What is the alphabetic principle in reading?
The alphabetic principle is the understanding that letters represent sounds. This leads to the understanding that words are composed of letters and groups of letters that represent sounds. In addition, this understanding is associated with the knowledge that letters are representative of different sounds in both spoken and written language. The alphabetic principle is important in beginning reading, and is what is taught when phonics are learned. Understanding the alphabetic principle is important in promoting reading fluency, and knowledge of the alphabetic principle has been shown to be predict a child's success in reading. Note that it is not necessary for students to be able to explicitly state the alphabetic principle; rather, they should know how to use it functionally.
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