“The Letters Are Lost”

Emergent Literacy

Lindsay Rutland


Rationale: One of the two best predictors of students' success in reading is their ability to recognize and name letters of the alphabet (Adams).  In the early years, it is crucial for teachers to teach the alphabet and the corresponding phonemes.  Children need to be able to recognize letters and connect it’s meaning to the letter symbol. This lesson is designed to further familiarize students with letters and to encourage their mastery of a letter that they choose to work on. It also shows the importance of connecting print and letters to identifiable objects.  They will identify letters in a group setting, practice writing letters on a writing tablet, and finally be able to identify an item that begins with a letter.


The Letters Are Lost by Lisa Campbell Ernst

Construction Paper


Writing Tablet (1 per child)

Worksheet for Assessment



  1. Introduce lesson by explaining that it is not only important to be able to recite the alphabet, but also to be able to say the names of letters when we see them.” Today we are going to make the alphabet come alive for us.” “ Listen carefully as I read the book and see if you can find an object to go with each letter name.” “Ready? Here we go!” Read the book to the class telling them to pay close attention to where the letters have gone.
  2. During each letter be sure the students can recognize that each objects
    begins with that specific letter, such as airplane begins with A. “Can anyone tell me what picture goes with ___ (fill in letter here as necessary to check for comprehension).”
  3. At the end of the story it says "Soon the blocks will begin to disappear once more. Can you guess where they might go?" This is where the discussion begins.
  4. Discuss where each child thinks a letter might disappear to making sure the students understand that the places they disappear to correspond with that letter. Perhaps they might find the letter A in an apple tree this time. Say, “Now I want you to tell me where we could find an A, B” and so on…
  5. Have students choose a letter on their own or even out of a hat, and have them create their own picture of where the lost letter is. Then after they draw their picture let each child share, and then the rest of the students will be practice writing that letter as it is shared on their own writing tablet. The teacher will say, “ Now as your friends share their pictures, you practice writing the letter they show you on your own page” “ I will write them on the overhead so you can watch mine if you are unsure how to write it” "Let's start with A. You go up to the top and down to the sidewalk, and then connect the two lines like this."
  6. For the assessment have the children complete a worksheet where they place the correct letter by the picture that is identified with it. (i.e. A picture of and ice cream cone would have an I beside it)

Another idea is creating a classroom book using this concept where each student would be responsible for a letter or two from the alphabet with a picture that corresponds. Then the individual pages could be bound into a book.


 Marilyn Jager Adams (1990). Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning About

 Lesson adapted from idea by Mandy Wallace

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Foor further information send email to rutlalb@auburn.edu