How to Write the Alphabet: Ss Ii Tt
The Empty Seat: Read S I T
Writing Lesson Plan: Ss Ii Tt
Whether you are teaching young students to write in their native tongue, or teaching the English alphabet to your English learning students, this lesson can help you.
Lesson Target: Beginners at reading and writing the English alphabet
Prior Lessons Needed: none
Related Lesson for Teachers: How to Teach Writing the English Alphabet
Lesson Focus: writing and reading
- Learn letters: Ss Ii Tt
- Practice writing with writing worksheet
- Practice reading with story
Note: You may notice that I have not started off with 'abc'. Choosing 'sit' to start with is a deliberate choice. For one, it forces the students to learn the letters, rather than memorize the order of the alphabet. When I taught students in South Korea, I'd show them flashcards. If I showed the alphabet in the proper order, all students got all letters every time. If I changed the order, I discovered that most students were much less able to correctly identify the letter shown. For another, I wanted to start with three letters that actually spell out a word that most students should know. English speaking students of course know the word 'sit', but English learners also should be familiar with the word as it is a common classroom instruction to 'sit down'. If you have never taught your English learning students the word 'sit' before, I advise you to see this lesson on basic classroom English.
Learn the Letters: Ss Ii Tt
There are three things a student needs to recognize when it comes to letters of the alphabet:
- What letter is it? Your students should be able to say the letters by their correct names; es, eye, tee.
- What sound does it make? Your students should know the main sound it makes. You don't need to teach every variation at once; for instance they don't need to know, right when first learning 't', that it can sound like 'th' or 'sh' (as in the ending -tion). Keep it simple. You will get to the variations eventually. First teach the single letter, then once your students have the alphabet down, start on simple combinations. As this lesson is meant to introduce the alphabet, teach a single sound for 's' and 't', and the long and short vowel sound for 'i'.
- Is it a big letter or small letter? Of course it is up to you and how well you think your students can absorb whether you call the different letters 'upper case', 'lower case' or 'capital' letters. You can also keep it simple and use words they are probably already familiar with: big and small. The important part of the lesson, after all, are the letters themselves. You can always introduce new alphabet vocabulary like 'capital' a few lessons in, or when you get to the point of teaching the proper way to form sentences.
Keep things simple and keep things fun. For English learners, shorten your questions to the simplest form possible; instead of 'What letter am I holding up now?' ask 'What letter?'. If you want to jump right in with 'upper case' and 'lower case', help your students out when you ask: 'Upper case or lower case?' by raising your hand up and down to emphasize the meaning of the words. If you're doing 'big or small' instead, still show the meaning of 'big' and 'small' with your hands.
Do your students know quite a few English words? Why not play a sound game; ask your students to find things that start with the letter you are teaching. You can reinforce old lessons on animals or weather and practice letters at the same time!
You can find a copy of the writing worksheet here. To use it, simply print the worksheet and give it to your students. The worksheet includes writing practice for each of the letters, instructions on how to write the letters, and a picture illustrating a word that begins with each letter.
Reading Ss Ii Tt
Part of the fun of learning letters is learning how to use them to read or write actual words. The story worksheet provides a lot of words with the target letters, including words that are ONLY the target letters: I, it, sit, sits, its, it's, is.
You can find the story worksheet here.
There are two ways to use the story worksheet:
- Have your students find and identify the target letters. For each letter, they can make a mark on the page: underline t, put a dot under i, and a squiggly line under s. It's important to not put marks that might cover up the neighboring letters because you still want to easily be able to read the story afterwards.
- Read the story together. You read most of the words, but when you reach one of the seven words that only contains the target letters, your students will read that word. You can pre-teach the words so that they understand the concept of reading the letters together. A good way is to write s i t, and ask for the sound each makes, then point to each letter and have your students make the sound. Go faster and faster until it starts to actually sound like sit.
More Alphabet Fun
Now that your students know S I T, what's next? Keep going through the alphabet!
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