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When did your child know the alphabet?

(55 Posts)
TeaDr1nker Mon 24-Sep-12 19:42:41

I am curious to know really.

I was speaking to a friend of mine today who said that her DD (who will be 5 next week, so just started reception) does not know all her alphabet. She is concerned that her child will not make a good start with reading because of this.

At the moment, we are getting picture books back from school, with a sheet to talk to DC through the story.

I was a little surprised, as she felt that nursary had let her down by not teaching her DD the alphabet, but i thought her DD will catch up, and after all the school starts all children off on the same level.

Should she be concerned?

mrz Mon 24-Sep-12 19:44:18

Knowing the alphabet isn't a particularly useful skill unless you need to use the A-Z frequently.

Oneflipflop Mon 24-Sep-12 19:47:59

Some learn at nursery and some don't. School will teach her, but parental back-up will really help.

mrz Mon 24-Sep-12 19:49:01

It's best left until later

Rosebud05 Mon 24-Sep-12 19:49:30

Both of mine knew the name of letters and sounds before school, although there were some parents in dd's class who commented around Christmas that their child had hardly known any letters when they started school and now knew them all and were now beginning to read.

There's no need for a child to know all of their alphabet until they need it, I would say.

crazygracieuk Mon 24-Sep-12 19:51:10

The alphabet song doesn't take long to learn if a child's up for it.
In Reception my kids learned all the phonic sounds then learned the names of the letters later in the year.
The alphabet is only relevant when they start spelling or learning about alphabetical order.

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 24-Sep-12 19:51:27

Ds was 1 (and 2 weeks). I'll add the fact that I didn't teach him, he was given a talking bus for his birthday and he learned off that. It took him 2 weeks.

PeggyCarter Mon 24-Sep-12 19:52:03

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

3duracellbunnies Mon 24-Sep-12 19:52:50

Surely it is useful in non-fiction books with an index Mrz or do we now just google everything?

My children started learning letter sounds around age 3; and although they did some of it at preschool it was very low key and we did some at home too. I wouldn't see it as the nursery's fault if they don't know it. I don't know that any of mine were totally confident until they went to reception. The mother could have taught her daughter herself, there are loads of resources out there. If she hasn't then school soon will, but the school will hope expect that she helps her too.

shattereddreams Mon 24-Sep-12 19:53:43

Dd knew the song from about 2
She knew the letters in her name from 3
But she didn't know the actual alphabet, identify individual letters until school. She learnt very quickly her phonics and letter names at the same time by about Christmas in reception.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 24-Sep-12 19:55:32

DS1 has known it since he was 2.5, he's now 4.2 and just started reception and he read us a bedtime story this evening!

Does her DD sound the letters instead?

fluffacloud Mon 24-Sep-12 19:59:24

DD is 2.8, she can sing the alphabet song. She learnt it at nursery a few months ago. I hadn't attempted to teach her myself as I thought that she was a bit too young.

That said I would have taken the initiative and ensured that she knew it and was comfortable with it before school age regardless of nursery.

I think your friend should have made sure that her DC knew the alphabet and either questioned the nursery or just taught it to her DC herself!

mrz Mon 24-Sep-12 20:08:40

How many children's non fiction books have an alphabetic index 3duracellbunnies ...

mrz Mon 24-Sep-12 20:12:23

As a reception teacher I preferred children not to know their alphabet until after they knew their sounds.

HoratiaWinwood Mon 24-Sep-12 20:16:07

He could recognise letters from shortly after his third birthday, and could sing the alphabet shortly before his fourth (taught at pre-school).

He still sings -L-M-O-N-P- though, to DH's exasperation.

3duracellbunnies Mon 24-Sep-12 20:18:50

Many of our books do, and dd was looking in the index from age 6. I agree that sounds come first, but there is still a value in knowing the order of the alphabet.

mrz Mon 24-Sep-12 20:23:15

The indexes in the ones I have to hand here are listed by "topic" rather than alphabetically 3duracellbunnies. Alphabetical order is easily picked up but as you joked ...less necessary with electronic resources.

TeaDr1nker Mon 24-Sep-12 21:02:13

Thanks for all your responses, If it comes up in conversation again i will reasure her, as i tried to do today.

3duracellbunnies Mon 24-Sep-12 21:10:30

How strange, ours are mainly alphabetic, not in order in the book, but in the index at the back, we have three children's 'encylopaedia', plus a book on weather, a book of knowledge and a book on preditors, to name but a few of our library. None of them have an index in non-alphabetic order. Most of them aren't in alphabetic order in the book, which is why dd finds the index useful if she just wants to dip in and find out something. Using an index is just something which they taught them to do in year 1 - probably to show a use of the alphabet! Letter sounds obviously come first though.

Fuzzymum1 Mon 24-Sep-12 21:52:03

I would say knowing the alphabet has very little impact on reading - it certainly hasn't for DS3. He is just now able to recite the alphabet with any degree of accuracy at 5.8 but is reading at 7yo (ish) level.

LadySybildeChocolate Mon 24-Sep-12 22:19:11

I disagree, Fuzzy. I used to spend hours playing 'spot the 'H'' etc with ds, he was a very early reader as well, way before starting school. Knowing the letters of the alphabet phonetically and 't other way really helped him to get an early grasp on reading.

BlueSkySinking Mon 24-Sep-12 23:25:52

My eldest boy could read before reception and is now (aged 10) reading 4 years in advance of his age. My second eldest boy is 4 and in reception. I haven't done much letter work with him previously intentionally. He is brighter then his brother. I expect he will probably know all his phonics by the end of October and at the moment he is reading basic stage 1 books. I actually think that parents can push all they like at infant level/pre infant level but children usually settle to a more natural level in juniors.

mum4041 Tue 25-Sep-12 14:11:41

I wouldn't worry. Mine knew most of the alphabet song at the start of reception but not the whole alphabet. She's just turned 7 and has a reading age of 10.

GoldenLlama Tue 25-Sep-12 14:19:59

The first three random non-fiction children's books I picked out all have an alphabetical glossary or index. One from Wonderwise series (which to be fair wasn't random, I was fairly sure it had an alphabetical glossary), one from I Wonder Why series and one from Kingfisher Young Knowledge series.

Although, having said that, I suspect that knowing "the alphabet" is far less important than recognising the individual letters and knowing their sounds at reception age.

gabsid Tue 25-Sep-12 14:59:31

One mum at a playgroup once showed off with her 3 or 4 yo DS who could spell 3 or 4 letter words using the letter names.

I am not sure how useful or helpful that would be when starting to learn to read?

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