Automaticity with sounds is critical for reading fluency and comprehension.
- It is helpful to begin with common letters: f, m, n, r, s, a, t, p, i, b, l and h.
- Be sure to teach qu together as /qu/ rather than teaching q alone. I tell learners that the queen broke her leg so the u carries her around. (The Q that most students learn to write has a “backwards” facing tail which can look like a broken leg.)
- Practice the sounds for a minute or two at a time, many times each day.
- Learn about working on new words or sounds with flashcards.
- As you are practicing the letter sounds, work on Playing With Sounds.
- Begin working on the first sight words in Beginning Sight Words.
- See below for a video to watch to practice the letter sounds. Can your learner beat me in saying each sound? (Cards from Zoo-phonics.)
Watch for voiced and unvoiced letter pairs.
To pronounce each letter in a pair, the mouth position is exactly the same. The difference is the vocal cords in the voice box are activated (voiced) for one letter, and the other letter is a breath sound (unvoiced). Put your fingers on the front of your throat to feel when the vocal cords are activated. These are easy letters to mix up!
These pairs include:
b and p
d and t
g and k
v and f
z and s
th (the) and th (thin)
Alphabet sounds to learn and practice
- Starfall.com can be a good resource for practicing letter sounds.
- Click here for a list of words that can be sounded out and spelled with just the letter cards: l, m, r, t, b, s, a, i. Set out letter cards with these letters on them and ask learner to use them to spell the words you read from the list.
- PACK of Games For the Letter Sounds that we made quite a while ago. (Print picture cards and labels back to back.)
- Games with short vowel sounds (These are also in Step 1):
- Short a, i THE CAT AND THE CAN
- Short a, u GET ON THE BUS
- Short o, u RUN IN THE SUN WITH THE FOX
- Short e, i PIG NINJAS DON’T WEAR WIGS
- Short e, o 10 MEN IN A TENT
- Short e, u, o, i AROUND THE BLOCK
- Short a, e, i, u RING AROUND
- Short a, e, i, u BEG FOR A CUP OF MILK
- Short a, e, i, o, u SUPER HERO SOUNDS
- Short a, e, i, o, u KARATE KIDS