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A is for ABC Club

Updated on May 16, 2011

ABC Club: For PreK and Early Elementary Homeschoolers

Our homeschool group had a great time with a year-long ABC Club. Kids from age 3 to age 6, 7, and even 8 were able to have fun on equal footing whether they had already begun reading or didn't know the alphabet yet.

LOTW

Letter of the Week

Letter of the Week

Each week (or every other week, however often you are meeting), one letter will be showcased. This does not have to be in alphabetical order! Possible order of letters could be:

* letter frequency (start with the letters that appear most often in words)

* letters that commonly go together (do T one week and follow with H the next, then do TH the third week)

* look at the calendar and assign each letter to a week with that has a holiday starting with that letter (do V on the week of February 14th, for Valentine's Day)

* start with the letters that begin the names of each child in the group (do M for Mary, D for Doug, S for Sarah, etc)

* no order at all; let moms choose the letters they want to teach, and choose the dates they want to teach, and let the letters fall as they may

If you include the different consonant sounds (soft c, hard c, etc), the blends (ch, th, etc), and counting a few weeks for review, holiday, and times when no one can make it, the ABC Club will extend for a whole school year!

How It Works

The ABC homeschool club works for several ages and stages of reading development at once!

This preschool club works because each family focuses on one letter at home for the week, at whatever level the child needs to be working. The one thing everyone does in common, the linchpin of the group meeting, is a letter book (or individual pages).

So during the week, each family focuses on the letter "A" in whatever way they choose to work into their day: one family may eat apricots and asparagus, find Africa and Algeria on the map, read a book about ants, and visit the airport (or everyone may do this as a group field trip); while another family does workshops and phonics games. Each family does as much or as little work on the LOTW as they wish, and in the way they choose.

ABC Means Fun!

The primary purpose of the meeting is for the kids to have fun together, see that others are working on the same thing, get to show off what they learned, and do a couple of activities to cement their learning that week.

Letter Books (or Pages)

ABC Club Highlight!

The biggest hit of our ABC Club, the thing that got the kids excited to come each week, was the show-and-tell portion of the meeting. During the week, each child would make a page (or pages) featuring the LOTW to share during the meeting. Even the most retiring children wanted to share!

* child draws pictures of things starting with the LOTW

* print out black and white LOTW pictures for child to color and paste

* child cuts and pastes LOTW pictures from magazines

* child takes pictures of things starting with LOTW to print, cut, and paste on pages

In the example page shown, my son and I took pictures of things - and people! - in our daily life. I typed big captions on each picture before printing (on regular paper, no need to use photo paper), and he pasted them into his spiral-bound scrapbook. I used big block letter stickers to show which letter or blend we were highlighting on that page.

Children who do individual pages rather than a scrapbook or spiral notebook can keep them loose in a file folder, or hole-punch the pages and put in a binder, or even drop them into page protectors in a binder.

At the meeting, each child gets to stand and show off his or her letter page and talk about the items they chose to include. My kids always enjoyed talking about their pictured family members most!

Personal Photos

Letting your child take pictures of things and people in her everyday life will heighten interest and speed learning!

Letter A: Songs for the Sounds of "A"

Make up simple songs to help retain phonics learning.

Sing to the tune of "Are You Sleeping/Frere Jacques" (you have to work in an extra line near the end, but it fits easily enough).

"A" has three sounds,

"A" has three sounds,

"AH", "AY", "AW"

"AH", "AY", "AW"

"AH" is for "apple"

"AY" is for "apron"

"AW" is for "awesome"

"AH", "AY", "AW"

This song not only teaches the three most common sounds of the letter "A," it teaches them in order of frequency. Tell the children when reading to try the sounds in the same order as they sing them: try "AH" first, then "AY," and then "AW" to find the right sound.

Moms Take Turns Leading the ABC Club

Each mom picks a week to lead the group activities for a certain letter.

At your planning meeting, divide up the letters among the teaching parents. It's always fun to take the letter that your name or your child's name starts with, or the subject of your favorite picture book, or your favorite holiday ... you get the idea.

You can decide how much structure you want in your group, but we enjoyed having some leeway: we each created our own plan for our letters, and the kids enjoyed the variety. Brainstorm a list of possible activities so everyone has a list of ideas available to help jumpstart their thinking, but each teaching mom can choose what she is comfortable doing, or what works for her plan that week. Some ideas to get you started:

* Bring a snack that starts with the LOTW.

* Bring a read-aloud storybook whose theme matches the LOTW.

* Draw and make copies of a picture for the kids to color (Annie wears an apron when she feeds her pet ant, Alfred).

* Find or make up a poem or song about the LOTW.

* Bring instruments that start with the LOTW (harmonica, guitar, violin).

* Do a scavenger hunt through the house to find objects that start with the LOTW.

Letter B: Storybook for Storytime! - High interest assures better understanding and retention!

Sure, it's easy to find a phonics book that showcases the letter you are teaching. But who really wants to read a book like that? Believe me, if you don't find it entertaining, probably the kids don't either! It doesn't take much work to find a really good book that will highlight your letter. It could be a cool book about ants for "A," or a storybook that happens to emphasize the letter you are working on. Make sure it is a story first, not an educational text that tries to construct a storyline around the letter.

Biggest Bed in the World
Biggest Bed in the World

This brilliant book manages to highlight the letter B with ease ("Ben's dad went to the store and bought a bigger bed") while telling a bang-up story - one of my family's best-loved books! When Ben is born he sleeps with his parents; not a bother until he gets bigger. A bigger bed solves the problem until Billy is born. The next bigger bed works until the twins, Beth and Bart, are born, so Dad finally builds the biggest bed in the world, that easily boards even the triplets, Bella, Bart, and Boris, when they come along. Things go well until the biggest bed in the world breaks through the wall and they all end up in the lake. Clever little eyes will catch the cat and dog being pregnant at the same time mom is, and it's fun to track down all the kittens and puppies prancing through the pages.

 

Besides Letters

Some letters take on a different sound when combined with other letters (called "blends"). You may want to give each letter sound or blend its own week and page.

Soft C

Hard C

CH

Soft G

Hard G

PH

SH

TH

WH

Wall of Names

The kids in your ABC Club will enjoy seeing their names in print!

This only works if you are always meeting in the same home each week, but it's fun to make a wall of names of the children in the group. Give each child a sheet of paper with his or her name written in BIG, bold outlined letters (do this on the computer or by hand), and let each child color or decorate the letters individually, then glue the child's picture next to the decorated name. Hang the picture pages on a wall where you are meeting so everyone can see them each week and have practice reading the names.

Letter C: Carrots for "C" - You can find wonderful stories to highlight the letter you are learning each week!

Bring carrot seeds, cups, and a bag of potting soil and let the kids plant their own carrots after reading Ruth Krauss's The Carrot Seed.

The Carrot Seed (Rise and Shine)
The Carrot Seed (Rise and Shine)

"I'm afraid it won't come up!" is the message given to the little boy who plants a carrot seed and faithfully waters it and pulls the weeds. Patiently ignoring the naysayers, the little boy has the last word when he pulls an enormous carrot from the ground. This delightful tale is illustrated by Crockett Johnson, author of Harold and the Purple Crayon.

 

Field Trips by Letter

A field trip is a great way to highlight a letter study.

~ A ~

airport, animal rescue, arboretum, archery range,

art gallery, author tour

~ B ~

bakery, bank, Bass Pro Shop, beekeeper, berry picking, bike ride, blood bank, book bindery, book signing, bookstore,

botanical gardens, bowling, bus depot

~ C ~

Cabela's Sporting Goods, campout, candy factory, capitol building, construction site, corn maze, courthouse

~ Soft C ~

cell phone company, city bus ride

~ CH ~

chandler (candle maker), cheerleading tryouts, children's museum, chicken farm, china shop, Chinatown, chocolate factory, Christmas caroling, church tour

While visiting the candy factory, the kids

got to make their own chocolate pizzas!

~ D ~

dairy farm, dentist, delicatessen, dinosaur museum, doll factory,

donut shop, doctor's office, dude ranch

~ E ~

egg hunt, electric power plant, electronics manufacturer,

emergency room

~ F ~

factory, fair, farm, fire station, fish hatchery, fingerprinting (ID for kids), flight simulator, florist, flower festival, food bank, funeral home

~ G ~

gardens, ghost town, glass blower, greenhouse,

grocery store, gravel supply

~ Soft G ~

gemologist, geology lab, gymnasium

Tasting cactus candy at the botanical gardens was fun!

~ H ~

hay ride, herb farm/shop, hiking, historic home, historical reenactments, history museum, horse farm, horseback ride, hospital

~ I ~

ice cream parlor, ice skating, IMAX movie,

Indian reservation, iron foundry

~ J ~

jailhouse, jelly/jam kitchen, jelly bean factory, jeweler

~ K ~

karate exhibition, kennel, kiln (pottery oven),

kitchen (restaurant) tour, Krispy Kreme tour

~ L ~

lake trip, laser tag, letterboxing, library

~ M ~

magazine office tour, "make your own" shop (pottery, jewelry, etc), meteor shower, (U.S.) mint, morgue, music recital

We all brought water bottles on the ranger-led hike.

~ N ~

natural history museum, nature walk, newspaper press,

night sky watching, nursery (plants), nursing home

~ O ~

opera, optometrist, orchard, orchestra, organic farm, orienteering

~ P ~

paper mill, perfumery, planetarium, police station, post office,

pottery shop, printing press, pumpkin patch

~ PH ~

phone company, photography shop/club

~ Q ~

quarry, quilting club

~ R ~

radio station, race track, ranger hike, recycling center,

Renaissance fair, repair shop, rescue shelter,

roller skating, rock climbing

The size of the rooms in the recycling center was a shock.

~ S ~

scavenger hunt, science museum/lab/fair, self-defense class,

Society for Creative Anachronism, state capitol,

state park, symphony

~ SH ~

shape walk, Shaker village, shooting range, shore (beach)

~ T ~

television station, train depot, travel agency,

trucks (city maintenance vehicles)

~ TH ~

theater (live/puppet/movie/dinner), thrift store

~ U ~

U-Haul, university museum, upholstery shop, urban farm

~ V ~

vet clinic, video store, violin recital, volunteering

~ W ~

walk (nature), water treatment plant, wax museum,

weather station, wildlife refuge

~ Y ~

yoga class, yogurt shop

~ Z ~

zoo

~ Find Field Trips in Your Area ~

Field Trip Factory

Factory Tours USA

Teaching Time

Remember most of the teaching

goes on at home!

If you meet for an hour, a good

half of that will go to the kids' show and tell of their letter pages,

plus time for snacks.

The mom of the week only needs

a storybook, a snack, and one or two activities or songs, maybe followed by a coloring page, and her job is done!

Own Your Own ABC Club!

Make this homeschool club work for YOUR group!

These are all just ideas to get you started. There are so many different ways to structure a group like this! Have fun with it! Start with a meeting of the moms involved and have a brainstorming session. Use this page as a jumping off place, not an end place! And remember to have fun!

Don't forget to have a wrap party at the end of your school year with a letter scavenger hunt for all the letters the kids learned!

Many thanks for

SquidAngel blessings from

Thanks to tagsforkids for his angelic SquidArt.

Squidoo logo is a trademark of Squidoo LLC. Graphics, Squidart and Squidoodles 2008 by tagsforkids (Steve Thompson).

Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.

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    • lemonsqueezy lm profile image

      lemonsqueezy lm 6 years ago

      Great, great ideas here.

    • javr profile image

      javr 6 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Looks like a lot of fun for the children. This lens has been blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 7 years ago from Royalton

      I love your idea for the Wall of Names. Classrooms often do activities with Word Walls. If you are moving from house to house you might post the names on a Science Board that moves from house to house. Whose ever house has the board could practice matching the names with the pictures during the week until it's time to move the board to the next house.

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 8 years ago

      This is an adorable lens, love it, fav, 5*, lensroll it

      Thanks

    • kellywissink lm profile image

      kellywissink lm 8 years ago

      5 Stars!

      Welcome to the group Home Schooling Support Group-Kelly

    • groovyoldlady profile image

      groovyoldlady 8 years ago

      My eight year-old is a late bloomer in the reading department. Thanks for presenting some fun new ideas in such a colorful and groovy format! We will make use of some of your tips.

    • BFunivcom profile image

      Allan R. Wallace 8 years ago from Wherever Human Rights Reign

      I did a tweet on this:

      Remedial English in college is the new Latin. "Si hoc legere scis, forsit eras erudatus domo" with the URL of this page - nice job!

      ("If you can read this, you were probably homeschooled!")

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Really nice work!

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      wow, Carma, you did it again. 5* as always

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Very creative resource for homeschool moms. Kudos!

    • athomemomblog profile image

      Genesis Davies 8 years ago from Guatemala

      Such an awesome lens! I`m bookmarking it so I can use these ideas with my 3 year old who is learning his letter right now. We don`t have a homeschool group (not too common here in Guatemala), but we can sure use these on our own, too.

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 8 years ago from Canada

      Nicely done & blessed!

    • EpicFarms profile image

      EpicFarms 8 years ago

      What a wonderful idea ~ I love the field trip idea! Great job :o)

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      What a great idea and what a wonderful lens. I love the yellow with the red broken line border. This just shows what knowing html can do for a lens. Fantastic!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      Beautiful lens!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Awesome lens!

    • verymary profile image

      Mary 8 years ago from Chicago area

      Fantastic lens!! This is a wonderful idea for homeschoolers. Hadn't thought of "The Carrot Seed" in a while...aww, I love that book!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Brings back homeschooling memories. I love all the pictures of the kids. They look like they are having fun!

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      great colors and content

    • profile image

      Tarra99 8 years ago

      What a great lens!...we had those foamy alphabet puzzles...their great! 5*

    • jimmielanley profile image

      Jimmie Lanley 8 years ago from Memphis, TN, USA

      Yep, another winner! Blessed.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 8 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Wow! Another first-class winner of a lens. Love it! The activities sound so fun. You’ve covered your subject very well. Enjoyed the pictures, too. Great job, tandemonimom!