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alphabet - when?

(18 Posts)
doodleduck Thu 09-Jun-11 13:56:13

One of my friends is boasting that her 2 and 2 months year old boy is able to put the letters of the alphabet (Capitals only) in the right order and apparently he can also do up to 17 letters (lower-case). She's now expecting him to start 'writing' words. It's a magnetic alphabet set.
My own 2 year old hasn't even got an alphabet set -- am I depriving her of something useful? I mean we've got tons of books so literacy is not exactly being neglected ... but it got me wondering.
My friend's son's speech is not that advanced for his age and he was a late walker so I'm wondering whether she's been making it up to make him sound like a genius as I've actually not witnessed him at work! I would have thought concentrating on speech might have been more productive at this age.

AMumInScotland Thu 09-Jun-11 14:03:11

Well, she might have managed to teach him that, but what use is it? Putting the letters "in order" is totally meaningless until you need to look them up in a dictionary or phone book, as it's just a convention to have them in that order. It certainly won't help her son learn to speak, read, or write any better or faster.

gingercat12 Thu 09-Jun-11 14:04:05

I have a friend like that. My son is 3 and he cannot do it. We have flashcards and magnetic alphabet, but he shows no interest, and I do not want to put him off it. Sometimes he brings the flashcards to me voluntarily, and then we play with it.

Firawla Thu 09-Jun-11 16:43:44

imo the right time to do it is when they are interested in it? so if your child will like playing with it then its good to have magnet letters for him, but if he is not too bothered i wouldn't force him because then you may put him off?
mine is not very interested still, and he is nearly 3. he would rather play with magnets of trains cars etc. some children are very "into" letters at a young age and get fascinated with it so it may be true what she is saying about her son but they all have different interests and all will learn to read eventually so i wouldn't worry too much about it, or feel like you have to train your child in alphabet to keep up because it does not make him behind or anything if not being 'taught' this at this age

Rosemallow Thu 09-Jun-11 16:49:40

I agree that they will learn it best when they're interested. DD (2 yr 3 mo) knew her numbers up to 20 really early on as she was obsessed with counting etc but now all her peers have caught up so it's made no difference in the long run.

As far as letters are concerned she is just not interested. She likes the ABC song and adores books but that's as far as it goes! I'm sure she'll let me know when she wants to learn them!

It wouldn't hurt to put a poster up and point a couple out every now and then but it's not necessary either.

madwomanintheattic Thu 09-Jun-11 17:07:56

grin i went away on a girly weekend when dd1 was 18mos and dh had taught her the alphabet. <weirdo>

it was like a party trick. he had a great big bag of wooden letters tipped all over the floor, and would call out letters (or sounds) randomly and she would dig through and find the right one. it was... interesting...

without a doubt she was linking the letters and sounds written form, and was able to sort the whole lot and locate the correct one. i thought he was stark staring bonkers tbh, but i suspect most tots could do it given the opportunity. (i was only away for a weekend lol)

she's 11yo now. a very hard worker, so in the top sets/ recognised in the regional gifted programme, but isn't really that intrinsically clever, just has a good work ethic.

the other two (younger, natch) weren't taught the alphabet at 18 mos (for a start dd2 has cp and didn't talk until about 4 lol - at 18mos we were still working on sitting and trying to get her to breathe and swallow in the right order)

they are both much more able than dd1 tbh. ds1 could add coins, count change, and work out four or five different ways to get to any given number (below about 30) using multiplication at 3 - i was quite impressed by that, as it implied some sort of thinking, rather than just recognition.

early alphabet is a neat trick but probably means bugger all.

madwomanintheattic Thu 09-Jun-11 17:10:15

i should add, the first letter that dd1 recognised in the real world after the Great Alphabet Weekend was the giant yellow 'm for mummy' out of the window of the car.

Bless, her first interaction with the golden arches. Soooo proud. hmm

MadamDeathstare Thu 09-Jun-11 17:17:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

fuzzpigFriday Thu 09-Jun-11 17:35:25

It really doesn't matter. They are barely even expected to do it at nursery or even when they enter reception. They start it there, when they do phonics.

It's just luck, what DCs pick up, so please don't worry. My DD knew most of 0-9 and upper case letters long before 18 months, she got astounded looks when pointing them out on road signs, but it was purely because my DSDs had given her an incredibly annoying old toy computer thing and played on it way too much. It's no indication whatsoever of future ability. So I'm not at all worried that DS hasn't shown any interest in that sort of thing yet, he's nearly 2.

DeWe Thu 09-Jun-11 17:35:42

Dd1 discovered typing on the computer at about 22 months. We had an old PC so there weren't any games available that she could do, so when she wanted to play she would ask for words to spell and I'd spell them for her typing. She would say eg "mummy" and I'd say "m for mummy, and point to the letter etc."
After a couple of days of that I realised that I didn't need to point to the letter, and because the letters on the keyboard are upper case, and they appeared lowercase she had no difficulty with either.
She learnt her numbers at about 2yo when we were waiting a very long time for a bus and all the other numbers went past us several times.
However she didn't learn her colours until she was gone 3yo. Letters interested her, colours she wasn't bothered by. She learnt to read easily by flashcards, but was nearly 5yo before she was blending sounds.
Dd2 used to sing her alphabet beautifully from about 18 months. People were so impressed. What they didn't know was that it was pure mimic. She thought "ABCD" was a word you sing and couldn't have put it together with the letters.
What I'm basically saying is that you can teach them "party tricks" like that but it makes no relation on their ability or achievements later.

mrsjuan Thu 09-Jun-11 17:41:38

My dd has just turned 2 and knows most of the letter sounds. As others have said, letters are just 'her thing' and she has enjoyed playing with her foam bath letters from an early age.
She can sing the alphabet too but has no idea that the 2 things are linked.
She runs like a crab though and didn't sleep through the night until she was 20 months so has to be good at something!

Octaviapink Thu 09-Jun-11 19:19:35

I think your friend is just boasting... Knowing the alphabet (ie being able to recite ay-bee-see-dee-ee-eff etc) doesn't mean anything. And if she's expecting her DC to be able to write anytime soon she's whistling up a gumtree - children do NOT have the fine motor skills required to control a pen until they're five or so. Which is exactly why school starts then! Some children are interested in letters, some aren't. DD happens to be - she suddenly understood a month or so ago that the wiggles on the page related to the sounds we were saying when we read books, and now she'll come barrelling up asking you to write B-Ben or D-Daddy. But that just happens to be her, and it's really not important! What's far more important for when they start school is being able to dress themselves.

AngelDog Thu 09-Jun-11 23:11:26

I agree, I don't think it's much use.

I'd just go with helping them develop and interest when they show an interest. My DS started quite young on letters: from 13 months he could identify a few letters by their sounds, more now at 17 months. But I never set out to teach him: I just told him the names/sounds of the letters he was pointing at when he wanted to know what they were.

We're thinking of home educating and it wouldn't have bothered me overly much if he'd not shown that interest until about age 5 or 6.

I think they all just do what they do when they're ready to do it. Not much point trying to hurry it IMO.

kreecherlivesupstairs Fri 10-Jun-11 08:15:28

I can't remember that far back TBH. IMO, your friend is neither helping nor hindering their child. More like boasting. I remember going to a friend's house and her saying her little boy could sing twinkle twinkle. He was around 18 months and he sat on a mat and grunted the tune out.
Everyone present smiled politely.

Tinkerisdead Fri 10-Jun-11 08:22:40

My dd is 2.5 and she can't recognise the alphabet, she does know colours and can count but she can't recognise numbers. Rather than teaching her the alphabet I got jolly phonics finger board books, as others have said there's no use in knowing the alphabet by rote. When my dd started a few months back asking about letters and her name etc we just started telling her phonics sounds. She can recognise I, o, s and bizarrely x. That's it.

She's just learning to sound out her name. For what it's worth toddlers have a great memory and I'm sure I could get my dd to memorise the alphabet, but for what gain?

skybluepearl Fri 10-Jun-11 21:01:50

i think if toddler is really interested then fine but otherwise it's not ok to put pressure on any toddler to learn. my eldest learnt his letter aged 3 and a half, just b4 he started school. We did 5 mins a day and he picked it up very quickly. He is a bookworm though- so the interest in letters and words has been there from the word go. never told any friends about it though - didn't want to boast.

is this your friends precious first born?

skybluepearl Fri 10-Jun-11 21:02:45

we used jolly phonics CD - lots of fun songs and actions.

seeker Fri 10-Jun-11 21:09:44

Performing chimp tricks. If the child enjoys it and it means that the parent is interacting with it, then fine. But the interaction is the key thing - it could be poking in puddles or playing with hot wheels cars.

We discovered very early on that if we asked dd a questioon with nubvers in it se ALWAYS without fail said "9". We has so much fun with this.'What's the square root of 81?" we would ask our 10 month old. "What's 9100029 -9100020?"

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