Help children learn to recognize common but irregularly spelled words such as “the,” “have,” and “two.” One excellent way is through familiar nursery rhymes. For example, write on the board and recite:

Hickory dickory dock.

The mouse went up the clock.

The clock struck one. The mouse ran down.

Hickory dickory dock.

Have children join in on the rhyme, and point to each word as it is read. Then write the word “the” and “The” on the board. Point to one line at a time and call on children to come to the board to touch the word “the” if it appears. Tell them that the word “the” is a word they see a lot when they read. Put the word on the wall with other words like ”the” that will occur freqently in text. These words should be taught as sight words so they are recognized instantly.

Spelling and Writing

Children need ample opportunity to write. Stock the kindergarten classroom with a variety of paper, writing utensils, and materials for book-making (glue, tape, stapler, book covers). Early in the kindergarten year, some children may still be scribbling and drawing pictures. By the end of the year, they will be independently writing most uppercase and lowercase letters, using invented spellings for many words, and working on a growing repertoire of conventionally spelled words.


Have children make their own letter dictionaries. Each child will need his or her own notebook, pencils, pens, crayons, markers, old magazines, safety scissors, and paste or tape. This is a year-long project.

  • Gather each child’s notebook and print each letter of the alphabet on the head of a single page—skipping some pages between each letter. Remember to print both uppercase and lowercase letters. When you are ready to proceed, pass out the books to the children, telling them that these books are going to become their personal letter dictionaries.

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