Continuing education is a requirement for all Pennsylvania teachers in order to keep our license. Often, these continuing ed hours are…well…not very helpful. I happened to select a seminar on teaching the alphabet. When I’m selecting my continuing ed hours, I try and pick seminars that will help with my actual cert (7th-12th) and homeschooling/el ed. I can also say, I think it’s important that upper level teachers have some decent ground level education in how lower levels are teaching, so that we can continue to scaffold and work within that frame work. I bet it would benefit a lot of students, but I digress.
I recently signed up for a seminar about teaching children the alphabet. It discussed how forever now, education has typically taught the alphabet with “a letter a week.” They developed a program and study to see what would happen if they taught “a letter a day” instead. What they found, and have shared, has changed how WE will be learning the alphabet moving forward.
If you’ve been around for a while, we too, have been doing a letter a week since we started with “homeschooling” 2 years ago. 26×2=52 so it’s perfect. My goal then had been exposure. I had low expectations, and didn’t expect my 2 1/2yr old to have her alphabet memorized, and be able to identify and organize them. BUT, as we are moving forward in our homeschool journey, we are tip toeing beyond the point of exposure to actual remembering and application.
We know that recall is 18-30 days. With a 26 letter alphabet, we fall right into that zone. What they found was that students were better able to remember, sequence, and grasp the alphabet with a letter a day, than a letter a week.
As we are on the letter “W” currently, we are going to finish out our calendar year with a letter a week. Switching it now certainly doesn’t make any sense. We will pick up with a letter a day in January. We will be using all of our usual resources, but a different letter each day, obviously. I’ll be attempting to “track” and gauge if I see any growth/change in our letter retention and application. This, of course, is very difficult, as sheer age and repetition of any kind are going to gain and improve no matter what. But, I’m looking forward to trying for a few months to see how it goes!
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