Using mnemonics to teach the alphabetic principle
Learning to read is a foundational skill for children to develop, but many find it challenging. Early literacy research identifies that one of the reasons for this is that children find it hard to memorize the link between the alphabet letter form and the sound. This is known as the alphabetic principle. Brain research clearly shows that there are many factors that support the acquisition of skills and their retention in long-term memory. When information is meaningful, engaging and it makes sense, our students are more likely to be engaged and attend to the process. Also, the likelihood that the information will be coded in long-term memory increases. By using multi-modal strategies like presenting information through the visual, auditory, tactilekinesthetic and even smell and taste senses, the process of storing information is more effective. Mnemonics, and more importantly embedded mnemonics, play an important role in helping students to make a link between the letter-sound associations. This project explored what types of images would be most relevant to the primary students in the Saanich School District and in particular those with Indigenous heritage. Research from this project culminated in the development of the Alphabet Linking Program – a multi-modal tool designed to help remedial teachers support students who struggle with learning the letter-sound associations.