Abbreviate it, SVP

Letter recognition practice is only an abbreviation away.

Compile a list of popular abbreviations. For example, in the US (hey, there’s an abbreviation) I could start with the various TV (hey, there’s another abbreviation) networks: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, TBS, etc. (hey, did you see that abbreviation?).

Company abbreviations are great: IBM, BMW and AIG.

You can use a.m and p.m. (time) and AM and FM (radio).

All US states have two-letter postal abbreviations (IL, TX, FL), while airports and airlines around the world usually have three-letter abbreviations (NRT, LAX, AMS, JAL, ANA).

Avoid computer chat abbreviations: LOL, BRB, ROFL, but www is fine (dubya dubya dubya?).

Young learners may not know most if any of these abbreviations, and that’s okay. The focus is on letter recognition.

Now you can:

a) Call out abbreviations and students write them down.

b) Have students call out abbreviations and you write them down.

c) Call out abbreviations and students arrange small/large letter cards in order.

d) Have students create each letter with their bodies (one student per letter, although multiple students per letter is funnier).

e) Have one student write the abbreviation on another student’s back, and the second student must say the abbreviation (variation: form a line of at least 5 students and time how fast the abbreviation moves down the line; with more than one line, it’s a race).

f) Silently but clearly say the abbreviations and students read your lips (switch often with students).

g) Have students race to locate the individual letters on items around the classroom such as ABC charts, bags, clothing, books, signs, etc. (one letter per item!)

As I wrote above, it’s not necessary for younger learners to know what these letters mean. The emphasis is on letter recognition, and it’s helpful to keep your practice lists short. But older learners? They get to find the full names of the abbreviations for homework.

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