Grade: Elementary
Subject: Special Ed

#2730. Connecting Letters and Memory

Special Ed, level: Elementary
Posted Sat Nov 16 19:43:51 PST 2002 by Teresa Haselton (
Haselton HomeSchool, Thornton, CO 80229
Activity Time: One Unit per week until letters are learned.
Concepts Taught: Aids students with learning disabilities

This lesson plan is for those students who have difficulty in recognizing the oral letter to the visual letter. Some students may know the alphabet song but still may not know the letters by sight. I have found this lesson plan to work very well with one of my students who has perception disabilities. This lesson plan takes some time but I believe with love and patience you will find that this unit really goes a long way in helping the student really grasp those letters.

Felt letters and cut-out letters were not working for my special-ed student so I tried this idea and it worked.

I use several different materials. Worksheets, posters (most that I get from the internet, the colorful ones with the Big Letters I find work better), flash-cards, videos (Richard Scary vidoes and books are excellent tools) and modeling clay. Also, an alphabet poster with the entire alphabet in both upper/lower case with a picture is a must.

First, break down the alphabet into weekly or bi-weekly units. The time factor will depend on the student's type of disability, some may be able to complete the units in little time and some may take a bit longer. The important thing is to find a time frame that works for each individual student.

The units can go something like this: A-D, E-G, H-J and so forth. As the student learns a unit the student will gain more confidence and we know that confidence is a must, especially for students who are already struggling with learning disabilites, etc.

Begin by having them associate the letter with the sound the letter makes. There are several methods you can use, flash cards, worksheets, pictures, posters and so forth. However, for those students with perceptual disabilities I found that having the student write the letter in uppercase/lowercase on writing paper and as they write the letter having them repeat the letter Out Loud to themselves Each time they write the letter begins the process of phonic connection. Use colorful writing sheets with their favorite character to aid them in wanting to write. This also aids them in keeping their interest and prevention of boredom.

Next, assign the students books/worksheets with letter worksheets. I use several types of workbooks/worksheets to teach letters. However, I found that using the uppercase then the lowercase separately works better than just giving out worksheets with both cases. I use "School Zone" books. They have workbooks with letters in uppercase worksheets and letters in lowercase worksheets. You can find these at any educational supply store. However, If you cannot find these books, then make your own sheets by putting a small piece of paper over the letters (Aa) and making two copies....then paste (or have student paste) the "A" on one page and the "a" on the other page with stencils, stickers, or construction paper cut-outs. It helps if you get worksheets with the different pictures at the bottom of the page. Example, "A" with apple, ax and "a" with an, alligator.

I combine these sheets with sheets with the upper/lowercase together too so the student knows the "A/a" are the same letter, etc.

Then, if you can find the book (from educational supply store) I use "Home Work Books - Capital & Lowercase Letters" by Carson-Dellossa Publishing Company, Inc. I like this booklet because the student can color the pictures which are segmented into "A" and "a" (in different colors).


With the alphabet chart in plain sight, have the student make two letters out of clay in both upper/lower cases. Use different colors for each two letters. Examples, pink for F and G, green for H and I, etc. I gave my student her own plastic containers. A sandwich container with lid is good, you may need a couple to keep all the letters. We wrap our letters in cellophane that I cut into small squares to keep the clay letters from drying out. We wrap one letter and another. This may seem to take a bit longer than just wrapping letters into cellophane, but the students care more for their letters when they wrap each one. Wrapping their letters 'personalizes' them.

When the next unit of letters is assigned, I give her an oral test and when she has trouble remembering a letter I ask her to recall the clay. Everytime, she has remembered the letter.

Also, for those trouble letters I will have my student make the clay letters a couple of times in different colors.

After the alphabet is finished in both upper/lower case in clay, and their box (or boxes) are full of colorful letters (be sure to have the students wrap them in cellophane to keep the letters from drying out and becoming brittle). You can then use those same letters for their beginning word units/phonics lessons by putting those colorful and wrapped letters together.

The student/s now have something tangible to help them connect those letters by sound to the visual letter on paper and something that is theirs and that they can look on with pride and confidence.