Preparing for the Alphabet

We recently received the following query regarding our Preparing for the Alphabet Pack by an existing PLD customer. The following may be useful to other teachers and parents introducing their students to the alphabet.

Dear PLD, We recently purchased your Preparing for the Alphabet Pack (along with many others) and have tried to set up sound packs based on each letter of the alphabet. I have noticed that there are no vowels in the publication. Is this intentional? If this is intentional why so? And do you have something similar based on the vowel sounds? Jessica N

Dear Jessica, Many thanks for your question. Preparing for the Alphabet targets initial sound awareness – a child’s ability to “hear, say and think about” sounds at the beginning of words. The program develops a ‘readiness to learn the alphabet’ and targets two steps:

  1. The continuant sounds – ssssssss, mmmmmmm, nnnnnnnn,rrrrrrrr, zzzzzzzz etc. These sounds are largely “long and often ‘noisy’ sounds. These are identified by the blue borders on the cards.
  2. The stop sounds – b, p, t, k, r, j etc. These sounds in contrast are typically short and soft. These are identified by the red borders on the cards.

You will notice that not every alphabet sound is represented in the pack. The reason being that once you have targeted or presented sufficient initial continuant sound activities, which of course  differs for each child, children can typically hear all initial continuant sounds.

The same process is true for initial stop sounds. More exist than have been represented in the program. Once sufficient activities have been presented children can generally ‘hear, say and think about’ all initial stop sounds. In regards to your question on vowels, most typically vowels occur in medial positions.

Of course some words with commence with a short vowel, but typically you will find these in for example CVC or Consonant, Vowel, Consonant words). Hence when you present the next two packs in the range: Preparing for Reading and Preparing for Spelling, vowels are emphasized as students are required to focus not just on an initial sound, but an initial, medial (hence the vowel) and a final sound. The product support video that is on this resource page Preparing for the Alphabet may also assist greatly in understanding this set.