This week at Little Lambs, we have been working on our letters. Our Key Developmental Indicator for this week is 25. Alphabetic Knowledge. Developing the ability to recognize, write, and say the letters in the alphabet is an essential piece to your child’s literacy development. Being able to recite the ABC song from memory is much different than being able to recognize and name letters in words. Though learning the Alphabet song is a piece to the puzzle of literacy development, it is by no means the only part.
As we begin our study of the alphabet, we will focus on these key aspects:
· Letter identification: When shown a letter or an array of letters, the child provides the correct name of that letter. Letter identification should start with clear, primary grade “manuscript” font in prekindergarten, but ultimately children should become comfortable with letters in different fonts, as well as with handwritten letters.
· Letter discrimination: Although children cannot talk about it explicitly, their alphabet knowledge develops to the point where it involves an understanding of what features make one letter distinctive, that is, different from the other letters of the alphabet (e.g., what features of b make it different from d).
· Fluency: Ultimately, it is important for the child to be able to recognize or identify the letters of the alphabet fluently, that is, without much hesitation.
· Writing: Handwriting is not an instructional priority for prekindergarten, but encouraging children to form the letters of the alphabet (and not merely to identify them) helps deepen letter knowledge.
· Letter sounds: For purposes of learning to read, letter names are just a beginning; a knowledge of letter sounds is indispensable to developing the alphabetic principle. However, because of cultural practices in the U.S., the names of most letters are typically learned before children begin to understand letter sounds.
These five parts of alphabetic knowledge are what our focus is on as we begin teaching your children the foundation of literacy. Each day we have been doing different activities that immerse the children in letters! This week alphabetic knowledge has been our focus for small group time, but we will continue to do activities that encourage alphabetic knowledge throughout the year! Explicit alphabet instruction is necessary for young children, but making sure to simply read with your children also plays a huge part in their development. Take time each day to read books to your kids! Point out letters that you see around the house and draw your child’s attention to all the print that you see as you go about daily life. As we work with your children here at school in combination with your work at home, each child will be on the right track for learning to read!