Using Mentor Texts to Build Alphabet Recognition

In this post I’m discussing how alphabet books can be used as mentor texts to help students build letter recognition. I’m also sharing lists of the BEST alphabet books (both digital and print) that make wonderful mentor texts for alphabet activities.

If you work with young children there is no doubt you and your little ones spend a lot of time working with letters… know the good old ABCs.  You sing about them, you paint them.  Maybe you write, trace, or build them.  You work with them in a variety of ways and that is so smart because we know that children learn the alphabet best through a combination of direct instruction and multiple exposures to print.  

There are so many wonderful, fun and different ways you can expose students to print.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing a series of posts that focus on how to teach alphabet recognition.  I’ll share tips, ideas and hands-on activities to help you. 

I’m kicking off the series by sharing one of my favorite ways to teach alphabet recognition….through the use of mentor texts!  

letter picture books
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Today I’m excited to discuss how alphabet books can support your students’ letter recognition.  I’m also sharing a list of books that make wonderful mentor texts for alphabet activities!

How Alphabet Books Support Letter Recognition

Alphabet books are wonderful because they provide opportunities for students to hear, see, say and write the alphabet in a variety of contexts and for different purposes.  

They are also helpful in the following ways:  

🍎 Alphabet books help beginning readers’ to develop their oral language, the skills and knowledge that go into listening and speaking.  This development is essential for reading comprehension and writing.  

🍎 Alphabet books are presented in ABC order which helps students to learn their letter sequence. 

🍎 As they listen students learn to associate an individual sound with an individual letter. 

🍎 Alphabet books help to buiLd vocabulary and world knowledge.  This is especially helpful for English language learners or those with limited world knowledge.  

🍎 Finally, alphabet books are fun and engaging!  They usually don’t have a lot of text and therefore can be more appealing to readers who may be intimidated by books with more text.  

How to Use Alphabet Books in Your Classroom 

Alphabet books can easily become a meaningful part of your instructional routine!  Here is a sequence that is easy to implement and I think works well: 

  1. Read the book through without stopping to discuss.  Just let your students enjoy the language and illustrations.  
  2. Next, reread the book but this time stop to discuss.  Find objects in the illustrations that begin with the sound the letter on the page represents.  Keep it fun and light.  Focus on just one or two letters each day.  
  3. Create letter charts using the words and pictures in the alphabet book.  Let students brainstorm other words that match the target letter/sound and add it to the list.  Again, just focus on one or two letters.  
  4. Finally, have students create their own alphabet books that follow the pattern of the book you’ve been reading.  

List of Mentor Texts for Alphabet Activities

There are lots of great alphabet books out there! To help make your search a little easier I’ve created a list of alphabet books that make wonderful mentor texts for alphabet activities. You can download it for free so you’ve got it whenever you need it!

>> Download this Printable List HERE <<

Or if you’d rather I’ve saved this collection for quick access on Amazon >> TOP 10 Books For Teaching Alphabet Recognition

Alphabet letter recognition books

But don’t worry, no need to rush to the library to collect these books quite yet! I’ve done something to help you out… Are you familiar with the reading website Epic! ?

It is an amazing website that offers unlimited access to thousands of books, videos, and quizzes from leading publishers. It allows you to create collections of books on any topic. To make your life a little easier, I went ahead and used Epic to create an online library of alphabet books! You can access and save the collection here!

What are some of your favorite alphabet books? I’m always looking to add to my list!!

I hope the information and mentor text list I’ve shared here today will help you to weave more alphabet books into your instruction! It such an easy and engaging way to give students more exposure to letters and sounds.

Be on the look-out for my next post where I’ll share 5 Tips for Teaching Alphabet Recognition!



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