The English-speaking world has a great alphabet, only 26 letters that are mostly distinct from each other, plus, a long tradition of songs and rhymes behind the consonants and vowels that make up the alphabet.

The mind of the child learns the form of things, such as a tree or a house, by looking around. Adults help form the word for house or tree. The child learns thousands of these nuances, forms, things, patterns, and shapes, and we help with a spoken name/label. The alphabet, with its rhyming aspects, is almost easy for the child after that. The A-B-C song, a pleasing tune, also helps the child learn the alphabet. Tracing the letters in the many A-B-C workbooks School Zone produces or using our flash cards, clinches the learning of the alphabet.

The rather interesting point is that a child can learn a whole word made up of alphabet letters just as easily as he or she can learn the alphabet. The alphabet, with its single-letter sounds, seems to easily fit into the child's mind. But that will require some stretching. You only teach the long sound of each letter in running through the alphabet. As an example, poor "Bart" learns to spell his name after learning the long-sound alphabet, but when he speaks his name, the B is not Bee, but Buh, A is not Ay, but Ah, and it is an r-controlled vowel. Fortunately, r and t are sounded in his name as in the alphabet, leaving Bart only half confused.

Start with A-B-C, not all 26 letters; repetition is how he or she learns and you teach. Go around the house labeling with certain letters (A may be hard unless you have an attic, but repetition is the way). Hold up the alphabet card in the child's view the first time, for an extended time, then faster and faster.

Tracing also helps. Have your child trace letters with his or her index finger. The mind will then practice that during sleep time. The next day, we bet the response will be faster. Letter blocks help, and writing the letters with a big pencil and focused concentration is also good. Soon, the lightbulb pops on, and your child proudly zips off the alphabet to Grandpa's delight.

Many School Zone products include alphabet work. However, some favorites are Alphabet Express Workbook & Software combo, Bedtime Alphabet Night-Time Learning Interactive Flash Cards, and Alphabet Flash Cards.