The Role of Hebrew Letter Names in Early Literacy: The Case of Multi-phonemic Acrophonic Names

  • Iris Levin
Part of the Literacy Studies book series (LITS, volume 2)


English-speaking children more often spell letters correctly when the letters’ names are heard in the word (e.g., B in beach vs. bone). Hebrew letter names have been claimed to be less useful in this regard. In Study 1, kindergartners were asked to report and spell the initial and final letters in Hebrew words, including full (CVC), partial (CV), and phonemic (C) cues derived from these letter names (e.g., kaftor, kartis, kibεl, spelled with /kaf/). Correct and biased responses increased with the length of congruent and incongruent cues, respectively. In Study 2, preschoolers and kindergartners were asked to report the initial letters of monosyllabic or disyllabic names (e.g., /kaf/ and /samεx/, respectively) that included the cues described above. Correct responses increased with cue length; the effect was stronger with monosyllabic over disyllabic letter names, probably because the cue covered a larger ratio of the letter name. Phonological awareness was linked to the use of letter names.


Phonological Awareness Phonemic Awareness Initial Letter Letter Knowledge Hebrew Word 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I am very grateful to Bracha Nir-Sagiv for her contribution to the analysis of a corpus of words in children’s books, for counting letter name cues. Thanks are also extended to Yafit Melamed and Danit Ben-Amar for their involvement in the empirical study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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