The invisible alphabet: Te Whāriki, letter knowledge, and the development of reading skills
Unitec Institute of Technology
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Citation:Blaiklock, K. (2008). The invisible alphabet: Te Whāriki, letter knowledge, and the development of reading skills. Early Education, 43(1), 12-15.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1600
A large body of research indicates that children's letter knowledge is crucial for the development of reading skills. Letter knowledge is a strong predictor of children's progress in reading. Knowing the names and sounds of some letters may help children to become aware that written words are not indivisible units but are made up of patterns of letters. Letter knowledge also helps children to develop an awareness of speech sounds and assists children in identifying and remembering written words. This paper reviews the evidence on the importance of letter knowledge and then examines what New Zealand early childhood curriculum guidelines say about the provision of opportunities to develop letter knowledge. A case is made that the alphabet receives insufficient attention in Te Whāriki and that teachers need to provide activities that explicitly focus on developing children's knowledge of letter names and sounds.