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captials v lower case - letters for beginners

(41 Posts)
rosebunch Wed 23-Feb-05 15:07:17

Hoping more experienced mums can help me on this one. My ds was given an embroidered wallhanging of decorated capital letters for his first christmas and we got into the habit of pointing out letters and saying "C for car", "L for Lorry" or "V for van" etc (you can tell what ds is primarily interested in!). The result is that ds now recognises about half of the alphabet in capital letters. (hang in here - this is not a smug Mum post!). We are obviously quite pleased with this but haven't really been encouraging or discouraging either way. However, several things I've read recently, including the Mumsnet guide to learning to read, suggest that it is much better, not to say, important that your child concentrates on lower case rather than capital letters, particularly at the beginning. I just want to know from Mums with older children whether this is right and if so, why. Is it better to stick to lower case letters until they are firmly embedded in your child's mind?

JoolsToo Wed 23-Feb-05 15:13:51

is there a hard and fast rule? I don't know, but I went for lower case but I can't tell you why? (probably because you generally only use capitals in certain instances, start of a sentence, proper nouns etc)

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:14:44

I find that most toys have upper not lower case letters, and I've never really thought about it that much. My girls both managed to learn all their letters both ways without me necessarily distinguishing between them. I think you're doing the right thing pointing letters out to him.

The one thing I do think is important is to use letters correctly in words. For example, when you're writing his name, use a capital at the beginning and lower case for the rest.

mummylonglegs Wed 23-Feb-05 15:24:21

I've been wondering about this too. Also when you're pronouncing the letters do you do it as, say 'aye' for a or more phonetically (spelling, sorry mind gone blank)?

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 15:25:18

KATG-think that is a difference between US and UK, over here emphasis is definitely on lower case first, presumably because it's actually pretty unusual to see upper case letters in text.

Rosebud-i wouldn't worry too much, but maybe you could get some bath letters from ELC or something if he is keen to learn?

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:25:42

No, say the name of the letter. At a later stage you can talk about the sound that each letter makes.

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 15:26:19

I wouldn't use the letter names at first, stick to the sounds but be acreful to say "b as in big" rather than "buh".

beachyhead Wed 23-Feb-05 15:27:52

The nursery ds goes to seems to want us to do letter names and sounds. ie... this is the letter 'bee' it sounds like 'buh'. and it is all in lower case......

HunkerMunker Wed 23-Feb-05 15:27:54

When I was working in a reception class several years ago, we used lower case letters and didn't 'name' the letter, we used the sound - so 's' was 'ss' not 'ess', iyswim.

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 15:27:56

KATG-another difference between US and UK. Have noticd that Sesame Street says letter names, it's something of a no-no here. If kids aretaught to read with phonics they see the letter "a" and sound it as "ay" instead of "a", you can't blend letter names to make words (generally).

rosebunch Wed 23-Feb-05 15:30:19

ok - to sum up: some reckon order doesn't matter, others that you should start with lower case. Always say the name of the letter/definitely introduce the letter by the sound it makes. Well, that's clear then. I love parenting

PS I guess the provisional conclusion so far is that everyone gets there in the end with the way that suits them??

HunkerMunker Wed 23-Feb-05 15:31:12

That's about the size of it, yes, rosebunch

LIZS Wed 23-Feb-05 15:31:26

I always thought lower case first, with associated phonetic sounds. MIL taught Reception and always said she found it harder to unteach the exclusive use of capitals than to introduce children to letters for the first time. However many kids , like mine, would probably have a simple grasp of both by the time they enter school anyway.

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:34:13

I stand corrected!

But my 5 year old didn't have any problems transitioning from knowing the names of letters to the sounds they make. Maybe because I would often say things like "DoubleYou makes the sound W".

PiccadillyCircus Wed 23-Feb-05 15:39:27

I think I started with capitals.

And have no idea what I did with letter sounds/names.

And I love reading now .

As DS is only 15 months old, not too worried about it at the moment.

Chandra Wed 23-Feb-05 15:40:16

My mother used to train Montessori teachers and is completely against the use of capitals as they can be confusing for the child however, Leapfrog only uses capitals in their toys so I guess that I will stick to capitals as I don't have the time or the inclination to prepare magnets, etc in lower case for DS to play.

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 15:44:02

Wasn't correcting-just find the difference in approach interesting! Wonder if it's related to kids being "taught" later in the US?

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:45:06

Do you think they are ML?

rosebunch Wed 23-Feb-05 15:46:03

Also, how do you/schools refer to the two types of letters to your children - capitals and ? small letters?? big A and little A?? I think I only learnt the name "lower case" when I learnt to type.

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:48:10

Over here they call them upper case (sometimes capital) and lower case.

Gwenick Wed 23-Feb-05 15:51:46

DS1 (4) nows most of his 'capital' 'uppercase' 'big' (whatever you want to call them letters - mainly because when he was first starting to talk I used to watch countdown regularly - suddenly he started pointing out letters in the street,

I guess at the end of the day it doesn't really matter 'how' they learn, once they get to school children are often 'subjected' to learning about htings in a different manner from what they've learnt at home and it doesn't make any difference, that's the joy of children, they're like sponges

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 15:52:01

Well, in so much as they start school later and from what friends who've lived out there have said the pre-school classes aren't particularly literacy/numeracy driven (this is people living in California and NJ).

Haven't spent enough time in that neck of the woods to be definite, but it's the impression I've formed from chatting to friends who have done a stint as expats and what i have seen myself.

marialuisa Wed 23-Feb-05 15:54:43

There does seem to be much more of a market for those leappad type things though. DD's godparents keep trying to buy her them as all their friends' kids have then from about 12 months-something that technophobe me has never seen the point of!

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:56:52

Yes, I guess you're right about that. In my daughter's last year of pre-school (which she started as she was just turning 4) they learned about a different letter each week. Because I had always pointed out letters (and she used to love Sesame Street!) she was already well aware of her letters and was bored.

If it was left up to the schools then they would be quite a bit older when learning letters I suppose.

KateandtheGirls Wed 23-Feb-05 15:58:07

My 2 year old loves playing with her leapfrog toys. As much as I like to see her playing with puzzles and blocks, she really does learn a lot from those (good quality) electronic toys.

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