This year, I have been figuring out the best way to introduce the alphabet songs as I go along. Here are some things that are working well for me! I would love to hear from anyone that has another successful method to share!
When we sing the songs in a whole group situation, I have the letters typed up very large and hold up a letter card in my hand while we sing. So they look at the letter while drawing it in the air and doing the motions for the songs. I have found it easiest to manage those cards by laminating them and binding them into a book. That way, they are always in order, and I never have trouble finding the correct letter quickly. The capital letter is on the front of the card and the lower case letter is on the back. I bound them with rings, punching some nice big holes for the rings so that I can turn the pages quickly while we sing.
Now that my kids know the songs for A-F, we know enough letter songs to work on them in small groups. So today, we got out the Handwriting Without Tears sticks and curves, and we built each letter out of sticks. Then we traced the letters as we sang the songs for each one. They loved it! (Actually, with HWT, you are supposed to take a rag and "polish" the letter in the order that you would draw it. I think that this is because without the rag in your hand, you would probably get a splinter in your finger from dragging it along the wood. So we used rags to trace our wooden letters.)
I have also had the kids take the magnadoodles that I have and write the letters as we sing. White boards work too, as well as Gelboards. We have also made letters out of playdough and sang the songs as well. I am going to try it with salt boxes, too. We'll be working with chalkboards and wet sponges eventually, too. The children in the group each get a little chalkboard, a piece of chalk, and a damp sponge. The children first draw the letter, and then trace over it with a small square of damp sponge. Then they get to watch the letter disappear! As long as the sponges aren't too wet, you can continue to use the chalkboard over and over.
We have also been singing with the DVD. It has the letter on the screen, which draws itself over and over in the correct order. So that's another way for them to see the correct letter formation modeled. If anyone thinks of other ways to use the letter songs, I would love to know!