Teaching your child to read/spell Series: Initial sounds

For the next week or so I will be posting lots of tips, games and explanations on how to help your child with ” initial sounds”.

Let’s look at a basic “cvc”  (consonant-vowel-consonant) word that children will learn to read and spell:

The word “cat” comprises 3 sounds:

  • Initial sound: c
  • Medial sound: a
  • Final sound: t

These sounds are not equally easy for a child to hear and beginner readers are always taught to develop sound awareness in the following order:

  • intial
  • final
  • medial

When we voice a word it is common that we stress the the first sound so it is therefore the easiest to hear. I will not discuss the other sounds right now. Let’s just stick to ” initial sounds” 🙂

So, now that I know that “initial sounds” are the starting point for reading and spelling how do I actually help my child?!

Here is today’s game from starfall.com

Starfall covers each letter of the alphabet individually. I just love this for beginner readers. Lots of games for initial sounds cover the entire alphabet. This means that a child can only play when her/she knows all of them! This format allows you to pick a new sound or revise an old one. It is a great way to supplement or reinforce the letter sound that your child is covering in school this week.

Starfall is fun, clear and easy to use making it suitable for your pre-schooler who insists on using your computer or iPad! He or she/will learn to associate letter sounds with the written letter just through play!

Your child clicks on the “initial sound” in pizza which is already highlighted and clear. When you click on the letter you hear it’s phonetic sound for further reinforcement and learning.

Now we can see the initial sounds of pepperoni and pizza are both “p”.

Sitting with your child will allow you to naturally discuss, question and probe sounds when they are new. After a while your child will understand and can just enjoy playing and learning the phonetic sounds.

It is also a sneaky place for adults to check that they are pronouncing the sounds correctly 😉

This time your child clicks on the “p” and the word is revealed. Again, the initial sound is highlighted and allows you to point it out and discuss it.

I hope that you find this series useful. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Have fun,

Miss Mernagh 🙂


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