This year I have become a teacher on a mission. Last summer's book study of The Next Step in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson helped me to reflect on students with a pre-emergent reading level in my kindergarten classroom. It inspired me to find new ways and work diligently with those students so they could rise above their struggle with reading and thrive in my classroom as confident and enthusiastic readers and writers. I was particularly fascinated to learn that the implementation of a simple alphabet tracing book could help students struggling with letter recognition take giant leaps forward in mastering this important pre-reading skill. So I set out to create an alphabet tracing book that is ideal for my students.
If you are not already familiar with the concept of an alphabet tracing book, it is a very simple resource. An ideal alphabet book includes a separate page for each letter of the alphabet. Each page includes a capital letter, lowercase letter, and picture that begins with the letter. Jan Richardson recommends keeping any picture labels off the pages of the book to eliminate confusion for early readers. Students use a finger to trace both letters on each page, then touch and recite the name of object in the picture. The tactile experience helps to engrain the letter in the student's mind so it can be recognized more easily. Richardson also encourages the use of a tutor or other adult to work with a child each time he/she traces the letters to ensure correct letter associations.
Proper printing formation is a HUGE component of my school's curriculum and it was important that I use this opportunity to promote and reinforce proper formation while my struggling readers interacted with this book. Light blue numbered arrows have been included on each page to prompt students the proper order for tracing each letter stroke. Unlike so many other tracing books, the inclusion of arrows was exactly what my students needed.
I was absolutely amazed to discover the tremendous strides my students made in alphabet recognition after tracing the book for a few short weeks. The difference has been incredible. Truly astounding.
Creating the Alphabet Book
Creating the book was a simple process. I simply printed each page of the Alphabet Tracing Cards, laminated them on my Scotch Thermal Laminator (this makes the pages EXTRA durable), and bound all of the pages into a book.
I posted this photo on Instagram when I began the laminating process and and such a huge response. So many people wanted to know where the book came from and how to get their hands on it.
Even my best friend (who is not a teacher at all) commented that she wanted a copy for her 3 year old daughter, Amelia. I actually LOVED the idea of sharing a copy of the book with a preschool student. As a 3 year old, Amelia isn't ready for formal printing instruction, but she knows every capital letter and is ready for a new skill. Finger tracing seemed like the logical next step. So I printed, laminated, and bound a new book just for my young friend and went to visit her at home.
Tracing with a PreschoolerFrom the moment she saw the book, Amelia was fascinated. She loved the letters and the bright graphics. It took a few minutes of page flipping before she was ready to start at the beginning and check out every letter.
As you might expect, the numbers and arrows were less helpful to 3 year old than they are to a kindergarten student. Fortunately this little peanut was great at following my example. I traced the letters with my finger and she traced right along with me.
She was captivated by every page.
This was also Amelia's first time learning about lowercase letters. I kept telling her things like "this is a different kind of A" or "sometimes K looks like this". It was a lot of new information but she didn't miss a beat. She kept right on tracing and easily figured out the name of the lowercase letter by looking at it's capitalized partner. Such a smart little cookie.
You can purchase my Alphabet Tracing Cards in my TpT store.Alphabet Tracing Card set and are available in two background colors: Black Series or traditional white background.