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Teaching Letters and Sounds

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Q: What does the research say about teaching letters and sounds? Is there a particular order that is best?

A: From birth to age 5 or 6, children show tremendous language growth. During this time, children learn over 6,000 words! They also learn a lot about books and how print works. Many children also learn to recognize, name, and write some letters and read some words — especially letters in their names and words on signs (such as the "Stop" sign) and other environmental print.

Phonics helps children understand the names of the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they represent. Understanding how to relate sounds to spellings helps children "decode" words.

While there isn't agreement on which letters and sounds to teach first, it is common for children to want to learn those letters that are important to them