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Alphabet Based Concepts for Learning Language

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Three days each week I merge into my self-contained classes. Both of these classes use a “Letter of the Week” model to help their students learn the alphabet. Several years ago, I decided to take this to heart and build upon the week’s letter by incorporating several letter activities into my merge circle time.

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1. Alphabet Song and Phonics Song

I’ve been using this Leap Frog Letter set for years and years. I sing and sign the alphabet and encourage my students by having them press the buttons (even the non-verbal students can participate this way). Unfortunately, I can no longer find my toy for sale, and this is the closest I can find.

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2. Letter of the Week Song

I’ve tried to find and create songs that focus on both a particular letter AND emphasize vocabulary and language concepts. I make sure that these are error-less songs so that both my verbal and non-verbal students can participate. My goals with these songs are:

  • Participation by all (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Heavy repetition of basic concepts
  • Vocabulary in categories (such as farm animals, foods, common actions)
  • Catchy, easy to remember songs (so I use familiar tunes and just change the lyrics when needed)
  • Completely error-less (there is no correct order to sing the verses)

(See end of this post to see my new product containing 26 error-less songs… one for each letter of the alphabet!)

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3. Alphabet Bag

I change the contents of my Alphabet Bag each week to work on vocabulary. To do this activity, I use a reusable grocery bag filled with fun toys that begin with that letter (although I sometimes use the same items for different letters by changing what I call them!). When the child pulls out an item, I do a little chant, “Ball, ball, B, B, ball, ball, B!!!”

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4. Alphabet themed crafts

I use file cards, Sounding Board, and LAMP AAC programs to help do crafts with the letter of the week as a them. For example, during “S” week, we made snowmen out of shaving cream.  The vocabulary and concepts could be as basic “more” for some students and multiple words “I want more white” for others.

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I hope these are fun and useful ideas for helping you use the alphabet to teach language!

Now that you’ve seen how I use the alphabet with my low language students, check out the incredible new 26 file-folder songs I have just created! You can purchase it here.

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Song Lyrics: The following traditional song lyrics were used in this product: The Wheels on the Bus, Down by the Bay, Do Your Ears Hang Low, Hokey Pokey, If All of the Raindrops, Row Your Boat, Twinkle Twinkle.

ALL other song lyrics were written by If Only I Had Super Powers and are copyright ©If Only I Had Super Powers (superpowerspeech.com).

Here is the break-down of each song, tune, and language concept addressed.

Letter Song Title Song Tune Language concepts
A All Around the Apple Tree All Around the Mulberry Bush “around”,  forest animals
B The Wheels on the Bus The Wheels on the Bus movement concepts, bus parts
C The Cat Ran Up the Clock Hickory, Dickory, Dock “up/down”, small mammals
D Down by the Bay Down by the Bay “down”, animals, rhymes
E Do Your Ears Hang Low? Do  Your Ears Hang Low? body parts
F Fruits Like… Frere Jacques fruits, plurals
G The Girls Are The Ants Go Marching plurals, “are…ing” verbs
H Hokey Pokey Hokey Pokey “in/out”, body parts
I If All of the Raindrops If All of the Raindrops plurals, sweets
J Jane Jumps Happy Birthday “over”, land forms
K My Kite My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean “over”, types of buildings
L Ladybugs are Little The More We Get Together “little”, bugs, plurals
M Mommy Made Mary Had a Little Lamb plurals, cooked foods
N At Night It’s Time Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush night time activities, verb phrases
O Out of the Ocean The Bear went over the Mountain regular past tense, ocean animals
P Pop Goes the Piggy Pop Goes the Weasel past tense, farm animals
Q Quiet Happy Birthday “is…ing” verbs, family members
R Row your Boat Row your Boat “carefully”, “your”, vehicles
S Skip to your School Skip to my Lou verbs
T Twinkle, Twinkle Twinkle, Twinkle celestial bodies, adjectives, similes
U Under the Umbrella The Bear went over the Mountain “under”, pets
V Lots of Veggies London Bridge plurals, vegetables
W What will the Girl Wear Today? Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush “long/short”, clothes
X eXtra for Me Mary had a Little Lamb verbs, adjectives
Y Your Yo-Yo Goes Up and Down The Farmer and the Dell “your”, toys, movement patterns
Z Mrs. Zany’s Zoo Old MacDonald vowels, zoo animals, animal noises

Putting together a file folder activity takes a little bit of work up front, but is worth it because it is infinitely reusable!

Materials for Preparation:

  • Downloads
  • File Folders
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Laminator
  • Velcro with sticker backs

Directions for Preparation:

Print off downloads (2 pages per song).
  1. Glue page 1 onto inside of file folder.
  2. Cut out small tab and glue onto the tab area of the folder.
  3. Cut out 6 “verse” rectangles.
  4. Laminate entire 6 “verse” rectangles.
  5. Cut 7 pieces of female (fuzzy) Velcro. Stick 1 female side onto the middle of the rectangle on page Evenly place the other 6 female pieces onto the other side of the file folder. (Note on the “W” song, you will need to use your best judgment where to stick Velcro on the girl in 3 places since there are no rectangles)
  6. Cut 6 pieces of male (pokey) Velcro. Stick one piece in the center of each “verse” rectangle.
  7. Store verses on the page with the 6 female Velcro pieces.

Singing the Songs:

  1. Students choose any “verse” rectangle and place into the rectangle on page one.
  2. Sing the song. Where there are 3 dots, use the word(s) on the rectangle. There is no correct order to the verses. All participation is celebrated.
  3. Remove the verse and have students choose a new verse.

Here is what they look like when complete:Screenshot 2014-03-15 17.26.15

And after you put in the initial work, you have 26 songs that you can use over and over and over again for years to come!

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Check them out in my TpT store here!

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