Immersing children in a print-rich environment helps them become familiar with letters. Surround them with books, poems, rhymes, and environmental print such as signs and labels. When children master letter recognition, they can identify letters in different contexts, whether they are presented individually or embedded within words.
Help children learn the letter “s” by displaying alphabet posters or providing them with their own alphabet chart to keep at their table or desk. Provide them with manipulatives such as magnetic letters and tiles that they can sort. They can also use flashcards, make the letter “s” with playdough, and go on a letter hunt around the room.
Verbal pathways are phrases children can recite, aloud, or in their head, to help guide them as they print letters. To teach them how to print the letter “s,” use the phrase, “Pull back, in, around, and back around.” The same phrase can be used for both the lowercase and uppercase “s,” but point out how the lowercase letter is short and the uppercase letter is tall. Have children practice tracing the letter first before moving on to independently printing it.
For further practice, children can use various tools to make the letter “s,” such as whiteboard markers, chalk, fingerpaint, and sand or salt trays. They can also use juggling scarves to practice the motions needed to make an “s.” When children become proficient with printing, they can focus their energy on their writing content instead of the mechanics of forming each letter. Learning to print their letters correctly will also support their speed and accuracy.
To help children learn the sound an “s” makes, help them think of items that begin with “s.” For example, they may associate “s” with squirrels, snakes, and the sun. Have them fill a block letter “s” with pictures or drawings of their familiar objects. They can refer to their block letter when trying to recall the sound an “s” makes.
You may also wish to have children create their own individual alphabet books. Have them complete a page each time a new letter is learned. Include the proper formation for the lowercase and uppercase letter. Then, have them add pictures that help cue them to remember the sound an “s” makes.
For further practice, have children match the letter “s” to pictures that begin with its sound. (e.g., Match the letter “s” to the picture of the sky.) You can also have them color pictures that begin with “s.” (e.g., Color the stars. Do not color the house.)