Textured letter cards are a staple in many preschool and kindergarten classrooms. They can be used in many ways to add a multisensory aspect to instructions. I have a 30 year old homemade set that I’m still using.
One of my very favorite ways to use them is to do rubbings. This is especially fun as part of an introductory lesson.
When I introduce a new letter we talk about the sound. I may discuss how it is made in the mouth. We practice saying it and note what our mouths look like and feel like. Do our lips stay open? Is air coming out of our nose? Do our lips pop open with a puff? Sometimes I use a mirror and we take turns watching as we say the sound.
Then we listen for that sound in words. If they struggle I encourage them to say the word and focus on their mouth. Can the hear and feel that sound?
Finally, we look at the letter and its shape. How is it made? Straight lines, curves? I hand out the textured letter cards and everyone has the opportunity to feel the letter shape.
I hand out blank white paper and crayon bits with no wrapper.
I instruct them to put the letter under the paper. Check to make sure it is letter side up! Using the side of the crayon they should rub until the letter starts to show through. They usually get pretty excited to see it appear!
You can have them move the letter card, choose a different crayon and try a few more.
Reminding them to use the side of the crayon is usually the trickiest part. Occasionally, I may need to help a student hold the card in place while they do the rubbing. But my 4-6 year olds usually catch on quickly.
Sometimes we will do a “mystery letter” review. I place the sandpaper letters on a tray with a sheet of paper over before the students arrive. Each student gets a different letter. They pick a crayon, do the rubbing and tell me the sound.
You can have them close their eyes and you can put a different letter underneath for another mystery!
This is such a simple activity. If you’ve got textured letters it takes no prep at all.