Early Latino ABC Goldmine – Live Bodies

The spoken sounds in a Latino family home with many children are unintentionally full of many English sounds. However, these sound are not yet recognized as such. Some names which could be heard are Pedro, Ramon, Manuel, Carlos, etc. are the initial beginning sounds of English ABC letter sounds. Manuel represents the sound of ‘M’ and Carlos is a live representation of the sound of ‘C’. The Latino children have live examples of ABC sounds all around them since early childhood. Their family environment of uncles, aunts, and cousins is a goldmine of Spanish and English letter sounds: ‘P’, ‘R’, ‘M’, ‘C’, etc.

Teachers can replace ambiguous examples (‘A’ is for APPLE/manzana and ‘B’ is for BEAR/oso) for Latino children from Spanish speaking homes with actual representations of the beginning sounds. So if a child has a cousin named Alicia, they could say ‘A’ is for Alicia. If teachers would only recognize how close Latino children are to using English letter sounds every day.

The final step for symbol recognition comes from when the child writes their own name or reads the name of other classmates. Then they should identify the first letter of each name. At that point, the child has a live body example of the letter sound, which the names of classmates can further represent.

With this in mind, teachers can recognize the importance of children using the names of their peers (in the classroom) and relatives (at home). This should successfully smooth the mastery of most letter sounds and move ABC literacy away from a confusing ABC picture situation.

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