Learning the Alphabet Case Study

Case Study: How Henry Learned the Alphabet

learning the alphabet case studyHenry, who had just turned five, came into my office with his mom. Mom was concerned that Henry didn’t know all the letters in the alphabet. She said that Henry had been in preschool since two years old and therefore had enough exposure to the alphabet that he should have learned the letters by now.

When I assessed Henry, he was in the above average range of intelligence, but only knew five letters…H E N R Y. As I watched Henry it was obvious that he became totally engaged when he was playing and having fun. So, I took out the Tiger Tuesday Alphabet Lotto game and invited him to play the game with me. He wanted his mom to join us and she did. Each one of us had four Lotto boards, each with different letters of the alphabet. Henry chose which boards each would get.

He then wanted to be the caller. Of course I was delighted. It meant more practice in learning the letters. As he picked up each alphabet card with an upper case letter of the alphabet, he quickly looked at his boards to see if he had that letter. When his mom got one of the letters he’d jump up and down and tell her that she was doing great. But, the final result was that Henry won.

I told him that he could keep the game. When it was back in the package he stood hugging it. As they were leaving, his mom told him that she was taking him to Toys R Us because he had done such a good job. He then said, still hugging the game against his chest,  “Can I take my alphabet game with me into the store? I love this game.”

Keys to Learning the Alphabet

Why did Henry learn the alphabet so quickly? First he was engaged because he was having fun and wanted to win. Secondly, his mommy was involved. And finally, there was no stress. Does Henry have the tell tale signs of a child who will have difficulty learning how to read?

In general, most five year olds know the alphabet. The reason Henry only knew the letters in his name could be that they caught his attention. The reason he learned the letters so quickly when playing the game was because he was engaged. He was having fun and wanted to win. His mom and his teachers need to monitor Henry’s progress to see if his delay in learning the alphabet may be coming from dyslexia or an attentional issue, or both.

Does this sound like your child? You can begin with our Learning the Alphabet module. And if you have additional questions, I would invite you to leave a comment below!

When you’re ready, you might like another article I wrote, How to Teach Kids to Read Words

And for more information on how to promote reading in your home, please click here.

Dr. Linda Silbert

Dr. Linda Silbert, Ph.D. is a world-renowned educator, counselor and award-winning author of “Why Bad Grades Happen to Good Kids.” (Amazon) She has devoted her life to helping children get the most out of school. Her goal for every child is school success, high self-esteem and family harmony. She offers School Success Tips and Strategies, Parent TeleWebcasts, Seminars and Workshops, Educational Products, Individual Tutoring and Parent/Child Consultations.

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