Mom-to-Mom Support/My son just turned 5 and is having trouble with letter recognition/sounds

My son just turned 5 and is having trouble with letter recognition/sounds


I used Little Stories for Little Folks phonics program last year with great success for my kindergartner. I am currently using it with another son who is in kindergarten this year. He just turned 5 and is having great difficulty with letter recognition/sounds. I realize that each child learns at a different pace but since I was able to get through the entire alphabet with my other son before Christmas last year, I am wondering about how to proceed. Am I correct to focus on a limited number of letters until he firmly grasps them before adding more of the alphabet? I am afraid that if I continue through the alphabet it will only confuse him. What is your advice? Thanks!

Dear Parent,

Thank you for your question!

I’m glad that you are using Little Stories for Little Folks with success. It is very true that children learn at their own pace. If your five-year-old does not seem ready to move on, then I wouldn’t push him forward too quickly or worry too much about it right now. Perhaps you will find that he learns a little differently from the six-year-old. This isn’t bad news, it just means that your five-year-old works at a different pace and in a different way.

You are correct in assuming that your son needs to have a firm grasp of what he is learning before moving on in the program. Letter recognition and sounds improve through constant practice and repetition. It is important for him to see the letters and their sounds, say them out loud, and use them in everyday activities.

Use the flashcards that are included with the Little Stories for Little Folks program. Go through the entire alphabet quickly with him. Start with the letter A, hold up the flash card and ask him, “What letter is this?” Give him about three seconds per card. Put all the letters he can identify in one pile, and all the letters he doesn’t know in the other pile. Next step, turn to the parent’s guide in the Little Stories for Little Folks program and turn to the page that says “Alphabet Sounds List.” Check to see if he can identify all the sounds of the letters from the pile that he recognizes. This is important because he needs to be able to identify not only the letter but the sound it makes.

When he can identify both the letters and its sound according to those listed in the parent’s guide, then add two more new letters. Quiz him on the flash cards every day, emphasizing the two that are new. Also, using refrigerator magnets, point out during various times of the day the new sounds and letters. Point out all the words that begin with the new letter. When he has mastered those two new letters, add two more, at the same time continuing to practice with the flashcards he can already identify. Keep the sessions short, and praise him abundantly for each letter he identifies correctly.

God bless you and your family!

Laura Corrigan

About Laura Corrigan

Laura Corrigan is a mother of five. She was homeschooled through high school and received her teaching certificate from the Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has also homeschooled her own children.