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English Alphabet - 26 letters, capital letters, common letters, consonants, vowels for reading lessons

Alphabet: 7 simple things to know about letters and sounds

Good readers know the alphabet like the back of their hands. They don’t stop to think about the look or sound of each letter before putting them together to make words. Singing it fluently comes easily without fumbling around L M N O P. Also, identifying the letters and knowing things about them come naturally.

7 Simple things to know about the alphabet

When helping a student to learn the alphabet, focus on these 7 simple things:

1. There are 26 letters in the English alphabet

2. The letters are Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

3. Vowels are Aa Ee Ii Oo Uu and sometimes Yy

4. Long and short vowels have rules and exceptions concerning teams and silent letters.

5. Consonants are Bb Cc Dd Ff Gg Hh Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz

6. Hard, soft, silent and multiple consonant sounds have rules and exceptions concerning blends and silent letters.

7. Each letter has a capital form and a common form.

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A complete guide for teaching the 7 simple things about the alphabet

Here is a complete guide with videos to teach these 7 simple things about the alphabet.

Learn alphabet: Download 27 free worksheets to colour

Trace alphabet: Download 27 free worksheets

Learn alphabet sounds

Learning alphabet sounds can be fun using song and rhythm. Get creative with the alphabet and a student will quickly learn to identify and sound out letters. Here is a fun video by children to help you get started on learning the alphabet sounds.

Vowels in the alphabet

Vowels are sounds that your mouth makes when your teeth, tongue or lips do not touch each other.

a e i o u and sometimes y

Vowels can be long or they can be short based on the presence of silent vowels. Long vowels sound like the letter and short vowels do not sound like the letter. There are rules on blending vowels in the middle and at the end of words. Also, there are exceptions to these rules. Here is a video to help a student understand vowels.

Consonants in the alphabet

Consonants are sounds that your mouth makes when your teeth, tongue or lips touch each other.

b c d f g h j k l m n p q r s t v w x y z  

Blended sounds

It is important to know that only some consonants can be blended with other consonants. The letter ‘b’ can only be blended with ‘l’ and ‘r’ as in blue and bread. The letter ‘s’ however can be blended with many letters such as ‘c’ in scare, ‘h’ in shark, ‘k’ in skate, ‘l’ in slime, ‘m’ in smart, ‘n’ in snail, ‘p’ in sport, ‘q’ in squeak, ‘t’ in stop and ‘w’ in swim.

Hard and soft sounds

Some letters have soft sounds and some have hard sounds. Soft sounds are ‘C’ in celery and ‘G’ in giant. Hard sounds are ‘C’ in cat and ‘G’ in gorilla.

Silent sounds

Some letters are silent in certain words. These types of words are called sight words because you have to see them to know them. They carry letters that serve no purpose in modern English. The letter ‘b’ is silent in lamb, debt and thumb. The letters ‘gh’ are silent in night, fought, though and bough. In some words that start with ‘w’, either the ‘w’ or the next letter is silent such as the ‘h’ in white and the ‘w’ in whole.

Words -an ending: Download 6 free worksheets to trace

Words -at ending: Download 8 free worksheets to trace

Words -am ending: Download 5 free worksheets to trace

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Multiple sounds

Some consonants have multiple sounds when blended together. They may sound like other letters such as:

‘ch’ sounding like ‘k’ in stomach

‘ch’ sounding like ‘sh’ in chef

‘ck’ sounding like ‘k’ in back

‘gh’ sounding like ‘f’ in laugh

‘xy’ sounding like ‘z’ in xylophone

‘ph’ sounding like f in phone

‘ss’ sounding like ‘sh’ in passion

Here is a video on consonants to help a student understand the topic.

Capital letters

Capital letters are used to:

– begin a sentence e.g. Mary walked to school. Her little lamb followed her all the way.

– begin a proper noun e.g. Mary (person), Study Zone Institute (place), Fluffy (animal), Nike (thing).

– say ‘I’ e.g. Tom and I attend the same school.

– write a title e.g. Mr., Mrs., Ms., Dr. (persons), Little Red Riding Hood (book), Study Zone News (newspaper), Iron Man (movie).

– state acronyms e.g. WHO (World Health Organisation), ATM (Automated Teller Machine), OMG (Oh my God!).

Common letters

Common letters are used for everything else that does not start with a capital letter:

– sentence e.g. Mary walked to school.

– persons e.g. boy, girl, student, teacher

– places e.g. school, town, village, mall

– animals e.g. dog, cat, turtle, fish

– things e.g. sneakers, video game, television, computer

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See also:

Two letter words: Download 5 free worksheets for tracing

Learn numbers: Download 32 free worksheets to colour

Trace numbers: Download 32 free worksheets for practice

Vowels – syllables, digraphs, diphthongs, trigraphs, long, short and silent

Consonants – digraphs, trigraphs, hard, soft, blends, silent sounds

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