This blog was previously published; we are re-sharing it today to support educators as they incorporate letter-sound correspondence, phonological awareness, and word practice into literacy routines.
By: Marcy Godesa
Teaching word recognition to developing readers can have its ups and downs. I swear there are days when my kiddos are on it, they recognize all their sight words, and then POOF!—the next day, it is all gone. I decided to try out the Letter Buddies Series with my developing readers.
According to Hameray, "This product line supports the development of letter knowledge and early literacy skills through letter recognition and formation, letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, and oral language development." I couldn't agree more with this statement. Right away, my readers started building letter recognition that they struggled with before using this series.
First of all, I love that the letters on the covers of the books are printed in raised text. My kiddos could "feel" the letters before diving into the books. Using their kinesthetic sense, we began building vital muscle memory for learning letters.
Each Letter Buddy has a Letter Book and a Starter Book that go hand-in-hand. First, we used the Letter Books and practiced our letter and whole word recognition. This allowed my readers to begin connecting with the initial letter throughout the book, reinforcing the letter and the concept of finding the first letter of a word.
After spending time with the Letter Book, we reviewed the words, generated a few more, and started gaining more letter and sound connections. It was fantastic listening to my readers as they inquired about their learning. One of my students, who has struggled with letter recognition, asked, "Why do all the words have red letters?" This is HUGE!! He took his learning past letter recognition to word recognition.
Once my readers understood the letters and sounds, we dove into the Starter Books. These pattern books take the words that students practiced in the Letter Books and place them in an early reader format. The Starters allow students to continue building on their letter and word recognition while gaining fluency and accuracy with more sight words.
I am so excited for my readers and the skills they have gained. I cannot wait to use the Letter Buddies Blends Books with them!