The Importance of Children Learning Alphabetical Order

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An overview of the main purposes of teaching children the alphabet and alphabetical order.

It is a normal part of every child’s education to learn the alphabet.  It may seem like a pointless exercise. When will you ever need to recite the alphabet from start to finish except in a classroom environment? However, it is a vital part of a child’s education and has several purposes, not only for while they are at school, but for skills needed in their adult life.  Here is an overview of the function and purpose of a child learning the alphabet.


Phonetics are the sounds that letters or groups of letters make.  It is necessary for a child to know the letters of the alphabet to be able to understand phonetics.  One letter does not make one sound alone. Consider the different sound that the letter ‘A’ makes in the following words- car, cat, care.  There are three different sounds. This process of understanding the letters of the alphabet and the different sounds that they make when connected to other letters is an important step in being able to read, write and spell.

Life Skills

Throughout life, you will need to know the alphabet and alphabetical order to complete many tasks. Everyday tasks such as looking for a telephone number in a telephone directory or setting up a filing system to keep your bills at hand and easy to find will require knowing the alphabet.  Other tasks that will require an understanding of alphabetical order may include finding a word in the dictionary or reading transport timetables which are often laid out in alphabetical order.  Similarly, finding out information in a book requires you to look in the index at the back of a book to find the page number that you need. This is presented in alphabetical order.  Without knowing the alphabet, it would take a long time to locate the term that you are looking for and then find the right page.

Work Skills

Many tasks and systems in the workplace are based on alphabetical order.  Not knowing alphabetical order would severely limit a person’s ability to function in the workplace.  Files and folders on computers and files that are kept in a filing drawer will both be stored in alphabetical order.  In order to file or retrieve documents, it would be expected that alphabetical order was understood.  Many lists in the workplace are also organized in alphabetical order and to access information from these it is a necessity to know alphabetical order.


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