Teaching letter sounds is an essential step in starting to read with a child. Make or buy alphabet cards, download fun apps, and schedule your lessons to be prepared. First, introduce the letters that appear in simple words, such as lowercase and short vowel sounds. Divide similar letters to avoid confusion. Make the lessons fun by playing songs, using letter wheels, and playing with your child's favorite objects.
Part 1 of 3: Prepare the Lesson
Step 1. Make or buy picture cards of the alphabet
The best way to teach letter sounds to a child is to associate them with a particular word. Buy illustrated and colored alphabet cards (at a bookstore or online) or buy index cards and draw your own. The letters should be in bold and easy to identify, while the pictures that appear should represent things the child knows.
For example, the card with the letter "A" sounds should include both uppercase "A" and lowercase "a", and may have a picture of something starting with "A" like a bird
Step 2. Download apps to learn letter sounds
These can reinforce your child's lessons in a fun and interactive way and keep him entertained. Applications for learning letter sounds are available for both iPhones and Androids. Try to download:
- Alphabet in Spanish Alphabet, an application for Android that allows children to learn the sound of letters with interactive games
- ABC: lines and phonetics, an application for iPhone and Android that teaches the sounds of letters through fun and interactive games
- Alphabet for Kids, an app for Android and iPhone that uses interactive games to create letter associations
Step 3. Establish a schedule
Plan specific times to teach the child the letter sounds when you know he will be most receptive to the lesson (for example, after nap). Make the lessons fun and enjoyable. If the child becomes frustrated or bored, continue the lesson at another time.
Part 2 of 3: Introducing Letter Sounds
Step 1. First teach some letters
Start by explaining to your child the letter sounds that occur most frequently in simple words. Starting with the sounds of the letters "a", "m", "t", "p", "o", "n", "c", "d", for example, will allow you to use words like "mom, "Daddy," "finger," "nothing", and "everything." Use the alphabet cards, which should have easy-to-identify pictures for words like "cat" and "dad."
To properly use the alphabet card, you must say the word indicated by the drawing and pronounce the initial sound of the word loudly (for example, "Eeeeeelefante")
Step 2. First introduce the lowercase letters
It teaches to identify the sounds of lowercase letters first, since they appear more frequently in texts. If necessary, cross out the capital letters on the alphabet cards when you first introduce the letter sounds to the child. Review them and come back to them when you teach the capital letters.
Step 3. Introduce the sounds of the short vowels before the long vowels
Short vowel sounds are the most common and correspond to the letters "a", "e", "i", "o", "u". Vowel sounds are continuous sounds and should last for a full 2 seconds. Using the alphabet cards, introduce the child to each sound in relation to the picture (for example, the picture of a sheep for the letter "o") and have him repeat the sound after you, several times, until he can say it by itself.
Exaggerate when pronouncing short vowel sounds (for example, pursing the lips or making hand gestures) to create a stronger association in the child's mind
Step 4. Separate the similar letters
It is important to teach letter sounds that look the same (for example, "b" and "d") at different times. Learning these letters all at once can be very confusing for children. Wait at least several days for the child to memorize the associations for one letter and create new ones for the other.
Once the child has learned the sound of the letter "b", for example, you can explain that "d" is different from "b"
Part 3 of 3: Have fun with letter sounds
Step 1. Play songs to make it easier to learn letter sounds
To get your child to participate in the classes, download educational songs that focus on the sounds of the letters. Songs for Teaching, for example, is an educational website that sells MP3s of educational songs, including a large selection of phonetic-based music. Song lyrics are displayed so you can sing along with your child and create clear associations with the sounds of the words that are emphasized.
Step 2. Use a letter wheel
Letter wheels are interactive paper toys that children can spin to match a letter to a picture of a word that matches that sound. For example, the letter "m" may match a picture of a mother. Visit https://www.educaplanet.com/actividadespdf/rueda-abecedario-educaplanet-eb.pdf for free letter wheel printed material and instructions.
Step 3. Use the child's favorite toys
Use your child's favorite toys to create interactive games with clear associations. For example, place your child's favorite stuffed animals and plastic toys on the floor and pick up an alphabet card (or draw a letter on a board or paper). Ask the child to choose the toy that corresponds to that letter; for example, he will have to grab his toy truck if you pick up the letter "c".
Step 4. Read with the child
Reading with your child is a great way to bond with him. It also contributes to developing the cognitive functions associated with reading, such as pattern and sequence recognition. Read short, colorful books with him to lay the foundation for his reading ability.