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Preschool children may not be able to read and write, but they can be taught to recite the alphabet and to count. Young children learn through repeating sounds, so while they can learn to say the alphabet, they may not, at that stage, realise what they are saying, the alphabet will probably seem to be a stream of different sounds. They may not even be able to distinguish the sounds for each individual letter. For example there may be no rational way to deduce that 'double-yoo' (W) is one letter where as 'el-em-en' (LMN) is three letters. However, teaching young children to recite the alphabet, and to count to 10 is still a very valuable exercise because it will start to reinforce a familiarity with letters and numbers that they will take with them when they start school.
Practice counting and to recite the alphabet when you are out and about, sing numbers and letters as songs. Teach them the phonetic alphabet too which is probably how they will first be taught to say the alphabet when they reach school.
When you are at home or in a play setting, you can continue to say the alphabet and count using letter and number charts. Point to the letters and numbers as you pass them and this will help with visual learning, tying together letters and numbers with their sounds.
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