Letter name recognition is still widely considered the starting point for alphabetic instruction in standards, assessments, and curriculums yet research concurs that beginning letter-sound knowledge is critical for decoding and recognizing words (e.g. Ehri, 2014). This widely-prevalent convention of teaching capital and lower case letter names before (or at the same time as) the beginning sounds greatly disadvantages the students who most tend to become underserved in literacy (including exceptional learners); we do not read with letter names and most beginning letter sounds cannot be derived from the letter name.
Sunform is consistent with the limited published research on the optimal way to introduce letter sounds and letter names (Piasta, Purpura & Wagner, 2010). Given the rigorous demands of the Common Core/Next Generation standards, many educators worry that the early childhood curriculum has become too academic, and that children don’t spend enough time in developmental play and discovery-based learning. Sunform solves this conundrum by enabling students to rapidly master the beginning letter sound-symbol correspondences – now a prerequisite for kindergarten entry in many states – in a developmentally appropriate way, without sacrificing time for the other essential elements of the curriculum. In just 10-15 minutes of daily instruction, English-speaking students typically:
- Achieve automaticity with all of the beginning letter sounds in 3 weeks
- Achieve automaticity with all of the letter shapes in 4-6 weeks
- Begin blending all of the letter sounds/shapes after 10-12 weeks
Ehri, L.C. (2014) Orthographic mapping in the acquisition of sight word reading, spelling memory, and vocabulary learning. Scientific Studies of Reading 18(1).
Piasta, S. B., Purpura, D. J., & Wagner, R. K. (2010). Fostering alphabet knowledge development: A comparison of two instructional approaches. Reading and Writing, 23, 607-626
The children in the video below were part of the treatment group described in: Massengill Shaw, D., & Sundberg, M.L. (2008). At-risk preschoolers become beginning readers with neurologically integrated alphabet instruction. Journal of Education Research, 2(1), 61-73.