Monday, November 14, 2016

Sound to Letter

For most of us beginning literacy was focused on saying the name of a letter and listing words that started with the letter.  Although this can be a useful tool for building vocabulary, it is not the most efficient way of helping a child move toward reading and writing.

Our brain, like our language, is hardwired for sound.  We need to understand sounds before we can read or write independently.  One task that we do with the students during 1-on-1 work time is help students focus on the sounds that can be heard in a word.

The video below is of Elena. We were working on listening for the initial sounds in a word. After she identified that letter and sound for the card, we tried to find more words that started with that same sound. You will notice at the end of the video she struggles a bit coming up with one more word that starts with /z/ and gives "snooze." After we finished filming this short video, Elena and I talked about that word choice.  We broke down where the /z/ was in snooze, and then came up with a few more words that ended with /z/.


If she had been focusing on the /s/ sound that would mean that when generating words with the same sound Elena may have given soft c words (ie. city).  This would have been acceptable at this stage of development.  

There are times that our focus may be on the final sound in a word or middle sounds. Helping children break down words into smaller sections moves them toward a full understanding of letters and toward the reading and writing process.

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