As easy as ABC? Teaching and learning about letters in early literacy




Kaye, Elizabeth

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International Literacy Association
The Reading Teacher


Letter learning is nuanced, complex, and essential to the development of an effective literacy processing system. Forming and naming letters, rapidly differentiating between visually similar letters, and recognizing their sound correspondences are foundational to becoming a reader and writer. Indeed, control over letters affects monitoring, searching, and self‐correcting in reading and writing. The authors argue for (a) assessment that monitors evolving letter knowledge, (b) instruction that is focused and brief and capitalizes on students’ unique strengths and ways of knowing, and (c) isolated letter work that is balanced with the use of authentic texts. Transcripts of teacher–student interactions during reading and writing, personal alphabet books, magnetic letter sorts, and links to teacher resources illustrate how letter learning can be fostered in a variety of activity settings while ensuring student engagement and supporting overall literacy development.


Article originally published in The Reading Teacher, 72(5), 599–610. English. Published Online 2018.


Instructional strategies, Methods and materials, Struggling learners, Authentic assessment, Informal assessment, Ongoing assessment, Embedded phonics, Phonemic awareness, Phonological awareness, Teaching strategies, Learning strategies, Reading strategies, Writing strategies, Instructional intervention, Constructivism, Early childhood


This is the publisher’s version of an article that is available at Recommended citation: Kaye, E. L., & Lose, M. K. (2018). As Easy as ABC? Teaching and learning about letters in early literacy. The Reading Teacher, 72(5), 599–610. This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.