“Letter of the Week” is NOT Good Practice
It’s very common practice in preschool and kindergarten classrooms to introduce the “letter of the week.” While this method of teaching is based on good intentions, it presents problems when children are learning to sound out words (decode) and write (encode). Learning letters limits children because some important sounds in the English language are not represented by single letters (for example, /ch/, /sh/, /ow/ and /au/). Also, alternate spellings get confusing when one sound is pegged to one letter.
Why We Teach One Sound at a Time
There are only 44 sounds in our language and the rapid automatic retrieval of those sounds is the foundation of reading. Regardless of age, in order for a student to be a fast and accurate reader, the sounds must be mastered. If a student is not able to retrieve the sounds efficiently, their accuracy and comprehension will suffer. EVERYTHING else in reading is secondary to this crucial first skill. Once a student shows mastery, he or she will move ahead to increasingly more complex concepts.
Watch Kendore Learning Executive Director Jennifer Hasser explain in greater detail.