Exploring upper and lowercase letters with my preschoolers

This is a simple way I use to introduce upper and lower case letters with my students…

On a large flip chart, I print a letter in the upper left hand corner of my chart.  Underneath the letter, I print a few words that start with that letter. And on the right hand side of the chart, I print the capital and lower case letter in various places throughout the page…

I introduce the letter and run through the words that start with the letter. Then I invite each child to take a turn to come up and circle the letter.  When we first started this, I would say, “Would you like to see if you can find a letter F?”  I did not distinguish between upper or lower case.  When each child found the letter, I invited him or her to circle it with a highlighter and then I would say, “Hurray, you found a (upper) or (lower case) letter Ff!”  As you can see – there was no wrong answer.

After repeating this process with several letters each week, I have now changed the question to : “Can you find an upper letter E?”  or “Can you find a lower case letter e?”  Notice that there are no other letters on the board but the letter Ee.

The children LOVE to take a turn to circle a letter.  I make sure they all feel good about their decision of which letter they choose to circle and we talk about the upper versus the lower case letter each time…

I don’t mix in other letters at this time.  This is not a test to see if they can distinguish a letter F from a letter E.  This is simply a way to reinforce recognition of the letter we are talking about that day and a chance to explore upper and lower case form…

Now can you find the letter Ff?

Well done!

By |2011-10-18T06:00:27+00:00October 18th, 2011|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.

16 Comments

  1. Amber October 18, 2011 at 7:41 am - Reply

    Nice and simple…usually the best way to go! One aspect that I normally include with an activity like this is the thought of the “magic” C, usually with my preK students. I find that if they get into a habit of using the magic C and close it up to make circles they are are more apt to start all their letters/numbers/shapes at the top. Makes for an easier transition into formal writing. For an individual activity, I provide a large block letter with the upper and lower case letters inside and they use colored magnetic chips to cover the upper and the lower letters. I’ve done this process with numbers also. Of course, using the “magic (magnetic) wand” they wave it over their page when they are done and “abracadabra!” the chips are gone. 🙂 So simple, but they love it!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 18, 2011 at 9:46 pm - Reply

      Haha – super cute ideas!! I will have to try them out!

  2. Roz Karp October 18, 2011 at 8:21 am - Reply

    I notice you use the word capital letter…so do I, but the schools here use the term upper case. Do you ever introduce this other term? I love the simplicity of your activity.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 18, 2011 at 9:44 pm - Reply

      I intermingle the work upper case and capital letter without even thinking about it.

  3. Little Wonders' Days October 18, 2011 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Such a clever idea. I had left a comment sometime ago about young preschoolers writing and you gave me some great tips. Well, regardless of me holding back with formal teaching, Sassyfras came home with “L”‘s (her initial) all over her artwork today. It looks like she’s going to write whether I show her or not!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      I love it and that is what you want to see – follow your child’s lead and you will both enjoy learning!

  4. Suzanne Schlechte October 18, 2011 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    It would be worth making and laminating pages like this to use again and again. I love that I could do this with my buddies of different ages and abilities and EVERY BUDDY could be successful.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I think you could laminate the pages! I change things up as we go along so I tend to just write things out as we go along:)

  5. Jackie October 20, 2011 at 7:44 am - Reply

    This is a great idea! I pinned it so I can remember to try it with my son. I love how you set them up to be successful. One thing I might do to extend the learning is to ask them, “How are the words the same?” “Say the words. Where do they sound the same?” Sometimes we tell the kids about beginning letter sounds but I think it’s good to do a check and make sure they really understand the concept. Thanks for all of your wonderful ideas.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 20, 2011 at 7:50 am - Reply

      I will definitely keep that in mind! I will build on this process throughout the school year for sure:)

  6. stephanie a. October 23, 2011 at 2:42 am - Reply

    Hi Deborah! This is a good idea and very simple. Our kids love to learn about letters, which means they are ready to learn through activities like this!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. October 23, 2011 at 10:26 am - Reply

      I agree Stephanie – children will let you know when the are ready for new learning and new processes…

  7. Heather February 3, 2012 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    I really like this idea. I used to write a morning message in front of the kids but that was taking a really long time each morning. Using something like this will be perfect to incorporate into my classroom!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. February 4, 2012 at 11:03 am - Reply

      We love this because it is simple and doesn’t take FOREVER!!

  8. Nicole September 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Hi! Can you share a link to where I can find a notebook like this? Also what are the dimensions? I’m very new to teaching preschool and love this article! Also do you have a post about teaching the sounds of the letters?

    • Deborah Stewart September 14, 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      I get mine from our local school supply store. You can find them here on Amazon; https://amzn.to/2h67WhJ

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