As children are learning the letters of the alphabet, block letters can be used to help them identify both the letter names and their sounds. Printable block letters are readily available on the Internet or can be created using a word processing program.
Educators can use either paper or cardstock to print the letters, depending on the type of items that will be glued, taped, or drawn on the letters. Students choose items with the corresponding sound to represent each letter. They may draw the items, use stickers or stamps, cut and paste pictures from magazines, use clip art the educator has provided, or glue actual items onto their letter.
If children choose items of personal significance to them, they may be more likely to remember the letter and its sound. For example, a child who loves construction vehicles may recall the “b-b-b” sound by using a bulldozer to represent the letter “b.”
A child who is very interested in animals may find more success using a bear to remember the letter “b” and its sound.
When teaching vowels, educators can choose to focus on the short vowel sound or determine if students are also ready to learn the long vowel sound. Objects like apples, apricots, astronauts, alligators, accordions, and axes can be used in the block letter to teach the short “a” sound. Items such as acorns, apes, and aliens can be used to introduce the long “a” sound.
Children may be able to associate colour words with certain letters. For example, the colours blue and brown can be used for the letter “b.” Students could colour their block letter the appropriate colour or create a collage of items in the chosen colour. You may also decide to have students glue items to their block letter, such as buttons or beans. Other items students can use on their letter include bats, bees, bananas, bacon, bugs, or butterflies.
Children can glue objects like coins or corks on their letter “c.” Alternatively, they can draw or find pictures of items such as cats, cows, cookies, cakes, cars, candy, crayons, or carrots.
The letter “d” lends itself to attaching dimes to the page. Or, animal lovers can choose from items such as dogs, dinosaurs, dragons, or dolphins. Other ideas include dolls, dresses, dots, donuts, and diamonds.
To focus on the short “e” sound, students can use items such as elephants, envelopes, engines, and eggshells. Ideas for the long “e” sound include ears, eagles, Easter, eels, earrings, and erasers.
For the letter “f,” students could decorate their page with fingerprints or attach feathers to it. They may also choose to create a collage of different fruits on their letter. Alternatively, pictures of frogs and flies, foxes, fish, fans, flowers, and fries can be used.
The letter “g” lends itself to objects that are green or gold. If drawing or cutting out pictures, some ideas include gum, ghosts, gifts, grapes, glasses, gorillas, goats, and girls.
Students can brainstorm objects that are hot for the letter “h.” Or, if they prefer to use a real object, they can attach hay to their letter. Other ideas include houses, hills, hogs, hair, hammers, horses, and ham. A heart stamp could also be used to decorate their letter.
When focusing on the short “i” sound, students can choose from items such as igloos, insects, ink, iguanas, and infants. Pictures of ice, ice cream, icicles, or irons will help them learn the long “i” sound.
Jellybeans or jewel stickers could be attached to the letter “j.” Objects such as jam, jelly, jaguars, jackets, jets, jars, jello, or jack-o-lanterns could be drawn or found in magazines or print ads.
The letter “k” can be represented by kites, kangaroos, kiwis, kaleidoscopes, kings, koalas, kittens, or kettles. If students prefer to use real objects, they can attach kidney beans or keys to their letter.
Students can brainstorm items that are large and use them to create a collage on the letter “l.” Or, they can glue lima beans, Lego, leaves, or lace to their letter. Other items they may wish to draw or use pictures of include lemons, lambs, lips, ladybugs, licorice, and logs.
The letter “m” lends itself to a variety of materials that can be attached to the page. Students can choose from macaroni, marshmallows, marbles, and money. If you prefer to have them use pictures, try moose, mittens, masks, mud, milk, or men.
Students can draw a nighttime scene on their letter “n.” Or, they could attach nickels or noodles to their page. A collage of numbers or perhaps just the number nine can represent the letter “n.” A few more ideas include nests, nurses, nectarines, napkins, and nails.
To teach the short “o” sound, use items such as owls, octagons, olives, oxe, octopuses, ostriches, or otters. Ovals and oats can be used to teach the long “o” sound.
Pink and purple materials can be used for the letter “p.” Students may also choose to attach peas or pencils to their letter. Other ideas include pies, porcupines, pots and pans, pigs, and pants.
Using quarters may help students remember the letter “q.” Or, they may associate “q” with quails, queens, quilts, a quacking duck, question marks, quiet, or quick.
A collage of red items can be created on the letter “r.” Students may also choose to glue ribbons or raisins to their letter. More ideas include rats, rabbits, raccoons, rain, raspberries, ropes, and roosters.
For the letter “s,” provide students with stickers, seeds, sticks, or stamps to use. If you prefer to use pictures, try squirrels, snakes, the sun, the sky, stars, or shoes.
The number ten can be used to decorate the letter “t” Or, students can tape or glue toothpicks to their letter. Other ideas include trees, toys, triangles, trucks, tigers, tractors, teeth, and trains.
Have students choose an item such as an umbrella, upstairs, or umpire for the short letter “u” sound. Or, they may associate words like “under,” “up,” or “upside down” with “u.” To teach the long “u” sound, try using pictures of ukuleles, utensils, uniforms, or unicorns.
Students could create a collage of vehicles or vegetables for the letter “v.” They could also choose to use pictures of violets, violins, vans, vinegar, vines, vets, vests, or vases.
The letter “w” can be associated with things such as walruses, watches, wagons, wolves, water, whisks, wigs, watermelon, whales, and wood.
Students may recall the letter “x” by representing it with an xylophone, x-rays, an x-ray fish, or Xmas items.
The letter “y” can be decorated with yarn or with a collage of yellow items. Other ideas include yo-yos, yams, yachts, yogurt, yoga, yolks, yawns, and yards.
Lastly, the letter “z” can be decorated with the number zero or with items such as a zoo, zippers, zucchinis, zig zags, zeppelins, or zombies.