I Spy Letters is a letter identification game for preschoolers. My preschoolers beg to play this game nearly every morning during our circle time, and who am I to say no to learning our letters and sounds?
Letter recognition games are an engaging way to help kids learn new letters and practice letters that they already know. And, who doesn’t love a great, classic game of I Spy?
I have to admit, I am a “letter of the week” kind of preschool teacher. But let me be clear, in preschool we do lots of daily whole alphabet activities, too. I like the structure that the “letter of the week” approach offers, and my preschoolers look forward to learning a “brand new letter.” We do lots of hands on games and activities to reinforce the focus letter and sound, followed by an equal amount of whole language activities during center time. I Spy Letters is just one game we play that helps my preschoolers really hone in on the focus letter identification and its matching sound.
The materials for I Spy Letters
- a poem, short story, chant, or song written on chart paper
- a magnifying glass
To play I Spy Letters
Read through the poem, short story, chant, or song written on chart paper with your students. The one in this example is a poem for the letter K. As I’m reading I like to point to the letters K and also emphasize the /k/ sound.
“Koala and Kitten are in the kitchen,
Hiding from Kangaroo.
When she turns on a light,
To find her red kite,
Koala and Kitten say, ‘Boo!'”
After reading the poem, I think out loud to my students about how I heard the /k/ sounds so many times. “I heard it when I said koala, and kitten, and kitchen. I heard it in kangaroo and kite, too” Each K work I emphasize the /k/ sound at the beginning.
Then, I invite my students to come up to the chart paper and find a word that begins with the /k/ sound. Note that I do not ask them to find words that “begin with K.” I specifically ask them to find words that begin with the matching focus sound. I do this for one primary reason:
- to teach them to associate the focus letter with a specific sound
Even Kent takes a turn. Of course at 19 months he is simply having fun with the magnifying glass and not searching for specific letters, or working on letter identification skills at all, but he loves feeling like he is a preschooler, too. The activity continues until every student has had a turn.
I’m Sarah, an educator turned stay-at-home-mama of five! I’m the owner and creator of Stay At Home Educator, a website about intentional teaching and purposeful learning in the early childhood years. I’ve taught a range of levels, from preschool to college and a little bit of everything in between. Right now my focus is teaching my children and running a preschool from my home. Credentials include: Bachelors in Art, Masters in Curriculum and Instruction.