Let's Learn the Letter Dd

Sam and I worked on the letter sound Dd today! 

We are doing short (15 minutes tops) mini lessons to introduce the single beginning letter sounds of the alphabet.

In a classroom, these phonics mini lessons would be a very small (but integral) part of my overall literacy program and would be ideal for a student's first encounter with letters and sounds. 

I would cover most of my reading and writing concepts within modelled whole group reading and writing lessons from quality literature (big books). 

I introduced how to write d, the shape, size, stroke formation of both D and d and we learnt a little song to help remember our learning. 

We added d to our progressive sound book and revised previously learnt sounds and letter names. 

We also did a very small hit of 'word work'. Each day we look at how we can connect the letter sounds we know to make words. 

In my approach to early alphabet/sound learning, we put emphasis on words that can be decoded, for the first few weeks.

We build them, make them and sound them out. Students learn intrinsically that the alphabet and reading is a code they can crack.

Words that cannot be decoded (sight words, high frequency words, other words) are certainly discussed, but just not the focus. Once we have learnt to blend swords,write words (listen for sounds, write in order) and are confident with a solid repertoire of letters, we can focus more on other words.

A Side Note on Sight Words.
Sight words are words that occur in high frequency and can often NOT be 'sounded out' - e.g. 'was' 'the' 'here'.

As we encounter high frequency words (phonemically irregular) as we move along this first expose to letter and sounds, we don't stop to break them down into letters (spelling). We don't ignore them, but we don't make them our focus.

We pay a little attention to the letters (talk about what they look like, what letters are included, and how they are 'funny' and break the normal code of reading (they don't look like what they say) - but do not devote too much precious activity-time to knowing how to spell them (any task that makes the child attend to the order of the individual letters). 

The majority of your learners will learn the majority of high frequency words by SIGHT. Not by spelling.

The most efficient approach is to progress with reading (they will move faster with reading than writing) and then come back later in the year, or indeed, in their second year of formal schooling, to focus on correct spelling. I have taught students to quickly read 6-10 sight words in a day, yet it may take them a year to master their spelling. You simply cannot hold their reading back to learn how to encode sight words. 

I would cover my sight word spelling in my formal writing lessons - learning to spell maybe 1 or 2 each week and the reading of them in a formal 'sight word' program that would run parallel to my phonics program.

Back to our lesson today - we did a 'd' word making worksheet. This clearly shows the level of 'spelling' that is appropriate at this stage.

There are letters on this page that we have not encountered yet, but as we are singing the alphabet song each day, Sam is beginning to know at least the letter names and I was able to quickly link these new letters to his prior experiences to help him understand.

We also had time to finish with a quick paper craft, which is his absolute favourite. Although some teachers do not see the value in this sort of activity, I have found that for Sam, the craft is what helps him remember the learning. This of course may not be true for every student, but for him - it works! 

These resources come from my 'Let's Learn the Alphabet' bundle.

Find more of my blog posts about the alphabet  by clicking on the image below:

Thanks so much for joining Sam and I - you may like to follow along with snippets of my lesson on Instagram

Here is a FREE letter identification worksheet for Dd! Find it in google drive!

- Mel x


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