A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kindergarteners proudly wearing their ABCs at James Lane Allen Elementary

By Tammy L. Lane
Special to KyForward

Kindergarteners tackling their ABCs put on quite the fashion show for friends and family at James Lane Allen Elementary, where everyone celebrated their progress.

“It’s been exciting to see the ownership they’ve taken in making their vests,” said teacher Sarah Scott. “They’re also making connections. This helps them put names and sounds to the letters as we’re getting into our reading curriculum.”

The vest project was the culmination of ABC BOOTCAMP, in which the four classes focused on a new letter every weekday since the start of school. In wall displays, the teachers hung charts from A to Z – adding words, colors, and images with examples such as apple, gorilla, piano, and yellow.

Kindergarteners tackling their ABCs put on quite the fashion show for friends and family at James Lane Allen Elementary, where everyone celebrated their progress

“Some kids have mastered letters and sounds, and others are on their way. It’s a fun way to engage them in wanting to learn,” said teacher Kimberly Brown.

In the end, the four kindergarten teachers assigned each student a letter and cut out plain brown vests made of paper grocery bags, each marked with an uppercase and lowercase letter. They also sent home a list of decorating ideas. Some children drew and colored simple pictures to illustrate their letter, others clipped magazine photos, and still others glued on 3-D items to add texture, depth, and interest.

“It’s neat to see what the families came up with,” Brown said.

Many of the youngsters thought of more examples than what they had heard in class, and they practiced writing their letters as they labeled objects on their vests. Rena Keath reported that her son, Caleb, insisted on drawing every picture and doing it all himself.

“This reinforced his enjoyment of learning,” she said.

Keath also recounted how her family sat around the breakfast table the whole month trying to figure out what the animal of the day would be, and at dinnertime they learned who had guessed correctly.

“Some letters were more difficult than others, and we actually had to do some research,” she said.

Another mom, Mandy Deerhake, had double the fun with twin daughters Lauren and Clara.

“We read books every night, and they can recognize some sight words now,” she said. “They’re also learning to say the alphabet without singing it.”

Tammy L. Lane is website editor for Fayette County Public Schools

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