Phonics instruction is a way to teach beginning readers that letters represent spoken sounds. The first thing students need to learn in this process is the alphabet.
There are 26 lowercase and 26 capital letters in the English alphabet. Of those, 12 are either the same or similar, which means students must learn 40 distinct symbols. Learning these symbols and their sounds is widely regarded to be the most important benchmark in future reading ability.
Most students learn the letter names by singing the traditional ABC song. Here is a version from The Learning Station on YouTube.
After the song, you can assess what the students remember using the alphabet resource above. The dialogue usually goes like this:
Teacher: What is it?
Students: It’s ‘a!’
Teacher: What does ‘a’ say?
Students: ‘a’ says /a/!