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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why We Should Teach Phonology First

Why We Should Teach Phonology First

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25 Replies 989 Views
It is my opinion that we should start teaching students phonology (the sounds of the letters)first. Then when the students have learned the sounds of the letters, introduce the grapheme along with the phoneme. Then of course morphology, semantics, and syntax. All of which are the basic components of language. After all according to the article titled Addressing Literacy Through Neuroscience, "It is important to recognize that children are born with the ability to process the phonemes of all languages". Furthermore, if you think about it, teaching children the "ABC song" in my opinion is not the best way to begin. Am I wrong in saying this? If so why?

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Theresa W.'s picture
Theresa W.
Third grade teacher in Marion, SC

When I am trying to put words in alphabetic order, I say the abc song. I am stumped on this one.

Andrea R.'s picture
Andrea R.

I must say, Darlene, that that train of thought is very interesting. I was taught the "ABC" song first as well but now you've got me thinking that perhaps we could just go straight to 'A is for apple' (using cards) becuse the students will still learn the letters. In addition, why do we do the "ABC" song? Is it to teach the order of letters? Very interesting food for thought.

Sarah's picture

This is definitely an interesting topic! As a kindergarten teacher, I never relied on the ABC song to teach my students the alphabet. Rather, I would teach letters and sounds in the context of my morning message, big books, student names, and other words around the room. This approach was more meaningful to students than the traditional "A is for apple, B is for bear..." strategy. By identifying letters in a variety of ways, the students were able to attribute sounds more effectively. In the end, I guess you could say that the ABC song was very rarely rehearsed in my classroom and the alphabet cards were used simply to teach students the correct alphabetical order.

Darlene Crumrine's picture

If you think about it, most children can sing you the "ABC" song; however, It is my opinion that less than half of them could identify the grapheme if you went out of order. Therefore, I prefer not to teach them that song. In addition, I like your approach to teaching using the morning message...
Darlene Crumrine

Darlene Crumrine's picture

I understand using the alphabet to put words in alphabetic order. I use it for that purpose as well. However, I am talking about when you first introduce the "alphabet" to students. If you use the "ABC song" most students will be able to say the alphabet in order; however, if you simply ask them to identify a letter out of order by the phoneme.. most of those same students will not be able to complete this task.
That is why I say to teach phonology first.
Darlene Crumrine

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