Teach Your Child to Read

To Teach A Child to Read, Should You Teach Letter Names or Letter Sounds?

So, you want to teach your child to read, but before a child can learn to read, he or she must first learn at least some of the letters in the alphabet, their names, and the sounds that they represent. To be able to read, a child must be able to recognize the letters, know the sound of the letters, and be able to recognize the letters quickly and say the sound without hesitation.

There are plenty of studies that find greater benefit to learning letter names and letter sounds. For example:

"Typical U.S. children use their knowledge of letters' names to help learn the letters' sounds.  Our results suggest that a wide range of children use the names of letters to help learn the sounds and that phonological awareness, as conventionally measured, is not required in order to do so." [1]


"...knowing the letter names helps children learn basic letter-sound relation because most names contain the relevant sounds. Differences between children in the experimental and control groups indicated that letter-name knowledge had a significant impact on letter-sound learning. Furthermore, letters with names containing the relevant sound facilitated letter-sound learning." [2]

You Should Teach Letter Names With the Sounds

As you can see, letter names and letter sounds should be taught TOGETHER, as this helps children learn the letter to sound relation. A child should learn the name and the sound of the alphabet letters where letters with names that contain the relevant sound helps to enhance the letter-sound learning. When teaching your child the alphabet, instead of simply teaching them the name or sound of the alphabet separately, teach them like so:

"This is the letter A, and the letter A makes the /a/ sound." (note: the /a/ denote the sound "A" makes, and not its name). Similarly, you can teach your child the other alphabet letters in this way including both name and sound of the letter. This is the way I teach my children the alphabet letters. Other studies have also determined that teaching the letter names and sounds together helped children learn.

58 preschool children were randomly assigned to receive instructions in letter names and sounds, letter sound only, or numbers (control group). The results of this study are consistent with past research results in that it found children receiving letter name and sound instruction were most likely to learn the sounds of letters whose names included cues to their sounds.

To be able to effectively teach your children the sounds of letters, you must first master the proper pronunciation of the letters yourself. It is critical for you as a parent to be able to first say the sounds of the letters correctly before teaching your children.

>> Click here to watch a short video and discover how you can easily teach your child to read

Yes! I Want to Teach My Child to Read.





1. Cognition. 2008 Mar;106(3):1322-38. Epub 2007 Aug 9.
Which children benefit from letter names in learning letter sounds?
Treiman R, Pennington BF, Shriberg LD, Boada R.

2. J Exp Child Psychol. 2004 Jul;88(3):213-33.
Knowing letter names and learning letter sounds: a causal connection.
Share DL.