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Good way to introduce alphabet? And is British English important?

(19 Posts)
bebemoohatessnot Thu 17-Jun-10 08:39:11

I'm looking for some easy and fun ways to start introducing the alphabet and sounds to my 14m dd. She's very interesting in reading and I 'track' the words for her when we read her favorite books. We (meaning me) also sing the alphabet song every once in a while. But I'm wondering if there's a game or(not annoying)toy out there where she could do a little learning on her own terms too.
Also, how important is teaching her the 'British' sounds/words/spellings for things in addition to the American? (My dh says if she goes into school talking about 'pants' instead of 'trousers' she's going to get laughed at and that teachers will tell her off for misspelling words...) -This latter makes me very nervous because I struggle with spelling in the first place and trying to teach her different spellings seems a mountainous task to me-

Adair Thu 17-Jun-10 08:44:07

Are you in UK?

We didn't really do any letter things til dd was 2.5 or so I think. Don't think we even had any toys with letters. She learnt alphabet song at 3 perhaps? She could copy her name at 2.5 (playgroup taught her) but not individual letters/sounds til 3ish.
She is now 4 and doing lots of sounding out/writing and we are teaching sounds/letters as they come up.

So in answer to your question, I don't think it's that important, especially at 14mths. Just talk about it naturally. And I think learning sounds (phonics) are more relevant than letters because it helps with reading more...

sockonmyhead Thu 17-Jun-10 08:50:13

She's 14 months? I wouldn't even think about the alphabet to be honest. Toys for children of that age usually teach letter names, rather than the phonic sound, which she will use at school in a few years time. If you teach her all the sounds she will be very confused when is comes to learning to read and has to unlearn all that she has been told.

I wouldn't worry so much about using some American english as there is always a differance between families on word selection for things; lunch, dinner, tea for example. Pants might be the exception on this as kids do find underwear funny!

I also don't think you need to think about the spelling, or at least not for a long time. Ameican english spellings are usually an accepted alternative these days and she won't be doing any complicated spelling until year two at the earliest.

Seriously though, 14 months? Calm down grin

bebemoohatessnot Thu 17-Jun-10 08:54:01

We are in the UK yes.

"And I think learning sounds (phonics) are more relevant than letters because it helps with reading more..." I quite agree. I was wondering if there's a way to introduce these sounds individually to her. (I'm not expecting her to 'learn' them yet -I just wondered if there was a way to make them available to her.) It's easy to do numbers, pointing them out individually and counting things out...but letters are harder to incorporate I find in the 'everyday.'

I guess I'm nervous because everyone comments on my accent and the words I use even though I've been here 5 years. And I want to help dd 'fit in.' I'm the primary 'talker' in our family as dh is away M-F so she gets mostly me and my accent/vocabulary...

titchy Thu 17-Jun-10 08:58:30

All the children I know who have parents with different accents speak with the same accent as their peers - in posh Surrey that tends to be RP! But don't worry = my dcs school has lots of parents with American, Aussie, SA accents, and a few with northern parents - all the kids speak the same!

bluecardi Thu 17-Jun-10 08:58:32

Letters she can feel are great - get some sandpaper & cut out letter shapes. Put them on cardbord with pics of things that begin with the letter.

sockonmyhead Thu 17-Jun-10 09:06:11

with DD, who is 3, we point out letters on street signs and car number plates, or food packets in the shops. The problem with that is that it is often capital letters, which they don't use at first at school.

i really don't think you should worry about it for now, but you could get an alphabet puzzle, a big poster with all the letters or similar. do you think your worries about your accent are making you over think this? does she need or want the alphabet to be available to her yet, or should you just let it come later and enjoy other things for now?

DS1 could count really well by 18 months but didn't learn his letters until he started school and is doing brilliantly with his reading.

BornToFolk Thu 17-Jun-10 09:27:59

I know you said no annoying toys but I just wanted to recommend the Fridge Phonics toy. I'm not a fan of electronic toys in general but I wanted something that first of all would help DS (and me!) learn the letter sounds rather than names and secondly would keep him busy in the kitchen while I cook...

It sings a song for each letter "A says ah" etc which I really like as it teaches letter sounds as well as names. It also plays the alphabet song. It's all in British English so z is zed.

bebemoohatessnot Thu 17-Jun-10 10:04:26

Sock: I think you're right on both accounts... I worry that my Americanisms will hinder her, but I also think that her interest in books (she reads to herself -picking up books and babbling and occasionally pointing to objects she knows and says the words or animal sounds) shows a desire on her part.

I'm not a pushy parent mind, I offer her things and then let her do with them as she would. I believe in giving her access to things she seems to have interest in and being there to help her out and lead her when she wants it. BUT I do not school her or try to make her sit and do things she doesn't want. Even the language she's picked up has been because of her actions and interests (if she points I tell her what it is) not because I've sat her down and gone through lists.

I'm just looking to give her access to the letters in a way I've not already.

I like the sandpaper idea and maybe I could do felt letters too. I was thinking too I could try to find some chunkier magnet letters; she recently started enjoying playing with magnets.

bebemoohatessnot Thu 17-Jun-10 10:06:42

Born: that sounds wink the thing ! thanks

vesela Thu 17-Jun-10 11:07:35

Magnetic letters - the ELC sell some Jolly Phonics ones which are good because the consonants are all red and the vowels are all blue. Plus they also have sh, ch, oa etc. stuck together. DD had them for her 2nd birthday (after she'd stopped putting things in her mouth) and has played with them lots ever since. We have them on a blackboard, which is easier than on a fridge in terms of space, especially when other children come round.

friley Fri 19-Aug-11 13:50:11

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Momo36 Fri 19-Aug-11 14:01:50

I'm Polish and my partner is half Danish and half Spanish with an American accent! grin I do not worry about my DD's accent one bit! She's 10 months and I'm sure she will figure it out when needed. Seriously, give yourself a break. smile

LakeFlyPie Fri 19-Aug-11 14:07:33

Just a warning about the Jolly Phonics fridge magnet toy:
DS1 received it as a 3rd bday gift and I often wake with the song in my head before my eyes are even open "every letter makes a sound....." grin (through gritted teeth)

olibeansmummy Fri 19-Aug-11 15:40:30

Lakeflypie: the toy you are talking about is leapfrog fridge phonics not jolly phonics. Ds (2.2) has this aswell and has mainly learned has learnt most of his sounds now as he got a bit obsessed with it for a while. His favourite thing is to find the letter that important people to him start with eg mmm for mummy etc.

LakeFlyPie Fri 19-Aug-11 18:17:17

Yep that's the one olibean

"every letter makes a sound lalalalala"

olibeansmummy Sat 20-Aug-11 07:27:13

Lol I keep setting it off when I open the freezer grrr! It's bad enough when he's actually playing with it smile

DumSpiroSpero Sat 20-Aug-11 09:58:13

I think if your DD is already interested in books and you read with her lots you're probably already doing enough at 14 months, but if you wanted to try some other ideas:

These are something we use at the nursery I work at and have bought similar for friends dc's - you can get the same kind of thing muchcheaper if you shop around!

I didn't teach my DD the alphabet in order to being with - just letter recognition based on things & people that were important to her i.e. m for mummy, d for daddy etc.

You can teach them the names & sounds by using the animal analogy i.e. this is a cat and it makes a meow sound, so this letter's name is A (ay) and it makes the 'ah' sound.

I started the above when she was about 2. She is nearly 7 now and has a reading/writing age of 9-10 so I guess something must've stuck smile.

dolfrog Sat 20-Aug-11 14:54:08


Our society has chosen to use the Latin Alphabet writing system of graphic symbols to represent the sounds of speech. There are various languages that use the the Latin Alphabet, of which English is the most complex or deepest orthography. The are multiple variations of English both in the UK and the USA, in even more globally, and all of these variations have different ways of saying the same thing. So you will have to decide on the best form of vocabulary, and use of the graphic symbols will best suite your DD and the society you choose to live in.

How your DD is best able to develop speech acquisition will be more important at her current age, as this will help identify the cognitive skills she is able to access when learning to speak, and also highlight any developmental cognitive weaknesses of possible cognitive deficits, which will best help identify how it is best for her to learn to use the visual notation of speech, or the written word.

Not all children are able to use phonics, as they may not be able to process the gaps between the sounds which can make up a word, or even process the gaps between words in rapid speech. There are also some who are not best able to access their auditory sequential abilities and have an alternative dominant (or naturally preferred) learning style.

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