Alphabet Sounds – why this is important for literacy

We all know that students require alphabetic knowledge in order to embark on the process of learning to read and spell. However, while most parents focus on letter naming ability it is letter sound knowledge that is more important to assist with literacy learning.

For example:

  • In order to spell the basic word ‘dog’ a student must first “sound-out” “d”, “oh”, “g” and then the student must recall and apply in correct order the alphabet symbols.
  • In order to read the word ‘dog’ a student must recognize each letter symbol and convert each symbol into the correct sound “d”, “oh”, “g” and then the student must blend the sounds together (phonemic blending ability).

This shows that neither of the above early spelling and reading processes required alphabetic letter naming.

Many years of experience working with students has revealed a pattern.spelling and phonetics

It is alphabetic letter sound ability that is the more difficult of the two areas for students to acquire and it is alphabetic letter sound ability that is the weaker skill for many students when embark on learning to read.

At PLD Literacy, we focus on a multi sensory approach

Within this program, a multi-sensory approach to teaching the alphabetic letter sounds has been adopted:

  • Students feel what their mouth is doing when they produce the letter sounds.
  • Students see what their mouths look like when their mouths produce the letter sound (through an image of the mouth on each page).
  • Students also visually connect a core picture/word with the letter sound (e.g. ‘mix’, ‘teeth’ and ‘snake’).
  • From an auditory perspective students identify the initial sound in simple target words (e.g. teeth starts with a “t”).
  • Students move and rehearse a basic action associated with each target picture (which also engages a kinaesthetic dimension.)

Therefore although knowing the visual alphabet is important to ‘name the letters’ when spelling, it doesn’t allow students to better learn to read and write.

Instead this multi-sensory focus will ensure children transfer their understanding of the alphabet to their learning. Watch our YouTube video for more from Diana!