F is for...Fun with Letters Parent Workshop

Hello, I'm Cathy from Cathy Collier's The W.I.S.E. Owl.  I am excited to share our Family Letter Workshop.

Our school division uses PALS as an assessment for kindergarten.  This test is given three times a year.  Students are asked to do a variety of tasks that are foundation skills for reading.  Once the tests are complete, this test will also help us create groups for intervention and enrichment.  Our system also has a goal of less than 5% identified as needing interventions.

As a pre-test intervention, we form Letter ID groups based on the lowercase letter knowledge from the Summer Kindergarten Screening.  As a way to form a bond with our parents, we invite parents of students who know less than 12 lowercase letters to a Fun with Letters Parent Workshops.

Letter Identification Games

Slap Mat
This is a little switch on the Splat Mat.  We made posters with lowercase letters randomly written on the front.  (We also put capital letters on the back for later.)  We bought mittens from the Dollar Tree and explained to the parents how they could shout out a letter and their child will slap it with the mittened hand.  Other ideas for slapping the mat might be to spell their name as quickly as they can, to slap the alphabet letters in order, or to hold a card up with a capital letter and they will slap the lowercase letter.

Sound Charts with Letter Tiles

Students use Sound Charts throughout the day.  There are sound charts on the walls, on the word wall, on their tables, in their centers, and in their homework folders.  We gave more copies to our parents.  We bought mini-themed erasers from Dollar Tree and wrote lowercase letters on the back.  Students cover the letter erasers on the sound chart.  As the students get more familiar with the letters, let them race against a timer to see how fast they can match the letters.

Paper Plate Fold
Using a paper plate with a lip (10 for $1 at Dollar Tree), parents write the lowercase letters on the lip of the plate.  Then, cut between the letters.  As the parents call out letters, the child folds the letter down.  They can fold all the letters in their name.  

Pizza Pan Magnet Boards
Magnet letters are fun. No doubt about it.  BUT, when the magnet board is a pizza pan, it makes it way more fun!  Students can use the pizza pan as the magnet board when created words or spelling thier name.  **Pinterest showed pizza pans being used as a dry erase board, as well, but it didn't work for me.  (It was a Pinterest FAIL!)  

Plastic Plates as Dry Erase Boards
Another Dry Erase find is a Plastic Plate.  The boards are coated with a smooth plastic that makes the perfect dry erase board.  Students can write their name, capitals and lowercase letters, and word wall words.  They are actually 4 for $1, so they are great to share.   ***By the way, my favorite dry erase markers are also at Dollar Tree.  They are 3 for $1 and have the eraser on the top.  When students use these pens, they can erase in the form of the letter, too.  BONUS!

Book Worms
Dollar Tree has several themed cut-out shapes.  We used the book worms to write the lowercase letters.  There are actually 32 worms in the pack, so you can make doubles of some letters, so students can spell their name or other words. It's way more fun to identify letters on a worm than it is to recognize letters on regular paper.  

Finally, Alphabet Tracing Books
We use Alphabet Tracing books in the classroom as part of our Letter ID Intervention, but we also send one home to the parent with letter formation directions.  This will help reinforce the formation skills both at home and at school.  It is also comforting to the students to know they are doing the same activity for their teacher and for their parents.  It shows the students all the adults in their life are working together.

Parent Attendance
We offered our Workshop twice in the same day, once immediately after school and again that evening.  We hoped providing double sessions would allow better opportunities for parent participation.  Typically, a 50% rule seems to predict attendance.  That is, 50% of the people invited will attend.  I'm happy to say we had 67% attend this year.  Our PALS test isn't until the end of October.  I can't wait to see the results of all our hard work.

If you would like a copy of the FREEBIE Alphabet Tracing Book, CLICK HERE.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, Karen. Just trying to get parents on board with helping in the easiest ways we can.

  2. LOVE this!! Such cute ideas. Thanks for sharing!
    The Techie Teacher

  3. I love this idea! I am just wondering -- when do you do your summer assessment with the kindergartners, and is it one you've created? We do one in the spring, when they come to register. We use this information to try to balance the classes, but I love the idea of enlisting the parents before PALS testing even begins!

  4. We use a screening developed by our school system, but it's a basic K screening. We check capital and lowercase, but PALS is only lowercase, so that's our focus. We also have 3 days of K Screenings the parents can sign up for and our K teachers volunteer their time to screen new students.