games with all three letters, encouraging children to see similarities and differences between the letters. Repeat the activity with additional letters. Start with the letters that start the children’s names.
When the children are pretending to write, be aware and congratulate them when they start to make letter-like forms. Talk with them about the difference between drawing and writing and, later, between letters and numbers. Encourage them to copy the letters from the wall chart, to sign their drawings, and to label them.
Remind them to use the letters of the day. When they ask you to label a picture or write down a story, let them print some of the letters they know and like.
Ask the children to bring in their favorite letters for show-and-tell. They can be on a t-shirt, in a book, or on a cereal box. Ask the children to talk about what helps them recognize the letter. One child might say, for example, that a lower case “b” looks like a baseball bat with a ball stuck to it.
Through early writing experiences, young children learn many of the key aspects of literacy such as print awareness and concepts, functions of print, and possibly phonological awareness.
Children need access to a variety of paper, writing utensils, and materials for bookmaking—glue, tape, stapler, and book covers. A well-equipped art area should offer paper in several sizes and colors, paints, markers, crayons, and colored pencils. You may also wish to set up a separate writing or office area that includes blank books, paper, envelopes, mailing labels, stickers, and stamps. Don’t discourage scribbling and pretend writing, but do provide support and encouragement for writing letters. As you do so, expect, gradually, that more letters will be recognizable. As the children learn to form letters and develop phonological awareness, expect, too, that invented