This letter recognition activity focuses on differentiating between upper and lowercase letters. The deeper I dove into how we teach early literacy the more I discovered that there are multiple “right ways” of introducing letters. When I am asked what the right way is, instead of a specific letter order, I say that we start with meaning and continue teaching in a meaningful way. That means start with the child’s initials and other letters in their name and teaching the rest naturally and in context. For this reason, I teach upper and lowercase letters in tandem. I use both types of letters for activities and teach children both forms as we do.
This letter activity can be used as circle time activity, in a small group, or even individually. This is a great activity to work with children who are struggling with letter recognition and need repetitive practice. While I am keeping this letter recognition activity simple by sorting the upper and lowercase of the same letter you could make multiple columns with various letters depending on the group or individual student you are working with. You could even go one step further with older kids and use sight words!
This post contains affiliate links.
How To Do This Letter Activity
Gather your materials. You will need some paper, a whiteboard or a flip chart to make your graph. You will also need markers, dry erase markers, dry erase dice ( I got mine at Walmart, but you can get them here too), post-it notes and if you are popping this beautiful graph on your wall some tape that won’t peel off your paint.
Start by making your chart. I just use paper, and when I am in my classroom I pop it on my huge magnet board, but it’s summer so I am in my office with washi tape on my wall. If you have an easel or flip chart that would work too.
Next, write the letters on your dry-erase die. I used the same color markers as the post-its for the corresponding letter. I wanted to create a subtle scaffold for my students.
Write out the letters on post-its, of course, you could also use letter stickers, or magnets if you have a magnet board and enough magnets of the same letter… I sadly did not so Post-its to the rescue!
Pop everything in place with the post-its scattered about.
I like to introduce this activity as a sort of competition, not between students but between the letters. I ask the students if they have a hypothesis – which letter do they think will be rolled more. We examine the die, it’s got the same number of upper and lowercase letters… hmm guess we will just have to roll and find out.
A good circle time activity is all about engagement.
Time to ROLL
Choose the matching letter on a post-it and place it in the correct column. This little bit of physical work – getting up from circle, walking to the board, choosing the letter, and placing it on the graph is just enough to keep 3-5-year-olds engaged. However, if you have a larger class, this could also take TOO LONG so use this activity as a small group one instead.
After everyone has had a turn count the letters and see which one the uppercase or lowercase won. I find even in a larger group if I tell the children that this is a competition and we have to see if the upper or lowercase letter will win, all stay engaged throughout. Using phrases like “Carrie-Ann do you think Hailey will roll an uppercase B or a lowercase one like you did?” to a child who is starting to fidget gets them involved without conflict.
After we play this together as a group I will leave it out for free choice/ center time and the children will take turns acting out my part as well as simply re-doing the activity and reinforcing the skills, awesome right?!
More Circle Time Activities
Click on the images to be taken to the preschool circle time lesson plans below. These activities are all similar in length and are interactive so preschoolers are engaged and involved in the activity every step of the way.
More Literacy Activities
I love helping preschool teachers bring fresh new ideas into their classrooms that help children build stronger literacy skills in fun developmentally appropriate ways! Click on the images to check out these great letter and literacy activities for preschool.