An Alphabet Box is a way of teaching and reinforcing phonetic awareness using concrete objects.
My Alphabet Box is a plastic box with small removable trays (I got mine from a local hardware store). Each tray is for one letter of the alphabet (some trays are for two letters due to lack of available trays). I used stickers on the front of each tray to show what letter that particular tray is for. To fill the trays I used small toys that I had at home, plastic animals, scrap-booking embellishments, buttons, and anything else I could find that was small enough to fit inside a tray.
Each toy begins with the sound of the letter for that particular tray.
So, inside the 'a' tray are small objects that begin with the short 'a' sound, ant, apple. (Not ape, as it has a long vowel sound, the 'a' sounds like its name. I don't want to confuse my 5 year olds, they will learn the main sounds that each letter makes, I will then introduce how some letters make more that one sound.) It is important to make sure each object begins with the correct sound that you want to teach.
Inside the 'h' tray are objects that begin with the 'h' sound; horse, hen, hand, heart, helicopter.
I also included a copy of the lowercase and capital version of each letter that we are learning.
We will use the Alphabet Box as part of our phonics program. Touching and manipulating the objects will provide children that respond to kinesthetic learning another opportunity to support their phonological awareness.
Plus we all love playing with miniature toys.
"Kinesthetic learners learn best through doing including manipulating items, simulations and role plays, and other methods that physically involve them in the learning process. They enjoy and learn well from experimenting and first hand experience. Further, they learn best when activities are varied during a class period."
The children can try:
- Using a 'feely bag' to feel and describe the objects.
- Mixing and sorting different objects by the beginning sound.
- Sharing the objects with a partner.