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Reading Instructional Resources Database - Instructional Activities (Search Results)

The essential cognitive elements of the reading process have been outlined in the cognitive framework of reading. To assist educators in organizing their practice around the cognitive framework, we've created a way to easily search for instructional activities that specifically address skills and knowledge outlined by the cognitive framework of reading.

To find out more about the Instructional Activities portion of the Instructional Resources Database, we have provided an overview of the database and a description of the resources from which these activities were selected.

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You have just searched the Reading Instructional Resources Database for instructional activities that test Letter Knowledge. There are 10 activities that match your search. You can also perform an advanced search of the Instructional Resources Database to search for more specific activities.

Letter Knowledge

What is Letter Knowledge?
The letter is the basic unit of reading and writing in English, and familiarity with the letters of the alphabet has consistently been shown to be a strong predictor of future reading success. While not sufficient in itself for reading success, familiarity with the letters of the alphabet is important for developing decoding skills.

What does teaching Letter Knowledge look like?
Letter knowledge activities help children to recognize and discriminate all of the letters of the alphabet. Activities may emphasize the letter names, or sounds that the letter usually "makes." The primary emphasis, however, should be placed on helping children to appreciate what makes each letter distinct and different from other letters.

Displaying 1 of 10

ACTIVITY: The teacher takes a shoe box and tapes down the lid. The teacher then cuts an opening at each end of the shoebox large enough for a student to insert his or her hands. The teacher places five plastic letters with distinct characteristics (for example b, j, m, o, and z) into the shoebox. The student inserts his or her hands into the box, picks up a letter, and tries to guess which one it is simply by how it feels. After the child makes a guess, he or she pulls out the letter to see if the guess was correct. The student continues in this manner until all the letters have been pulled out of the shoebox. As the student becomes more proficient at identifying the letters by feel, the teacher may make the activity more challenging by adding more letters, and by combining both lower case and upper case letters in the shoebox.

Notes: It is important to use letters with distinct characteristics because otherwise letters would be confused (p for q, b for d, etc.).

It is also important that the children not know in advance which letters are in the box, because otherwise the last letter could be guessed (rather than identified).

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: Spanish

SOURCE: Activity submitted by Carmen Rodríguez and Gloria Sanchez

Displaying 2 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: Alphabet CookiesCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge

ACTIVITY: This activity involves baking cookies cut out with letter-shaped cookie cutters. Place appropriate letter-shaped dough on the cookie sheet to spell out the children's names. Bake the cookies, then give students the letter shaped cookies that make up their names. Students then arrange the cookies to spell their name. As they eat the cookies, have them give the name and / or the sound that each letter makes.

Notes: This activity is somewhat unpopular among children with short names, although children with names like Sebastian always look forward to this activity.

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: English

SOURCE: Modified from Algodones Elementary—Algodones, NM

Displaying 3 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: Béisbol de letrasCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge

ACTIVITY: For this task, you will need to prepare five playing cards labeled "primera base" (first base), "doble," (double), "triple" (triple), and "jonrón" (home run). Divide students into two teams. The first player from one team will come to the plate, stand in the pitcher's position and flash an alphabet card. If the player correctly names the letter, have him reach into a container without looking, remove a playing card, and take the number of bases indicated. If the player gets the letter wrong (or does not answer fast enough), then he or she is "afuera" (out). The first team continues playing until three outs are accumulated. Then the other team comes to bat.

Notes: You may want to use a timer to encourage students to respond within a certain amount of time — if children cannot name the letters of the alphabet right away without thought, then they need more practice.

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: Spanish


Displaying 4 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: Bilingual BooksCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge

ACTIVITY: It's important for English language learners to see and hear their language. Use books like Gathering the Sun by Flor Ada. This alphabet book in Spanish and English provides 28 poems that relate to specific letters of the alphabet. Choose poems that your students can relate to so that they can learn about themselves and the letter-sound relationships. Children love reading and sharing poems with their family.

Notes: If this activity was used to enhance a child's letter knowledge, the child's attention would need to be drawn to each of the 28 letters explicitly. The book should be used to help children to identify and distinguish each of the letters in the alphabet.

Reader Type: Pre-readers and emergent readers

Language: Spanish

SOURCE: Roosevelt Elementary—Bernalillo, NM

Displaying 5 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: ConcentrationCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge


Begin with eight letter cards (four uppercase, four matching lowercase). Use as many letters from the child's name as possible. Once the child has learned to name and write the first set of letters, he can begin to work on mastering new letters.

Mix and place the eight letter cards face down in a 3 x 4 array.

Rules of the game:

1.Turn over a card and name the letter. Then turn over a second card and see whether you have a match (t, T).

2. If you do have a match, turn the cards back over and let the other player have a turn.

3. The game is over when all the cards have been picked up. The winner is the player who has made the most matches.

The player must name the letter correctly while turning over the card; otherwise, he/she loses a turn.

Notes: This activity is especially powerful if the letters used within each set are easily confused (e.g. one set could contain the p, q, d, and b and the m, n, w, and v). This allows children to learn the distinguishing features of each letter more easily.

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: English

SOURCE: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

Displaying 6 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: Las escondidasCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge

ACTIVITY: For this activity, you will need letter cards or letter tiles of the Spanish alphabet. Begin by hiding the tiles around the room. Have the students search for the tiles (like an Easter egg hunt), and as they find the letter tiles, they write the letter on the board and identify the name of the letter. Continue until all the letters have been found.


Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: Spanish

SOURCE: Adapted from Phonics from A to Z : A Practical Guide by Wiley Blevins

Displaying 7 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: Letter cutoutsCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge


Use letter cards or letter tiles to spell out each child's name. Show the children that the same letters used in their name are used in other students' names and in other words. Talk about the letter names.

Write each child's name on a card and give the name card to its owner. Now using letter tiles or letter cards, spell out different words, and ask the children to find letters in the word you've spelled out that are also contained in their names. For example, if you spell out the word "JUMP" with the letter tiles, a child named Jennifer would indicate that the letter J is in both the word "JUMP" and in "JENNIFER." Encourage each child to identify the letters by name.


Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: English

SOURCE: Modified from Fredericksburg Elementary, Fredericksburg, TX

Displaying 8 of 10

ACTIVITY: Label the objects in your classroom with name cards that are big enough to see from across the room (BOOK, SHELF, FISH, GERBIL, etc.). Have children play a variation of the "I SPY WITH MY LITTLE EYE" game. In this game, they are looking for words that begin with a certain letter. It is important that children focus on the word cards (and not on the objects themselves). The purpose of this activity is to teach children the names of letters.

Notes: As a variation, you can have children look for words that end in a certain letter or words that contain a certain vowel.

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: English

SOURCE: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

Displaying 9 of 10

ACTIVITY: People learn new things by elaborating on what they already know. When children are learning the letters of the alphabet, it is usually easier for them to begin with what they already know about the letters. Give the children letter tiles or plastic letters of either upper-case letters or lower-case letters (do not mix them up at this point). Ask the children to sort the letters into piles — letters that are made up of straight lines in one pile, those that are made up of curved lines in another, and those that are mixed in another. Start sorting those by features — diagnal lines versus vertical / horizontal lines, etc... Then start comparing letters, looking for similarities, and differences (the b and d are similar, but still different, as are the p and q, z and s, m and n, etc...). When children are familiar with the features of the letters, change their focus onto either the letter names, or the letter sounds (some research suggests that teaching the letter sounds instead of the letter names is less confusing to children).

Notes: This activity helps children to make direct comparisons between similar letters and learn what features make each letter distinct.

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: English

SOURCE: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

Displaying 10 of 10
ACTIVITY TITLE: Our Alphabet BookCOGNITIVE ELEMENT: Letter Knowledge


Have children make up their own alphabet book — have them (orally) make up text to accompany each letter (A is for apricot, B is for bunny, etc.). The teacher writes the text for each page and students illustrate the pages. The whole class may work on a big book in which all the children illustrate pages or help cut out pictures from magazines to paste on the letter pages. Alphabet books can reflect a theme or select letters, such as those that begin children's names.

When children have finished, laminate and bind the pages and place the book in your classroom library. Children will enjoy looking at the pages and repeating the names of the pictures.

Notes: If children cut out pictures to paste on the letter pages, have them cut out several examples for each letter and make a collage (on the A page, there could be pictures of an airplane, an apple, an apron, etc.).

Reader Type: Pre-readers

Language: English

SOURCE: Southwest Educational Development Laboratory

End of search results.
Displayed 10 instructional activities.

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