In early childhood education, teaching the alphabet is a fundamental skill that lays the foundation for reading and writing. However, the order in which the letters are taught can greatly impact a child's learning progress.
In this blog, we will explore the importance of teaching the alphabet in a particular order, provide practical tips on how to effectively teach letter sounds, and suggest activities and resources that you can do now to support your child's learning journey.
And keep reading for our free download!
The alphabet letters are the code (of the print). Knowing the sounds they represent gives the key to the code.
It would seem logical to start with the letter A and steadily work your way through the alphabet to the letter Z. And, some people do successfully teach the letter names/sounds in alphabetic order.
However, there are some convincing reasons why you might consider another approach. Here are some of them:
With the reasons above in mind, Carnine et al (2006) suggested teaching the alphabet in the following order:
Note, this includes lower and upper case letters. We have created a FREE printable download of the Carnine order (lower case letters only). It is the same one we refer to in our specialist tutoring centre. Find the download link below.
Most children who attend our tutoring centre, are experiencing significant difficulties learning to read. Generally, they have been at school for at least a year (or more). As a result, most will already have some alphabetic knowledge.
Because of this, the first thing we do is use the Ants in the Apple cards (print side only) to quickly assess which of the alphabet letter sounds they already know (to automaticity) and which they are yet to master. We put them into two piles (known and unknown).
The known cards are added on to the sound ring. For more details on the process, please click below for our blog - "How Flashcards Can Improve Your Child's Phonics Skills"
We then proceed to teach the remaining alphabet letter sounds, usually we follow the Carnine order.
Generally, we add one letter/sound per session.
There are times we might vary this. For example, we might add in letters that are in a child’s name or have relevance to them (as this assists the learning process and engagement). We find this method to be extremely helpful and effective.
Finishing up, there are many different ways to approach teaching the alphabet letter/sounds, but by starting with the most common and easily recognisable letters, children can quickly build a foundation for future literacy skills.
To help support your teaching efforts, be sure to download our FREE resource and browse our extensive collection of language and literacy resources, which can provide additional tools and materials for helping young learners master the alphabet.
We would love to hear your experiences teaching children the alphabet letters/sounds?
Do you use the Alphabetical order, the Carnine order or another approach?
Have you found any other methods or tips helpful?
Remember to save this post for future reference, and share with your teacher and parent friends. We have big plans for our blog posts. By sharing you truly help us grow.
So, thank you.
Kirstie and the Starfish team.
Kirstie Wishart M.Ed (Special Education).
Owner and founder of The Starfish Store. Kirstie’s professional life has included: teaching (in both public and private schools in Australia, New Zealand and Thailand), lecturer and subject coordinator at the University of Wollongong, Educational consultant (working with children and young people with a trauma background), OoHC Case Work Manager, and Specialist Tutor (working with children and young people with significant learning difficulties and/or disabilities).
Adams, Marilyn (1994) Beginning to Read: Thinking and Learning about Print
Carnine, Silbert, Kame’enui, Tarver, Jungjohann (2006) Teaching Struggling and At-Risk Readers: A Direct Instruction Approach
Commonwealth of Australia (2005) National Enquiry into Literacy
Konza (2006) Teaching Children with Reading Difficulties
NSW Government Education (2017) Effective Reading Instruction in the Early Years of School
Snow, Burns and Griffin (1998) Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children
Texas Education Agency (2002) https://www.readingrockets.org/teaching/reading101-course/toolbox/alphabetic-principle
40 Proprioceptive activities for the classroom. Simple and practical activities to incorporate Proprioceptive into the classroom. 16 A4 sheets to print for your classroom, therapy space or home.
When it comes to early start NDIS plans, you may find that not all children are allocated funding under the CORE category. The shift in funding allocation has left many families in a predicament, as they struggle to secure the necessary resources to support their children.
However, there is hope. You might be able to request an allocation...
Developing good handwriting is a valuable and practical skill. When you can write effortlessly, your work becomes legible and efficient, enabling you to focus on the content rather than the physical act of writing.
However, for left-handed students, achieving mastery in handwriting can be more challenging.
In this blog post, we'll showcase the top tips for...
Confusing the letters b and d is a common issue for many learners. Whether it is mixing up b’s and d’s in reading or writing, or both, as parents and educators, it is important to address this early.
In this blog, Kirstie explains 'why' it is important and lists the strategies that she uses to help learners master their b’s and d’s in the Starfish tutoring...
In early childhood education, teaching the alphabet is a fundamental skill that lays the foundation for reading and writing.
However, the order in which the letters are taught can greatly impact a child's learning progress.
In this blog, we will explore the importance of teaching the alphabet in a particular order, provide practical tips on how...
Flashcards are a versatile and effective tool for teaching phonics. They are a simple and engaging way to introduce and reinforce letter sounds and word recognition skills.
In this blog, we will explore the benefits of using flashcards for phonics learning and provide practical tips for making the most of this valuable teaching tool.
As parents and teachers, we understand the importance of fostering early development in our little ones. Games are not only a fun activity, but they provide numerous developmental benefits.
From improving social skills to enhancing cognitive abilities, games offer a well-rounded learning experience for children.
Join Kirstie (M.Ed Special Education) as she talks you through some her top...
Learning to tell the time is an important life skill and it is a good way to promote self esteem & confidence. Many children struggle learning to tell the time, especially on an analogue clock. That doesn’t have to be the case, though.
You can make the process fun and easy by sticking to these three easy steps!
There are very few things (if any) more important for a child’s development than sleep. Sleep is essential for growth, brain health and overall wellbeing.
Poor sleep, or lack of sleep entirely, can be one of the biggest contributors leading to a child under achieving or struggling to reach their educational goals and developmental milestones.
So what can we do?
Ever heard of the term 'Sensory Safe Space'? If you haven't, we're here to shed some light on
what we believe can be a life line for those with sensory disorders.
Find out what we mean by 'sensory safe' and how we can prepare to host someone with sensory challenges.
Whether we like it or not, screens are here to stay. Technology is vital for staying connected, but what we can do is learn to manage screen time responsibly.
Games are an ideal solution. There are so many great, screen-free games to keep children entertained that are just as easy to pop in the bag or car, here's some of our...