One of the things I like to do to help foster letter and sound identification at home is to send home a "Letter/Sound Box." This is just a plastic shoe box, in which I place a short note about the purpose of the box. On this note, I write a focus letter, blend, or digraph. The student and his/her parents search the house for items that begin with that sound. After finding 3-5 items, he/she places them inside the "Letter/Sound Box" and brings it back to school to share with his/her classmates. The kiddos simply cannot wait for it to be their turn to take home the "Letter/Sound Box!"
This student had the letter Cc, and he brought in some great real-life examples... so much more meaningful than looking at pictures or cards! Now, there are times when students bring in items that don't quite fit that sound. For example, the below picture also had a bag of Cheez-its inside the box. I used this as a real quick teaching moment to let the students know the difference between the /c/ sound and the /ch/ sound. This doesn't happen very often, but it gave me a great idea for using the "Letter Box" as a "Sound Box" for digraphs, blends and chunks later in the year!
In the beginning of the year, we focus on initial sounds and try to guess the "Letter Box" letter. We also clap out the number of syllables for each word. I always introduce the "Letter/Sound Box" by sharing my ideas for the letter A... not because I introduce the letters in alphabetical order, but mostly because these are the items I have on hand in my classroom. I use Recipe for Reading and begin with the letter Cc. That's because Cc is MAGIC! Click here to read more about Magic C and check out our Magic C craft!
Once the student brings the "Letter/Sound Box" back to school, I have that student share the items with the class. We repeat the name of each item, making sure to isolate the beginning sound (/c/ /c/ /c/ cracker). Then, we try to guess what letter, blend, or digraph the student was assigned. Normally, I keep these items at school for a few days as we explore that particular letter and sound. Here, we see some very clever choices for the letter O. I love that this student chose to bring in items beginning with both the short (otter and owl) and long (orange and Oreo) sound!
If you'd like to start a "Letter/Sound Box" in your room, click on the image below to download the labels and notes for FREE!
I hope you find this at-home connection an engaging way to help encourage letter/sound recognition!
Don't forget to check out my "Alphabet Activities" board on Pinterest for more engaging alphabet ideas!