Teaching the alphabet is the very first step in helping young children learn about letters and in moving towards learning letter sounds. Typically, young children learn to sing the ABC song, which is a great way to create excitement in learning the alphabet, and learning the alphabet is the first step towards learning to read. So, is knowing the alphabet song enough preparation for learning to read?
From the womb, children are exposed to the sounds of our language when we speak to them and convey our meaning using tonal and facial expressions. As toddlers, they begin to use language to communicate how they feel and what they want. This turns into storytelling, their natural way to share their thoughts and experiences. During this time, children have a rich visual life in their imaginations.
By the time they begin school, their oral language is well-developed, and the task ahead of them is learning to represent sounds and words with abstract symbols. If children have only learned the names of the letters in the alphabet, they will be unprepared for linking sounds they hear in the spoken word to the letters that appear in words on paper. In this respect, just learning the alphabet song falls far short.
How to Teach the Alphabet
Up to this point, everything about language came about naturally. The transition to abstract symbols signals a move towards a discipline which is foreign to young children because they are not developmentally ready to deal with symbolic, abstract content.
We can ease young children into learning their letters and sounds and help them transition easily into reading by providing them with images that make meaning for those abstract symbols. For some, linking sounds to the letters that represent them is difficult unless a strong connection is created for them. Without this link, learning to read is tedious and difficult.
Child1st Alphabet Products and Resources
What makes this transition smooth for all children is embedding symbols in images and stories that will permanently link sounds to their letters. Alphabet Tales was written to ease this transition. Children love to be read to, and while you enjoy Alphabet Tales together, the stories and their illustrations will do the work of linking letter symbols to letter sounds. The process turns a foreign concept into a kid-friendly one.
✔ Each letter in the alphabet is designed to match its shape - the F is a FLAG, M for Mountain for example - which provides a visual hook for remembering
✔ Rather than having an associated image (such as "A for Apple"), each letter IS the object
✔ The story links each letter with its sound - one of the most fundamental and necessary skills needed for learning to read!
Q: How can you teach a child with dyslexia the alphabet?
A: Children with dyslexia need images and body motions to help ease learning and to connect learning to memory. All these necessary elements are woven into the design of Child1st products. You will be able to just pick up any resource and know that the needs of children with dyslexia will be met.
Q: How can you help a child struggling with the alphabet?
A: The very best way to help a child who is struggling with the alphabet is to stop doing whatever they were doing when struggling and pick up Alphabet Tales. Children enjoy listening to these stories and each story has a hands-on activity that reinforces the link between a symbol and its sound. Hand motions for each letter also make learning the alphabet feel like a fun activity rather than tedious schoolwork.
Q: What letters should children learn first?
A: This is an excellent question! There is no magical reason behind teaching the alphabet in the order letters appear in the alphabet song. Letters in words don’t follow the order of the alphabet either! Alphabet Tales presents the alphabet in a particular order that will allow you to make little words immediately, which is a sneaky but very helpful way to show young children what the letters are for anyway! For example, in Alphabet Tales, you do learn Letter A and Sound of A first, but the very next letter you learn is T! Now you can make a word: AT! Next you learn the letter C which makes another word: CAT! And so on. Showing the why behind learning letters and their sounds is very helpful for young children.
Questions about teaching the alphabet?
That’s what we’re here for! Learning the alphabet can be tricky, and teaching the alphabet comes with challenges of its own. Reach out to our team if you have questions about how to teach the alphabet so children learn the related sounds. Let’s teach letters and sounds together!