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What is the "alphabetic principle"?

Children's reading development is dependent on their understanding of the alphabetic principle – the idea that letters and letter patterns represent the sounds of spoken language. Learning that there are predictable relationships between sounds and letters allows children to apply these relationships to both familiar and unfamiliar words, and to begin to read with fluency. (Reading Rockets Website)

Students need to have proficient knowledge of the names and sounds that the letters make. A main goal in kindergarten should be that your child is able to name all uppercase and lowercase letters as well as know the most common sounds for those letters. (That includes the short vowel sounds and the hard c {cat} and g {goat}). When students are able to automatically recall the names and/or sounds of the letters, it makes reading words much easier.

Here are some links to good activities that you can print off or use at home to help your child learn letter names and sounds:

The Measured Mom website
This Reading Mama Tips for teaching letters and sounds website
This Reading Mama Resources and Activites
Starfall Website-interactive online activities
Reading Rockets website