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.” [Read more…]

How to Teach Kids to Read Words

Teaching Children to Read Step by Step

Learning to read begins with vowelsSurprisingly, learning to read begins soon after birth,  when an infant hears spoken language. The more language young children hear, the more the language part of the brain develops. Hearing a variety of words and language patterns, through conversation or by listening to and looking at picture books, promotes development in the “reading centers” of the brain.

Reading Readiness. Next, between the ages of two and four, children are introduced to the alphabet. The English alphabet is made up of 26 letters. Five letters are called vowels, a, e, i, o, and u. (Eventually they learn that w and y sometimes act like vowels.) The other 21 letters are referred to as consonants.

As an aside, for those who are interested, vowels are sounds made with unrestricted air flow through the mouth. Consonants, on the other hand, are sounds made with restricted air flow, usually by the closed lips or by the tongue against the teeth or upper palate. Interestingly, in other languages, even more complex sounds are created than English speakers are accustomed to making.    

Preschool children usually enjoy learning the alphabet because it involves fun activities like singing the ABC song, pointing to or touching the letters on cards or in games and toys, writing the letters in activity books or playing electronic alphabet games. By doing these activities they learn to recognize and write the 26 letters in the alphabet, in both upper and lower case. [Read more…]


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