Analyzing Alphabet Books

At my presentations, I often give attendees a homework assignment – go back and look through your alphabet books and analyze the phonetic aspect of them. Try this yourself – I think you will be surprised! It has been my experience that the majority of alphabet books are lovely picture books and very poor phonics books.

Here are things to watch for:

upper case letters only (since lower case is what children see in reading, they must be shown)
long vowel sounds (it is the short vowel sounds we should be introducing first)
irregular and r-controlled vowel sounds (eg. owl or onion on the ‘o’ page, art on the ‘a’ page, urchin for ‘u’, etc.)
consonant digraphs and silent letter patterns (chipmunk or chair for ‘c’, knot or knuckles for ‘k’, shoes for ‘s’, etc.)
soft ‘c’ and ‘g’ sounds (city for ‘c’ and giraffe for ‘g’)
words containing consonant blends, especially r-blends abd l-blends (drum for ‘d’, tree or train for ‘t’ – many children do not pronounce the ‘d’ and ‘t’ sounds correctly in these words)
I always enjoy hearing back from teachers with words they have found that do not accurately represent the initial sounds we teach children. Let me know if you find any good ones! Enjoy your last term!