In this video segment from Between the Lions, Leon Redbone sings a fun alphabet song. In alphabetical order, each letter takes the stage along with a Between the Lions character or image that begins with that letter. Showing the letters and things they stand for helps build alphabet knowledge.
Preschool letter recognition and alphabet knowledge are among the best predictors of children's success in learning to read. That's because becoming a reader relies on our ability to recognize letters and the sounds they represent. To assess alphabet knowledge, children are often asked to identify a set of letters or write the names of the letters they know. Common benchmarks suggest that at the end of preschool, children are on target if they can identify at least 10 letters of the alphabet, beginning with the letters in their names. By the end of kindergarten, children should be able to recognize and identify all 26 uppercase and lowercase letters.
Letter recognition is just one facet of alphabet knowledge. Learning the alphabet actually consists of several different tasks. First, a child has to learn the names of all 26 letters. Next, he has to learn which name goes with which letter shape. This can be tricky—he will need to recognize the letter in different print styles and fonts, and, eventually, in cursive as well as print. While uppercase letters are easier for very young eyes to navigate, most early childhood educators agree that lowercase letters should also be taught even in preschool, because that is the way letters look most often in books.
Once children have figured out letter names and shapes, they need to learn what sound each letter represents. This is what can make learning English a challenge, because many letters stand for a number of different sounds, and many sounds can be represented by more than one letter or a combination of letters. Children spend the first few years of school mastering this information.
One of the first things children can do to learn letter names is to sing the alphabet song, and sing it often. They can also start learning to match printed letters with their names. From there, they can move toward learning some of the sounds connected with letters, particularly the consonants, which are more consistent than vowels.
Alphabet books and songs offer great opportunities for reviewing the alphabet and savoring its sounds. It is also important for adults to refer to the names of letters—and the sounds they represent—in other meaningful contexts: in children’s names, on signs around us, and in the books we read and notes we write. When children see the way we use letters to communicate in writing, they become motivated to learn them and how to use them for their own purposes.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.