Using the Alphabet Card
by Marilyn Duncan
adapted from The
card has features that support the development of
sound-to-letter relationships (Clay 1991).
For example, I know that going from the known to the unknown is
an easier process for any learner. Children typically are able
to say a word before they can write it. Therefore, going from
the sounds the child can say to writing down the letter or
clusters of letters that make the sound is easier than going
from an isolated letter and trying to remember its sound.
card links a familiar picture to the sound and the letter.
The link between the picture and the letter needs to be clear
for the child, so it can be used almost immediately. The
pictures are of objects that children can identify. I hear
children saying, “Mom starts like moon—here it is!”
on the child-sized card are lowercase only. Children usually
come to school writing in capital letters. Writers use capital
letters for specific purposes, so I want these students to make
the shift to writing in lowercase as quickly as possible.
to single letters, the alphabet card I use also shows three
diagraphs (ch, th, sh). These combined letters have a
unique sound that cannot be segmented when the child is
listening for sounds in words. The alphabet card provides
support for the child with pictures for common diagraphs ch—chair,
with the alphabet is increased by playing alphabet games,
working with the card one-on-one and in small groups, and using
the card in writing demonstrations. The alphabet card should
quickly become a valuable resource for the child, the teacher,
and the parent.