Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My Pet Peeve

I'm a huge fan of alphabet books. My daughter learned all her letters by 17 months due to an alphabet book that just "clicked" with her. However, my huge pet peeve is alphabet books designed to be pretty, and not with the child's actual learning in mind. I get it that some of these books have a different educational goal in mind, like the ABC's of endangered species, but some products seem to be genuinely trying to teach the letters, yet don't seem to have the foggiest notion of phonics.

Letters have sounds. A few letters make more than one sound, but one sound is the most common. When learning to read, we don't start with exceptions, we start with the fundamentals. So WHY do some alphabet books use "chair" for "c" or "owl" for "o"?

Children learning their letters are very young. They have very little life experience. So WHY show a picture of jacks for the letter "j"? Why show them an infant for "i" when any child will call it a baby?

Almost all the letters make their sound when you say their names. "G" and "C" don't, and using the soft sounds in an alphabet book can confuse them with "j" and "s," so I would use their hard sounds. They are most common. Vowels I can accept either way. They say their own names, but the first words kids learn to read will use their short sounds - dog, cat, bed, etc.

WHY doesn't anyone ask ME before writing these books? If they had, here are my choices for each letter:

A - apple
B - ball
C - cat
D - dog
E - elephant
F - frog
G - grapes
H - horse
I - igloo
J - jack-in-the-box
K - king
L - lion
M - monkey
N - nest
O - octopus
P - pig
Q - queen
R - ring
S - Santa Claus
T - turtle
U - umbrella
V - volcano
W - wagon
X - x-ray
Z - zebra

OK, now I feel better.

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