ABC Gulp challenges your knowledge of letter names
All children need to learn their ABCs. By learning to recognize and name each letter in the alphabet, children take their first steps into the world of written language. Many children master letter-naming before they start kindergarten, and almost all children have mastered it by the time they finish, so ABC Gulp should be relatively easy for children six and older. The skills of younger children, however, may vary widely: some can identify and name all twenty-six letters in the alphabet, while others can’t name any letters at all. Still other children are familiar with the first half of the alphabet, but struggle with the second half. For these children six and under, ABC Gulp results may be particularly important, because letter-naming is one of the most effective predictors of subsequent reading skills.
Is letter-naming easy? While learning a set of twenty-six arbitrary associations takes time and practice, letter-naming isn’t fundamentally different from other developmental hurdles. Young children are accustomed to naming visual objects, and often enjoy doing so. A typical three-year-old, for example, can look at a line drawing of a cocker spaniel or a color photo of a poodle and declare “Doggie!” in both cases. These same visual skills probably help children recognize letters that occur in different fonts, colors, and sizes. Children draw on their phonological resources, too. They may recognize the sounds of letter names from the ABC Song, or from common nouns such as bee, sea, and tea. Still, the ABCs do present challenges. Infrequent letters may be harder to learn. And some children struggle with the visual similarities between lower-case letters like b and d, or p and q.