Online games, printable pages, animated songs, and tips on what makes a good online experience for younger students.
Are your students learning their ABCs? Then check out these easy-to-use and fun Web sites filled with ideas for teaching and learning the alphabet. Whether you make the sites available in a computer center or display them on a projector, something valuable is just a click away!
A top site for early childhood for many concepts not just learning the alphabet, Literacy Center offers simple reinforcing games in English, German, French, and Spanish. Begin by clicking on English then click one of the three letter categories (upper case, lower case, or both). A new window appears and students can choose from one of 3-4 games where a letter is shown and spoken aloud. Perhaps the best part of this site is the use of an adult voice with a clear, American standard accent. Sites using children's voices may not provide as good of a model to imitate, and are difficult to understand by students with hearing impairments. These games can be used as young as 2 years old. The only challenge to this site is learning how to navigate back to the main menu (close the second window!).
No discussion of online alphabet games would be complete without Cookie Monster! Click Elmo to get to Sesame Street, then click the Cookie Monster, and Letter of the Day game. This game practices identifying letters and is great for preschool or kindergarten. Bumper Cars and Letters to Big Bird are two more games suitable for practicing letter recognition. In addition, the Printables section of the site has coloring pages on letters. Be sure to click Parents and Teachers at the bottom of the page for more information on the site's resources as well as teaching tips and parent-child activities.
The Little Animals Activity Centre
This site from the BBC has one of the catchiest songs around: you'll hum this for days! . Click the mole with the hard hat on to go to the letter sound games. Begin with first sounds, level 1 to see a game matching initial sounds. This is a great whole class activity if you have the ability to display your computer screen for the whole class (projector or TV monitor). Students in kindergarten can also play this and the other end sounds and rhymes games on their own. The design of each game is very clean and elegant, with both audio and visual prompts. The only challenge may be occasional pronounciation or spelling differences from British to American English.
Bookmark (or save as a favorite) this Web site for use in many different subjects in your classroom! Begin your alphabet hunt, however, by scrolling down the home page and clicking the Curriculum Guide and Language Arts. You'll see about six games are highlighted as reviewing alphabet and basic reading concepts. Aa to Zz is a picture book with an animated image for each letter of the alphabet (unfortunately there's no audio). The ABC Activity and Coloring pages are printables that you can use in your classroom. The ABC Game asks students to match a letter with an object with that letter as its starting sound; this would be best played in front of the whole class as it doesn't have audio or non-text prompts for the emerging reader. The hidden jewel of this site is the Slate game: students can practice drawing both upper case and lower case letters on a "slate" with various colors. Its simplicity, clear directions, and ease-of-use makes this one of the top games on this list! Finally, be sure to supervise students carefully on this particular site: lots of ads make a tempting distraction and clickable treat!
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Article by Lorrie Jackson
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