"Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby." Ruth E. Renkel
Even before literacy became the "hot topic" among politicians, NAEYC published an insightful and practical book on literacy by Judith Schickedanz, Much More Than the ABC's: The Early Stages of Reading and Writing, (to order, go to www.naeyc.org). In the book Schickedanz discussed alphabet learning...
"Learning the alphabet is an essential part of early learning about literacy...Distinguishing between letters and learning their names is not all there is to 'learning the alphabet.' Knowing how alphabet letters function in writing and knowing specific letter-sound associations are crucial. Otherwise, children cannot use the letter-name knowledge they have.
"Teachers can provide
a range of activities to help children learn about the alphabet. Some of this
learning can take place in the context of broad experiences. Other opportunities
for learning can be provided through specific alphabet materials such as puzzles
and matching games. If specific alphabet materials are just one part of a total
literacy program, children will enjoy using these materials because they will
know to which experiences in the world they relate. It is only when alphabet
teaching takes place in a narrow, linear, 'skills-first' program that children
find learning about the alphabet tedious and meaningless. This can happen, for
example, if the language arts or reading program consists of studying one letter
each week for an entire preschool or kindergarten school year, or of writing
one letter repeatedly each day, on a workbook page. However, there is no need
to approach alphabet learning in these ways; many better options exist."
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