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Teaching Letter Recognition and Sounds on the ABC Reading Wall. Angie Somers Meadowlark Elementary Kindergarten WSFCS. Background. I teach 19 Kindergarten students at a middle to high economic school.

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teaching letter recognition and sounds on the abc reading wall

Teaching Letter Recognition and Sounds on the ABC Reading Wall

Angie Somers

Meadowlark Elementary



  • I teach 19 Kindergarten students at a middle to high economic school.
  • I have 10 girls and 9 boys, 8 of my girls are white, 2 girls are from other ethnic backgrounds, Pacific Islander and Multi Racial. 4 of my boys are white, 4 boys are African American and 1 boy is from Israel.
  • In assessing my students at the beginning of the year I observed a lack of letter recognition and letter sound knowledge.
  • The students were not able to retain the letter sound knowledge when moving on to a new letter.
research questions
Research Questions?
  • What is the effect of teaching letters through a balanced literacy approach on students’ ability to recognize letters and produce the appropriate sounds for letters?
  • What are the effects of each form of instruction on the ABC Reading Wall?

(expert student, object, food)

what research says
What Research Says!
  • The study of Young Children’s Letter Sound Knowledge compared three skills in early literacy: letter sound recognition, letter sound recall and letter sound reproduction. The study found that children preformed better in letter sound recognition than letter-sound recall and better in letter-sound recall then in letter-sound reproduction. This study supports my research of providing all forms of instruction on my ABC Reading Wall. My kindergarten students were able to practice recognition, recall and reproduction by tracing over the letters with their fingers or pointers when the letter sound is given. ( Dodd and Carr)
  • A study that I read, Integrated Picture Mnemonics in Letter Sounds found that students that were taught letter sounds using pictures were more successful in letter-sound knowledge. The study found that kindergarten students’ ability to learn letter sounds was greatly impacted on the presence of a picture related to the sound. Students that did not receive the picture related to the letter did not perform as well as others on letter sound knowledge. (de Graaff, Saskia; Verhoeven, Ludo; Bosman, Anna M. T.; Hasselman, Fred )
research participants
Research Participants
  • I have 19 students in my class. 10 girls and 9 boys.
  • At the beginning of my action research I wanted a sample of all levels in my classroom to collect data on. I realized that my lower level students really needed the help!
  • I found it easier to make a focus group of my lower students. I collected data on 6 students. 3 girls and 3 boys all at low levels with letter recognition and sounds.
teaching procedures for the abc reading wall
Teaching Procedures for the ABC Reading Wall
  • As a teacher I ordered the letters to be taught by what is developmentally appropriate for letter sound production.
  • I created a parent letter to explain the process of letter expert and facilitated the students when they were teaching their letter to the class as the letter expert!
what is the abc reading wall
What is the ABC Reading Wall?
  • The ABC Reading Wall was created with bulletin board paper that was divided into 26 sections one for each letter.
  • Each letter box has a letter card, expert student picture and an object the student brought in that begins with the letter.
how does the abc reading wall work
How does the ABC reading wall work?
  • Everyday a new student was selected to be the letter expert for one letter. They practiced writing the letter making the sound and found an object for the letter for homework.
  • The next morning they were the letter expert and taught the class the new letter and then we shared a snack for each letter. ex S is for skittles
  • Each afternoon we read the wall as a class.
what am i looking for
What am I looking for?
  • My study took place over 5 weeks.
  • I took notes on my clip board during guided reading and literacy centers on Monday’s and Wednesday’s


letter card




  • On Friday I collected observations during free centers.
data collection
Data Collection
  • I used a flip card method for collected anecdotal notes.
  • Formal letter and sound assessments from the K-2 assessments.
data collection continued
Data collection continued
  • Dibels
  • Interviews with students
  • Student work samples
interview with participants
Interview with Participants
  • What do you like about the ABC Reading Wall?

We get to eat when we learn a letter. (Owen)

I like to be the expert! (Anna)

  • What helps you with letters on the ABC Reading Wall?

The pictures help me I remember G is for grapes. (Abby)

We read the wall with the pointers. (Justin)

I know that Allen is the expert for T. (James)

data results
Data Results

Letter Recognition


data analysis
Data Analysis
  • All participants improved in letter recognition and sounds on the oral K-2 assessments and Dibels.
  • Many of the students used the strategies from the ABC Reading Wall that I observed in my notes when completing the assessment with me.
  • The students used all of the strategies for the ABC Reading Wall.
  • I found that they were able to identify the letter expert and could remember the letter and sound related to the expert.
  • The object was also important, the participants would recall the object associated with the letter when decoding new words.
  • Many of the students would look at the ABC Reading Wall during guided reading or literacy centers as reference.
  • I enjoyed participating in the Action Research Project. I gained great knowledge from the research and believe that I understand how to teach letters and sounds more effectively.
  • My students did benefit from teaching letters and sounds using a balanced literacy approach.
  • All students improved in letters recognition and sounds and were excited to participate.
  • They participated with enthusiasm when reading the ABC Reading Wall each afternoon. Many of the students became the teacher in the afternoon when reading the wall.
future direction
Future Direction
  • I will continue to read the wall every afternoon with the students.
  • I would like to add sentences to the wall so the students can see the letters in text on the wall.
  • I plan to implement the ABC Reading Wall again next year.
what does this mean for others
What does this mean for others?
  • I have shared my research with several colleagues.
  • Several of the teachers on my Kindergarten team would like to try the strategies next year for their students.
references and resources
References and Resources
  • de Graaff, Saskia; Verhoeven, Ludo; Bosman, Anna M. T.; Hasselman, Fred. Integrated pictorial mnemonics and stimulus fading: Teaching Kindergartners letter sounds. British Journal of Educational Psychology, Sep2007, Vol. 77 Issue 3, p519-539.
  • Dodd, Barbara; Carr, Alex. Young Children’s Letter-Sound Knowledge. Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools, Apr2003, Vol. 34 Issue 2, p128, 10p.
  • Alphabetic. National Reading Panel http://www.nationalreadingpanel.org/Publications/subgroups.htm
  • Ball, Carrie; Gettinger, Maribeth. Monitoring Children’s Growth in Early Literacy Skills: Effects of Feedback on Performance and Classroom Environments. Education & Treatment of Children, May2009, Vol. 32 Issue 2, p189-212
  • Fisher, Bobbi. Moving Beyond Letter of the Week. Teaching Pre K-8, Jan96, Vol. 26 Issue 4, p74
  • Lusche, Pat. No More Letter of the Week, 2003, Crystal Springs Books