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Sounds and Names of the abc letter alphabet

One of the first stepsfor reading success is having a firm knowledge of the abc letteralphabet.  

  • PhonicTip:When you areteaching lettersounds, be careful not to add an "uh" sound at the endof some letters. For example, letter s should sound like a snake hissing. Letter s says /sss/not /suh/


  • When I am teaching the abc letter alphabet, I usually say something similar to this:  "The name of this letter is (say the letter name) and it makes this sound (say the letter sound)."

There is oftenconfusion between what is a letter name and what is a letter sound.  So letme clear it up for you right now.  You can hear the letter names inthe following video - you might even want to show this to your littleones! 

Alphabet Names:

Alphabet Sounds

Here is little Sophie attempting to say the abc letter alphabet SOUNDS. The mother tells Sophie the letter alphabet name, and then encourages her to say the letter sounds. I think she is doing really well...!

How to assess your child

Yourchild's letter alphabet knowledge can be tested and encouraged by:


  • Alphabet Flash Cards   Use 2 or 3 flash cards at a time, introducing more as they learn them. These have no pictures, so your child will be totally relying on theirmemory. Remember you are asking yourchild to tell you the sound of the letter, not the letter alphabetname.  


  • Alphabet Book  Thisis a fantastic idea if your child is struggling to learn the sounds. Eachpage has a letter of the alphabet. Help your child to cut out magazinepictures and stick them onto the page which begins with the initial letter alphabet soundof the picture.


  • Tactile Letters  Large 'dashed outline' letters of the alphabet to trace or stick things on to make large Tactile Letters.  This is especially good for young children who still enjoy playing with manipulatives.


  • Alphabet Wheels Dial a letter and find the picture beginning with the initial alphabet sound

    Back to the main Alphabet Page

    Books to Teach the Alphabet

    Readbooks that help teachthe alphabet.  Here is a list to get you started!
    • Aardvarks Disembark!, Ann Jonas, (1-7)
    • ABC Americana, Cynthia Rubin (1-7)
    • The ABC Bunny, Wanda Gag. Putnam Publishers, 1978 (preschool-1)
    • A,B,See, Tana Hoban. Green Willow Books, 1982 (preschool-1)
    • Action Alphabet, Marty Neumeier and Bryon Blaser. Greenwillow Books, 1984 (preschool-1)
    • A is for Africa, Ifeoma Onyefulu (K-7)
    • A is for Anabelle, Tasha Tudor (K-1)
    • Albert B. Cub and Zebra, Anne Rockwell (K-2)
    • Alison's Zinnia, Anita Lobel (1-7)
    • Alligator Arrived with Apples, Crescent Dragonwagon, Jose Aruego, & Arian Dewey (K-3)
    • Alphabatics Suse MacDonald (preschool-1)
    • Alphabet City, Stephen Johnson (K-3)
    • The Alphabet Tale, Man Garten (K-1)
    • Animal Alphabet, Bert Kitchen (preschool-1)
    • Anno's Alphabet, Mitsumasa Anno, (K-4)
    • Antler, Bear, Canoe, Betsy Bowen (K-3)
    • A Caribou Alphabet, Mary Beth Owens (1-7)
    • Applebet, Clyde Watson and Wendy Watson (K-1)
    • April, Bubbles, Chocolate, Lee Bennett Hopkins & Barry Root (K-3)
    • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, Margaret Musgrove, Leo Dillon, & Diane Dillon (1-7)
    • Aster Aardvark's Alphabet Adventures, Steven Kellogg, Morrow. Junior Books, 1987 (preschool-1)
    • Away From Home, Anita Lobel (1-7)
    • B is for Bear: ABC, Dick Bruna. Methuen, 1972 (preschool-1)
    • The Butterfly Alphabet, Kjell B. Dandved. Scholastic, 1996 (K-7)
    • By the Sea: An Alphabet Book, Ann Blades. Kids Can Press, 1985 (preschool-1)
    • Caribbean Alphabet, Frané Lessac (K-3)
    • C is for City, Nikkie Grimes & Pat Cummings (K-3)
    • City Seen From A-Z, Rachel Isodora (K-3)
    • Eating the Alphabet, Lois Ehlert (preschool-1)
    • An Edible Alphabet, Bonnie Christiansen (preschool-1)
    • A Farmer's Alphabet, Mary Azarian (K-7)
    • Find the Animal A-B-C, Demi. Grosset and Dunlap, 1985 (preschool-1)
    • The Guinea Pig ABC, Kate Duke (preschool-1)
    • Helen Oxenbury's ABC of Things (preschool-1)
    • Illuminations, Peter Hunt (2-7)
    • I Spy: An Alphabet in Art (K-3)
    • Jambo Means Hello (Swahili), Muriel Tom Feelings (K-7)
    • Jeremy Kooloo, Tim Mahurin (K-1)
    • John Burningham's ABC, John Burningham. Jonathan Cape, 1967 (preschool-1)
    • Lift-the-Flap ABC, Rod Campbell. Blackier and Son, 1987 (preschool-1)
    • Navajo ABC, Luci Tapahonso & Eleanor Schick (K-7)
    • A Northern Alphabet, Ted Harrison (K-7)
    • Old Black Fly, Jim Aylensworth & Gammell (K-3)
    • On Market Street, Anita Lobel & Arnold Lobel (K-1)
    • A Peaceable Kingdom: The Shaker ABCEDARIUS, Alice & Martin Provensen (K-7)
    • Potluck, Anne Shelby & Irene Trivias (K-3)
    • A Prarie Alphabet, Jo Bannatyne-Cugnet & Yvette Moore (K-7)
    • Q is for Duck, Mary Elting & Michail Folsom, illus. by Jack Kent. Clarion Books, 1980 (preschool-1)
    • V is for Vanishing, Patricia Mullins (K-7)
    • What's Your Name? From Ariel to Zoe (K-3)
    • The Z was Zapped, Chris Van Allsburg (1-3) 

      Find more creative ways to teach the letter alphabet

      footer for letter alphabet page

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