When children have mastered letter recognition, they are able to identify letters in various contexts, both individually and within words. Immersing children in a print-rich environment helps them to solidify their letter recognition. Surround them with materials like books, rhymes, poems, messages, labels, and signs.
To help children recall the letter “j,” display alphabet posters or use individual alphabet charts so they become familiar with the letter’s physical characteristics. Children can also sort letters, using materials like letter tiles, stamps, and magnetic letters. They can participate in letter hunts and create the letter “j” using playdough.
When children are learning how to print, focus on teaching them how to form the letters accurately. This includes modeling where to start the pencil and the motions that follow to complete the letter. With practice, children will be able to print the letters with automaticity and focus their energy on the content of the message they are writing.
Using verbal pathways supports children as they learn to print. For the lowercase “j,” teach children the phrase, “Pull down, curve around, dot.” For the uppercase “J,” use the phrase, “Pull down, curve around, across.” Recite these phrases as you slowly and deliberately model how to print the letters. Provide children with opportunities to practice tracing the letters before they move on to printing them independently.
For further practice forming letters, children can use materials such as whiteboards, chalkboards, fingerpaint, juggling scarves, and sand or salt trays.
Help children learn the sounds that letters make by relating the letters to familiar items that begin with the correct sound. They can associate the letter “j” with objects like jets, jars, and juice. Have them fill a block letter “j” with pictures or drawings of the items. You can also have children create their own alphabet books. Include a page for each letter that contains the uppercase and lowercase letters and pictures of the items they chose to recall the letter’s sound.
For additional practice learning the sound that “j” makes, have children match the letter to the correct pictures. They can also complete coloring activities, where they color the pictures that start with “j.” (e.g., Color the jam. Do not color the cup.)