Gaps in your child’s Alphabet Knowledge?

Unfortunately, not all learning differences can be catered for at a school level – not yet anyway. This often slows academic progress and leaves gaps in learning for children who think and process information in a different way.

I came to the realisation that fixing this problem at the school level was outside of my circle of control and beyond my ability to change.

However, what was in my circle of control and within my ability to change was the support I was able to put around my children to help them learn at home so they could cope better at school.

Giving my children the best start in life is and always will be important to me as a parent. Helping them learn and develop is my responsibility too. Learning to read was no exception.

It all begins with the decision to try. It’s the small gains you make each day, that will eventually lead to the greatest amount of progress.

If you’re ready to take that next step in helping your child learn to read especially when learning to read has been difficult in the past, I want to give you some tips to get you started. 

Knowing where and how to start can often be the hardest part!

Now, just to be clear, I’m not talking about hours of extra work for you or your child. Aside from the additional angst this would place on all involved, it’s simply not necessary.

When it comes to learning to read, keeping it simple is always best. 

Research has shown us that short bursts of learning, spaced out over consecutive days helps the brain better retain information. That’s great news for our children and even better news for parents!

So the big question on every parent’s lips is ‘How can I help my child?’

My advice would be to go back to the basics.

It’s important to understand what your child already knows and what information is missing.

Where there is confusion, you will often find gaps in knowledge and understanding.

So where do you start?

Alphabet Knowledge – These gaps can simply be the names of letters, the sounds of letters and even confusion between the shapes of letters!

You’d be surprised how many children who experience reading difficulties have gaps in their knowledge of the alphabet. What’s even more surprising is how many parents don’t think to check.

I was one of those parents and I just assumed they knew.

My children were in Year 4 and Year 2 when I discovered they both had gaps in their alphabet knowledge.

According to one child when reciting the alphabet song, ‘lmnop’ was one long letter, the letter ‘s’ made three appearances and the letter ‘x’ did not exist at all!

I also discovered:
• Letter reversals – b, d and p, q
• Confusion between short vowel sounds / e / as in bet, and / i / as in bit
• Unable to identify the letter x whether spoken orally or in written format.
• Confusion between the letters w and letter u
• Difficulty remembering the names of letters when writing (especially when tired).

Keep in mind these gaps were in the basic level of alphabet knowledge – the very foundation of learning to read.

It turns out just because they can sing the alphabet song, it doesn’t mean they have solid alphabet knowledge!

It’s easy to assume children can translate the spoken letters of the alphabet into their written form and that they can associate the letters with their sounds however this doesn’t always translate for the dyslexic child.

How was it missed? Quite easily really. Their classrooms had moved on from alphabet knowledge and I just assumed they both knew. My point being, don’t just assume they already know. As I said earlier, where there is confusion, you will often find gaps in knowledge and understanding.

Alphabet Knowledge is something you can help your child with today. Best of all, a lot of this these gaps can be worked on and filled through play based learning.

A solid foundation for reading can only be laid with the right building blocks.

More information about The Reading Switch and our Dual Code Reading System can be found on our website

About Author

Brylee Langley

Founder of The Reading Switch,
Mum of Two Dyslexic Children, Lived Experience,
Parenting Dyslexic Thinkers

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