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The Alphabetic Principle & Learning to Read

Instructor: Sharon Linde
Learning to read can often be a complex process for children, especially bilingual and other language learners. How does the alphabetic principle come into play? This lesson will explain how all children use the principle to develop reading.

What Is the Alphabetic Principle?

Do you think you'd be able to walk into the cockpit of an airplane and fly it solo? Unless you've had lessons or experience, that task would be nearly impossible. The same analogy can be used with children when learning to read and write. Without the experience and understanding of letters, speech sounds, and the relationship between these two ideas, children will struggle with literacy concepts.

The alphabetic principle is the knowledge of letter/sound relationships. When a child understands both that speech is made of individual sounds, also called phonemes, and that these sounds are represented by letters arranged to form words, the ability to read and write will naturally follow. Children who don't understand even one of these key concepts may struggle with learning to read.

Mandy is a learning consultant who works with students identified with early reading issues. She knows that most English-speaking students will need to be taught that there are predictable patterns and relationships between letters and phonemes. What does Mandy do to help students? Let's take a peek.

Teaching the Alphabetic Principle (General Approach)

When typical English-speaking students come to Mandy for help, she first screens to determine if they understand the alphabetic principle. If not, Mandy sets her sights on helping students to learn the relationship between sounds and letters, eventually promoting a solid understanding of reading and writing. She focuses her instruction on teaching a few guiding concepts:

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