Not only the letters on the page are important when talking about reading, but the sounds that each letter make are extremely important. I found this out myself when my son who is dyslexic was learning the letter sounds at about a third of the rate of other kids. That meant that after three years of preschool and half of kindergarten he was just barely able to remember the 26 letters and associated sounds to each letter.
The series of posts I’m doing on this subject matter are expanded from an article I found called 10 Kindergarten Readiness Skills Your Child Needs from 2013. Despite the article being older, the areas it covers are still basic areas of study and behavior that should be paid attention to.
Area 3: Beginning Sounds
What is a beginning sound?
It’s exactly that! The sound at the beginning of the word! Each word is made up of a few different sounds depending on the letters in it. Luckily Kindergarten level reading usually only a few letters long.
To learn the sounds that make up these words is called Phonemic Awareness.
At kindergarten level the beginning words that kids learn are called cvc words consonant-vowel-consonant. Appropriately this consists of a beginning, middle and ending sound.
Luckily the beginning letter sounds are easier to learn because they are at the beginning of the word.
Where should kids start?
Most of us speak and read English so well that we don’t think about the language presented to us until we have to teach another person.
It’s hard to know where to start but don’t worry. Here is one place to begin with: continuous sound versus stop sounds.
The website primarylearning.org explains them as follows:
Most important to remember is to say each letter correctly. For instance saying the letter “b” more like “buh” is something that will cause confusion when sounding out words.
Practical ways to teach the beginning sounds
Listen to the beginning sounds in words
A fun way to connect letters and their sounds is to get your kids to sing a song!
Our kindergarten used this song to teach our kids their letter sounds.
Leap Frog has a great group of videos for learning. Here is the letter sounds song to play for your little one.
Matching the beginning sounds to words
A good way to get kids to see which letters and sounds go with which words is to get a collection of words with 1-2 different sounds and have them sort them by beginning Sounds.
- Write the following words on index cards: Bat. Ball. Bean. Cat. Cake. Call. Dug. Dot. Dolly.
- Mix these words up.
- Sort them by beginning sounds.
There are a lot of different worksheets online to help with this. Merely google “beginning sounds activities” and you’ll find a bunch.
October is a long time away, but this past October I helped celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month. I’m a big supporter of this awareness month because my son is dyslexic and the way that we knew he was having issues with this learning disability is that his letter recognition skills were poor.
My son was a November baby and we started him early in preschool. At two and a half that first year was mostly about learning to go to school and listen to the teacher, but after 3 years of preschool and a year of Kindergarten he was still having issues remembering letters.
With early testing we realized he was dyslexic in Kindergarten.
He’s now in 2nd grade and with a private tutor he was thriving, but if left up to the school district we are in he wouldn’t have received services for dyslexia until after 3rd grade.
Early intervention for dyslexia and other learning disabilities is important, so make sure you’re paying attention to how your child reacts to having to tell you the letter sounds.
Find more great kindergarten educational videos on my YouTube playlist: Kindergarten Skills Videos
I hope you learned a lot from this article and don’t forget to check out the other posts in this series: