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How Do Children Learn the Alphabet?

How Do Children Learn the Alphabet?Alphabet knowledge is all about a child’s ability to name letters and identify letter shapes. Research calls alphabet knowledge a strong predictor of children’s future reading success (along with phonological awareness), and as children progress toward alphabet knowledge, they tend to follow similar patterns.

There is no “recommended” sequence for teaching the letters of the alphabet, but often, children learn their letters in a predictable sequence:

  1. They start with the letters in their own names, particularly the initial letter.
  2. Then, they begin filling in the gaps with other letter names...
    • Through singing songs, reciting alphabet rhymes, holding plastic letters, looking at alphabet books, and playing with letter blocks.
  3. They learn the shape of letters.
    • Those fun activities above are the ones that lead children to attach letter names to letter shapes.
  4. And finally, they learn letter sounds.
    • Learning letter sounds begins to develop as children see an increasing number of words in print.
Alphabet knowledge plays a big role in a child’s eventual success learning to read.

Once children can recognize the shapes of most letters instantly and effortlessly, they are able to shift their attention to sound-letter relationships and how to write letters. They can also hone in on higher-order skills, like comprehension and questioning. 

What does it look like in your classroom?

We hope that your classroom and current curriculum help create an alphabet-friendly environment. For those that use our core Pre-K program, The Letter People are a powerful tool for teaching alphabet knowledge.

During the first two weeks of instruction, children are introduced to all the letters of the alphabet as they meet the Letter People as a group. Beginning in Week 3, each week focuses on a specific Letter Person.

Our program teaches:

  • Letter formations
  • Letter sounds
  • Lots of review from previous weeks

If you are interested in learning more about our core Pre-K program, click here to see what it looks like in the classroom!