The Best Way to Help Students Struggling to Learn Letters

best way to help struggling students learn letters teach magically
Do you know the best way to help students struggling to learn letters. All teachers know that getting students to learn letter names is so important for beginning to read and write.
Sometimes no matter how many ways you have connected letters to print, danced, and practiced, some students can’t remember the letter names or their sounds!
So what do you do when you have learners that make no growth when everyone else is soaring.

Especially when because over and over again….they worked on:

  1. Letter Videos
  2. Games
  3. Phonological Awareness Skills
  4. Guided Reading

This has happened to me many times throughout the years so you are not alone. I use to think it meant the kiddos were to blame:

  • learning problem
  • dyslexic
  • attention issues
Then I work with a research study and found that some learners just need something else.
That’s when I started using drill sandwich in combination with alphabet tracing. Check out how I use alphabet tracing in Beginning Guided Reading.
best way to help students struggling to learn letters teach magically

What is Drill Sandwich?

The drill sandwich strategy is a way learners can practice and learn letters by mixing what they know with what they need to learn. (Check out how to do it with sight words.)

Drill sandwich is typically more motivating to any learner because the new information is next to something known…so it helps alleviate frustration.
Be sure to only focus on 3 new letters at a time. But you are still reviewing known letters to help send it to long term memory. (2 new letters if the child has poor working memory)

Why does drill sandwich work?

 because of the repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition of course!????????????
Repetition makes learning new letters in this manner much more manageable for students, and will help them learn the letter names more quickly.

How to Build a Drill Sandwich to Learn Letters.

1.) Make set of flashcards for the letters of the alphabet.
2.) Go through the complete stack of cards once, separating the list into two piles – letter known and letters unknown. (Hint: Cards are marked known only if the information is automatic. If the learner has to think even for a few seconds ( I usually try to count to 5), then the card should be placed in the unknown pile for more repetition.)
3.) Build a “sandwich” using seven known letters and three unknown. Be sure to follow the pattern below. (K = known; U = unknown)      (KUKKUKKUK)
4.) Have the learner practice daily. If they don’t know the letter name quickly, supply it.
5.) As the unknown letters are learned…move them into a known section of the sandwich by removing well-known letters (be sure it is automatic….no guessing!).
6.) Build a new sandwich and repeat. (Add new unknown letters and begin the learning process again.)
Remember some students need more time than others. Don’t move on until the letters are known automatically!
If they look at the letter chart, says the ABC’s, or pause for longer that 5 seconds, don’t count it as known.

Other Best Ways to Help Students Struggling to Learn Letters

Provide practice. Yes, it takes some students way more practice than others to learn letters.
Here are the Boom Cards for practice:
Here are the Power Point Games for practice:
Make sure to go check out my store, Debora Marines TeachMagically for time saving activities to make teaching easy and learning magical.
Make everyday magical,
Debora from Teach Magically

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