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Della Palacios

Educational Consultant, Trainer and Teacher, SensAble Learning, LLC

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Should we begin teaching children letter sounds first with lowercase letters instead of letter names with uppercase letters?

What do you see more of when you open a book, capital letters or lowercase letters?

What is more important for reading, letter sounds or letter names?

Shouldn't we teach children the more germane information pertaining to the letter first, its sound, as Montessori schools do? Aa is for apple and it says /a/ is too much information for a child to take in, process and then apply to a complex language code. Why don't we start with lowercase letters and sounds, saving letter names for once a child can read a three-letter consonant-vowel-consonant word?

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  • May 7 2013: There simply is no "one way" to teach the fluency of reading and writing. What works for one child, doesn't for another. Some children learn to read without any "instruction" or plan and others need to be taken through step by step no matter which method you use: lower, upper, chicken or egg.

    The goal of learning to read is not to "learn to do it faster" but to learn to do it by the time you are seven or so and enjoy it enough that you will stick with it throughout a lifetime.
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      May 7 2013: I agree with everything you said and probably would have said the same thing myself before learning what I learned in the past year and a half. i am truly trying to figure out if I am missing something.

      I really want to know why letter names are so prevalent in society. Everything I thought I knew about kids having reading comprehension is now showing itself as a problem with letter sounds. If you happen to teach, grab a struggling reader, check their basic letter sounds and listen to them read-carefully. Keep a running record and see what you notice. I bet you will notice something.
    • May 9 2013: Heidi, I agree ...."The goal of learning to read is not to learn to do it faster"...I would add, by the time the child is ready to read......whatever the age. Each child is SO different and when the fundamental tools of print are known - sound-letter associations - reading can happen more incidentally in child time. Fluency is another subject and suggests another conversation, as does comprehension.

      I also believe a more child oriented approach will ensure our mutual hope that a child ..."will stick with it throughout a lifetime."

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