“What do you expect a PreK student to know?” That’s a loaded question if I have ever heard one. The truth is I don’t expect my students to have specific knowledge when they walk into my classroom, but I do try to improve on what they already know, whatever that may be, and refine the skills they have before they leave for Kindergarten. There are plenty of PreK state standards, but my concern is the child in front of me. Right now, many of my students are showing interest in learning lowercase letters. I use and teach recognizing both upper and lowercase letters concurrently, but many of my students come in with much more prior knowledge of uppercase. One way to build on these letter recognition skills and target specific letters is to use tools like these clip cards one on one or in small groups with your students.
How to use these colorful letter matching cards
Match the uppercase to the lowercase letter, right?
Yep, but let me share how you can use these letter matching cards with all levels of learners.
- The student who doesn’t recognize uppercase letters independently yet:
Place one letter of each color option on a tray, no more than one color, though.
“Let’s do this activity together. Your job is to find the uppercase letter, and then I’ll find the lowercase, and you can clip the clothespin on. Ready? ”
” Can you find the T?” If there is no movement, you can then use the color as a scaffold. “The T is on the orange circle.”
“Great job, now can you help me find the lowercase t? Which lowercase letter looks more like this T?” Then find it and clip it together. Sometimes lowercase letters don’t look like their uppercase counterpart, so I’d switch up the wording and say something like, “I wonder which one it is. Do you have any guesses?”
Always label the result ” Yes, you found the letter T and put the clip on the lowercase t.”
- The student who recognizes uppercase but not many lowercase yet:
Grab a handful of matching cards, some with the easy letters ( c, k, o, p, s, v, w, x) and others that are letters in that child’s name. Students are much more likely to recognize these letters, even if they don’t know them all or the letter name. The familiarity will help build confidence. Call out the letter and have them find the card, and then help them find the matching lowercase letter. Make sure you are peppering the order with a mix of easily attainable and more challenging letters. You can use prompts like “Do either of these lowercase letters look familiar to you? Is one in your name?”
As students get closer to mastering this activity, select fewer and fewer of the letters I call easy letters, aka letters that look the same in both upper and lowercase.
- The student who recognizes both upper and lowercase but needs/wants some practice:
Practice can still be fun, and finding novel ways to practice letter identification and the fine motor skills needed to clip the cards is beneficial even if your student has mastered basic letter identification. I like doing things like saying, let’s make a rainbow, and starting with one red card and clipping the next five in rainbow order. Or all blue letters, now all green!
If your student has mastered letter identification and needs more challenge, you can also weave some phonics into this activity. “Find the letter that makes the first sound in ball.” then have your student clip the lowercase b. This helps drive home the idea that the sound that Bb makes is consistent for both upper and lowercase.
Want to work on these skills along with practicing proper pencil grip?
Skip the clothespins and use a dry erase instead!
Want your own letter matching cards?
Buy a digital copy of this complete set of letter matching cards, and you can print them out as many times as you want!