Learn About Letters Together: Shape and Decorate Letter (“Z”)

  • art materials beginning with “Z” ("z" stickers, “zero” and "z" stamp, zipper stencil, etc.)
  • crayons
  • markers
  • paper (large sheets)
  • tape
  • “Z” stencil cutout (1 for each child)

MA Standards:

English Language Arts/Foundational Skills/RF.PK.MA.1.d: Recognize and name some uppercase letters of the alphabet and the lowercase letters in one’s own name.

Head Start Outcomes:

Literacy Knowledge/Alphabet Knowledge: Recognizes that the letters of the alphabet are a special category of visual graphics that can be individually named.
Literacy Knowledge/Early Writing: Copies, traces, or independently writes letters or words.

PreK Learning Guidelines:

English Language Arts/Reading and Literature 7: Develop familiarity with the forms of alphabet letters, awareness of print, and letter forms.

Learn About Letters Together: Shape and Decorate Letter (“Z”)

© Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Early Education and Care (Jennifer Waddell photographer). All rights reserved.

ELA Focus Skills: Letter Formation, Letter Recognition, Phonological Awareness 

Give each child a large sheet of paper and a “Z” stencil cutout.

  • Tape the stencil onto each child’s paper.
  • Demonstrate for children how to trace the letter with a marker.
  • Remove the stencil and have children trace the letter with their finger.
  • Then have them decorate the page.

You might suggest that children decorate the inside of the letter differently than the outside of the letter so that the letter shape will stand out.

  • For example, they may want to make a zigzag design inside the letter “Z” and the number zero stickers all around the outside of the letter.
  • As children work, ask them to trace the letter outline with their fingers. Talk about the name, shape, and sound of the letter.

Have children hold up their completed designs while making a buzzing /z/ sound as they march around the room.

Adaptation: For groups with small children you may want to have them color in the cutout area to form the letter “Z.” Then have them remove the stencil and decorate the page.

Educator Tip: Guided and independent Letter, Sound, and Word practice continues to take place in center activities. It is helpful to set up the literacy center immediately after the direct instruction and repeat instruction before children work in the literacy center identifying letters.

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