Learning to Read: Stage 1 Letters and Sounds

One major enjoyment that I receive from teaching kindergarten is having the opportunity to see children learn to read. It is a very rewarding experience to know that you have been a part of a concept that will open thousands of doors for these children.

From my research and experience as a kindergarten teacher I have discovered that learning to read must come in the form of stages. Teachers cannot expect that the students will be on the same stage or in the same phase of reading at the same time. Therefore teaching children to read takes much individualized teaching and planning. It also takes review, assessment of skills, and constant monitoring of what stage the child came from and where he or she is headed.

The most basic stage of reading is letter and sound recognition. Many children come to kindergarten with a good start on this stage. However, some do not.

In this stage children must be able to identify the name of the letters of the alphabet and the sounds that they make.

While knowing the names of the letters is not near as crucial to reading as knowing the sounds, it is a skill that most parents and teachers require of the children. It is expected that children can name the letters of the alphabet.

Many once believed, and some parents still do believe, that the letters are taught from beginning to end starting with A and ending with Z. However this concept is not true. Most programs strategically place the order of letters in a way that children can better grasp. Some letters are simply easier for children to learn than other letters.

I feel that it is important for children to learn the letters in their name first. This is a concept that children should be working on in preschool or at home before they enter kindergarten. To a child, knowing their name is important. Therefore they place great importance on the letters in their name. The letters in a child’s name hold greater importance to them than any other letters because the child feels that he or she has ownership in them. Therefore why not begin with these letters?

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