Tuesday, October 6, 2015

In What Order Should We Teach Letters?

A, B, C, D, E, F, G…..most of our young learners have heard and may know how to sing the alphabet song. Some can identify the letter that begins their name. But when we are doing a more formal teaching of letters and their sounds, in what order should they be taught?

It is our belief that we should not start with A and move sequentially through the alphabet to Z. Why? This means we start with the often confusing letter A. Think of the different sounds this letter has – short a as in apple, long a as in ape, the schwa sound as in about (makes the sound uh), or even the r-controlled sound as in car.

As you can see the many sounds of letters like a can be confusing to children who are just learning. Examples of other letters that make multiple sounds include all the other vowels (e, i ,o, u),  and consonants such as c and g.  Keep in mind that letters like a and g can appear differently depending on the font:

a, a, g, g

This can be confusing for young learners, too. Additionally, we avoid b and d because of the confusion that often occurs.

We suggest beginning with letters that have consistent sounds and usually appear the same way in print material.  Letters such as the following are good places to start:


Stay tuned for more ideas on teaching letters and sounds!

Standards Alignment:
NAEYC – 2.E.07
Head Start – VII.C.

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