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Why is Learning the Alphabet Important for Learning Languages?
Home Reference & Education Language
By: Charlene Lacandazo Email Article
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Learning the alphabet of a language is a simple concept, but it is the most important stage of a human being’s literacy development. Usually, the alphabetic principle states that there are individual letters, or combinations of letters, in order to represent the regular sounds of speech. Through human knowledge of the alphabet of a particular language, a person can read or speak words that are otherwise unfamiliar to them.

The Latin alphabet is the most common set of letters that are used by major languages such as English, Spanish, French, and German. Although there other important languages that are not using the Latin alphabet, such as the Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Russian, and Hindi, learning the Latin alphabet as early as possible is important; it could be the main key for a person in learning another language as well.

Why is learning the alphabet so vitally important in the early development of a human being?

Learning the alphabet is fundamental for learning to read; on the other hand, without an accurate knowledge of letters, children will definitely have serious difficulty in the early stages of literacy. Letter recognition and phonemic awareness are the two most essential predictors of reading ability. Learning the alphabet is the main foundation of a written language, while phonemes provide the knowledge of oral language. Thus, when alphabetic knowledge and phonemic awareness are applied together in human literacy, a child has the potential to become a good reader and communicator.

When a child begins kindergarten, he or she undergoes many helpful exercises conducted by their teacher. This would enable the children to recognize many letters, usually by showing them random letters, one at a time, and analyzing a child’s responses. However, entering kindergarten doesn’t entirely mean that the child would learn immediately, without risk factors. Study show that 50% of all children entering kindergarten have one or more risk factors that may create significant reading problems for the student.

Knowledge of alphabetic letters before formal reading instruction is one of the strongest predictors of children’s reading ability, and thus, parents and teachers should not neglect the essential contributions of this early stage of learning for their children.

Outside from school, there are simple and yet fun activities with which parents can help their children sustain and help the literacy development of their children. Children’s books and technology are great contributors in helping students develop their knowledge.

Children’s appropriate alphabet knowledge is a helpful step for the students to understand and to encourage them to learn other languages. Although learning other languages that don’t use Latin alphabet requires other practices, however, the Latin alphabet helps the student understand other languages in pronouncing foreign words by converting its original pronunciation into an easier form, using the Latin alphabet letters.

Charlene Lacandazo works for Rosetta Translation, a prominent document translation agency.

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