09 July, 2010

Sound It Out

We all know the "alphabet song". "A,B,C,D,E,F,G..."Now you're humming it, right? 

Sure, it's a cute song with a catchy tune, but I have one little problem with it. The song does not do a very good job preparing your child to read. Why not? Doesn't reading consist of words and don't words consist of letters.Yes. But...

Letters make sounds. In order to read words, one must produce the sounds that the letters, or combinations of letters, make. For this reason, when teaching young children to read, it is more important to teach the sounds that the letters of the alphabet make rather than their names.

Today's literacy activity is geared toward toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergartners- or anyone just beginning to learn to read. You will need 31 index cards, a marker, and some old magazines.

First, write one letter of the alphabet on each card. Be sure to write the lower case version of each of the letters. On the back of the card, find a picture that depicts a word containing that letter sound. Write the word underneath the picture and underline the letter corresponding with the letter on the card.

For consonants, find pictures depicting words beginning with that letter.
For example, on the "s" card, you can cut out a picture of a sun.

For the vowels (a,e,i,o,u), you will have 2 cards for each vowel (one for the short sound and one for the long sound). Find pictures depicting words with the letter's sound in the middle of the word. Underline the letter corresponding with the letter on the card.
For example, one "a" card could have a picture of a "cat", and the other "a" card could have a picture of a "game".

When you are finished cutting and pasting, you will have your very own set of "alphabet sound flash cards". To work with your child, show the card and ask him/her to tell you the sound that the letter makes. Show the picture on the back to reinforce the letter sound in the word.

*For older children, creating alphabet sound cards is a good reinforcement activity.

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