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Introducing letter names

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:47 am
by Maltesers
At what stage do you think letter names should be introduced? Letters and Sounds seems to suggest phase 3. I remember a few years ago our Foundation stage drilled letter names and sounds and it seemed to confuse children terribly when they came to us in year 1. I remember sitting with children who were trying to blend and they often put in a letter name instead of the sound. I personally introduce them with the alphabet song at phase 3 when children are blending cvc words easily. I also teach the vowel rap so the children know the vowel names at this stage. I would mention the letter names at phase 2 but wouldn't expect the children to learn them or know them as such. I usually do this by asking what sounds certain animals make...so a dog says woof etc. This leads in nicely to 'the name of this letter A and it makes the sound /a/'. Just wondered what others thought about this...

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:14 pm
by maizie
Ha! I wouldn't teach them at all, but I know I am in a minority of one here... ;-) As far as I can see they are only useful for saying acronyms, such as BBC. 'Alphabetical order' for indeices, dictionary work etc. can be done just as well with 'letter sounds' as with letter names, but there you go, we're deeply attached to letter names...

I think that they shouldn't be taught until the children are absolutely secure with LSCs and aren't going to get muddled in the way you described.

I certainly wouldn't actively discourage spelling with 'sounds' rather than letter names (as I know that some primary teachers do) and I patiently explain to our secondary staff, who find this 'babyish', that it is the most effective way for poor spellers to get anywhere near the word they are trying to spell!
Maltesers wrote:his leads in nicely to 'the name of this letter A and it makes the sound /a/'. Just wondered what others thought about this...
That sounds fine to me, though there are those among us who would argue that letters don't make any sound at all :roll:

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 2:59 pm
by Susan Godsland
I wouldn't teach them at all, but I know I am in a minority of one here.
Make that two :smile:
'the name of this letter A and it makes the sound /a/'
and the sounds /a-e/, /o/, /ar/, /or/ and /e/.....

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 4:38 pm
by kenm
They have a certain cultural significance ('Ay for 'horses, Beef or mutton, Seaforth Highlanders, etc.) albeit not particularly high culture.

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 7:44 pm
by maizie
kenm wrote:They have a certain cultural significance ('Ay for 'horses, Beef or mutton, Seaforth Highlanders, etc.) albeit not particularly high culture.
I LOVE that alphabet, Ken. Sadly, many of today's children would have a problem seeing the significance of it...

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Fri Nov 26, 2010 11:16 pm
by palisadesk
Direct Instruction reading programs introduce letter names quite late in the instructional sequence, around the end of level 2 which would be towards the middle of Y 1 for UK folks. The are introduced when alphabetical order as an introduction to dictionary skills and alphabetizing is taught. By this time the students have had explicit all-through-the word instruction in sounding out and blending for upwards of 300 instructional days, so their correspondences should be quite automatic.

It's pretty well impossible to prevent children learning the letter names but we can minimize confusion by not using them duiring the first stages of READING instruction.

There is research support (I would have to look up exact cites) for using letter names and oral spelling with older children as an aid to word-specific learning, such as discriminating right/rite/write, reed/read and so on. This is of course subsequent to the decoding instruction.

Susan S.

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:58 pm
by Maltesers
maizie wrote:Ha! I wouldn't teach them at all, but I know I am in a minority of one here... ;-)
Phew I totally agree. If given a choice then I wouldn't either. Just thinking about my little chap. OMG he has struggled so much with sounds that to double what he has to learn would be so confusing. I have started my little group with the vowel names because I do think they need to know them and I will do an alphabet song and basically carry on in my own way ;-). Thanks for the responses :grin:

Re: Introducing letter names

Posted: Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:05 pm
by Maltesers
'the name of this letter A and it makes the sound /a/'
and the sounds /a-e/, /o/, /ar/, /or/ and /e/.....
hmmm yes generally speaking Susan! :grin: