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3 1/2 years old and cannot say ABC's yet. Should I be worried?

My son is 3 1/2 and is having a very hard time learning his ABC's. I've tried to teach him, and he just cannot catch on. I've been working with him, but he cannot say ANY of them yet (not even A, B, C,). Should I be worried that he cannot learn them, or should I just be patient and continue to teach until he gets the hang of it?


Asked by Anonymous at 8:26 PM on Mar. 21, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (6)
  • Absolutely not!!!! Letter/number identification is a Kindergarten skill!! Educational curriculum has gotten bumped up so much that kids are being expected to learn skills so much earlier. This is not to say that you can't EXPOSE him too letters and numbers at his age. Just keep it fun and age appropriate! Most importantly, read, read, read, to him daily, nightly,etc. Talk about the written words, sing the ABC song, or sing about the letters and the sound they make. Dr. Jean has some wonderful songs on CD that talk about the sounds of letters. This is called phonemic awareness. You are making him aware that letters make sounds and all together they make words. Play games with him with letters. If you sit down and do flash cards and workbooks, he will most likely not be interested and become resistant to these activities.

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 6:41 AM on Mar. 22, 2009

  • just be patient he'll learn when he's ready. Albert Einstein didn't even start talking until he was 3 years old and he was a freakin' genius! Sooo, Everyone is different just be patient.

    Answer by prettymama0607 at 9:03 PM on Mar. 21, 2009

  • (Continued) You can play a game where you put alphabet cards on the floor, face down. Put on some fun music and dance around the room, stop the music and have everyone reach down and grab a letter. At this point, he can name it if he knows it, or match it to another set of cards laid out to the side. You want him to be successful, not frustrated. If you go to a websight called or you will find some fun computer activities for learning letters.

    Answer by LovetoTeach247 at 6:46 AM on Mar. 22, 2009

  • Don't concentrate on saying them, concentrate on recognizing them. Order doesn't matter right now, it's more important that he can recognize what they look like. It's the first step to reading. the problem that he LITERALLY cannot say "A" or "B"...speech problem?

    Check out My boys LOVE that site.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 6:49 AM on Mar. 22, 2009

  • Actually repeating the A,B, C's is not that important and honestly how many of us really thought LMNOP was one letter.
    More imp. is knowing the sounds and/or id the letters. Don't worry about the order or maybe even the name and focus more on the sounds. Also make a game of it and maybe just skip over to some familiar words like his name and "stop" "juice" etc.
    He may actually know more than you think and is just bored and messing with you so he refuses to answer correctly as a control issue -- both my kids also did that.
    My daughter also did the : mommy doesn't know thing, so I put her in preschool and now she picked up most of it b/c she saw that the other kids could do it.
    I would NOT worry about it yet (unless he just can't say it -- then I'd look at speech)
    Look at him as a WHOLE child -- what can he do? can he do a whole bunch of other things at or above age level? Yes, then he's fine.

    Answer by MamiJaAyla at 12:07 PM on Mar. 22, 2009

  • I say help him in recognizing. Go to the dollar store and get a basic picture book with the alphabet in it. Every morning and every night, go through the book, pointing at each letter and saying what it is. That's how my daughter and oldest son learned.

    Answer by sarah6183 at 12:35 PM on Mar. 22, 2009