“Teaching the Letters and Sounds- A suggested guideline from Ellen Booth Church”A big question that is often asked is: Should you introduce letters to preschool children in the order in the alphabet?
Interestingly the answer is usually “No”.
This is because often the letters that are next to each other in the alphabet look very similar. For example an E can look like an F to a little one’s eyes. Or an N can look like an M. Sometimes the letter sounds are similar as in N and M or even B and P.
Learning Letters should not be rote, memorization lesson but an integrated approach to both the visual and auditory experience of letters and sounds. If we want children to learn how to read we want them to not only know the names of the alphabet letters but also how USE these letters and sounds to make words. That is key to reading and learning how to love to read.
Letter and sounds can also be introduced in combinations that can easily be used to make words. And they’re not introduced in their order within the alphabet. Instead, they’re introduced in an order that allows the child to make many words with the letters he or she has learned. Here is one example of how this type of order can look:
c m a t
s r i p
b f o g
h j u l
d w e n
k q v x y z
Here’s a different order that often is used:
m s a t
b f o x
w i g l j
c u p z
h e n r d
v k q y
Just by looking at these combinations you can see how children can begin to put the letters together to create words!
Here is one more example:
Preschool: n w p h m a b k d f o c e y g t s r z I q v l u j x
Kindergarten: m t f n h a p z b I s d u v l w o r g e j c k y q x
IMPORTANT: This sequence for teaching letters and sounds doesn’t mean that children don’t learn the Alphabet song or read alphabet books. They love them and they are an important part of growing up! It means that direct instruction on the alphabet has a more dynamic and useable approach.