What is the Initial Teaching Alphabet?
The Initial Teaching Alphabet is a phonemic alphabet based on the
phonemic sound system of the English language. It was designed to
present the beginning reader and writer with a logical and reliable
reading and writing system. The phonemic alphabet consists of 44
sound-symbols with each symbol or character representing one sound in
a word. The alphabet adheres closely to traditional orthography. The
symbols are lowercase. Certain conventional English spellings have
been retained such as the c and k, which have the same sound.
When students understand that print is speech written down, that
words are made up of speech sounds, that the symbols and the speech
sounds agree, they can read anything that they understand. When they
know how to form the symbols, they can write anything they can say.
As they become fluent readers and writers in i.t.a., they become
aware of the conventional spellings in traditional orthography. They
know that they can write one third of the words that are similar and
the one third that are slightly different. The rest of the words they
know they must learn to spell. They become proficient readers and
writers without struggling with complex spelling patterns in the
beginning stages of literacy development.