As the children get settled in the classroom, many of the second year children have begun to ask for specific lessons with the teachers. One of the most common lessons to be requested is the sandpaper letter lessons. The children observe their peers tracing letters, practicing and saying the sound and playing games with the letters and sounds with a teacher and eventually request to have the lesson as well. Some of the children stand and observe as a teacher gives a lesson to another child; they whisper the letter sounds and try to contain themselves from pointing to the letter or saying the sound for their peer having the lesson.
Typically, the first three letters the children learn are s,m,t. We focus on the sound rather than the name of the letter as that is what we use when sounding out words. A child was having his first letter lesson with a teacher. The teacher sat with the child and traced the “s” and said “sss”. The child gazed at the letter, traced the letter and whispered “sss”. The teacher set aside the “s” and showed the child “m” and said “mmm”. The child again traced the letter and whispered “mmm”. They repeated the same process with the “t”. The teacher laid out the three letters and said “can you find the ‘mm’?” The child pointed to the “m”. The teacher had the child trace, knock on and mix-up the letters all the while having the child indicate which letter made each sound. After each letter lesson, the children make rubbings of each letter and put them in a little book to bring home. The children are so proud of their books and get excited about beginning to recognize those letter sounds!