Solidifying letter recognition allows children to identify letters quickly in different contexts. They can recognize letters individually or within the context of words. Surrounding children with print, such as books, poems, signs, and rhymes, will support their letter recognition.
To teach the letter “i,” make sure it is displayed where children can reference it. Consider using alphabet posters on the wall and individual alphabet charts children can have at their table or desk. Provide children with opportunities to sort letters, using materials such as magnetic letters, letter tiles, and letter stamps. They can also go on letter hunts, use flashcards, and make the letter “i” using playdough.
Children need explicit instruction when learning how to print letters. Make sure they know where to begin each letter and the motions that follow to complete it. This helps them learn to print their letters properly, which helps with their legibility and their speed. With practice, children can print letters automatically, freeing up their energy to focus on the content of the message they are writing.
When teaching the letter “i,” it is helpful to model a verbal pathway that guides the motions needed to complete the letter. Teach children the phrase, “Pull down, dot” as you model how to print the lowercase “i.” For the uppercase “I,” use the phrase, “Pull down, across, across.” After appropriate modeling, provide children with opportunities to trace the letter. As they gain confidence, they will be able to practice printing the letter independently.
Children can practice the letter “i” using other materials, such as whiteboards, chalkboards, fingerpaint, and sand or salt trays. For a more kinesthetic approach, have them make the motions to print the letter “i” using a juggling scarf in the air.
To teach children the sound that “i” makes, have them relate the letter to familiar items that begin with that sound. They can associate the short “i” sound with objects like insects, ink, and igloos. They can relate the long “i” sound to items like ice cream, islands, and irons. Have them fill a block letter “i” with pictures or drawings of the items. They can refer to the block letter when trying to recall the sounds that “i” makes.
You may also wish to have children create their own alphabet books. Each page contains the uppercase and lowercase “i,” along with pictures that begin with the sounds an “i” makes.
To further practice teaching sounds, have children match pictures to the sound an “i” makes. You can also use coloring activities, where they color the pictures that start with “i.” (e.g., Color the ice cream. Do not color the cookie.)