Many parents are surprised when the first thing I say is, “teach letter sounds not letter names”
Should you Teach Letter Name or Sound First?
As a teacher, I am often asked by parents about the best way to support children’s literacy development. Many parents are surprised when the first thing I say is, “teach letter sounds not letter names”. Teaching letter names or the alphabet is a very common practice for parents, so many apps use the alphabet song or similar to support learning, however many studies have shown that this leads to little benefit for the child when it comes to learning to read. The foundations of learning to read incorporate the ability to recognise and decode the letter with its corresponding sound and then blending these sounds together in order to produce a word. For example when teaching your child to read the word dog you would break the word down into the 3 sounds or phonemes c /a / t. If your child only knows the letter names they would only be able to produce “cee” “ay” “tee” which sounds nothing like the word “CAT”. Once a child has learnt the letter names it becomes very hard to retrain or reteach students to learn the letter sounds, this is particularly important for students with ASD as they can develop set routines and processes which are difficult to adjust.
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