Learning to hear sounds in words will be very helpful when your child begins to read. The more awareness your child has of the connection between the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes, the more prepared he or she will be when starting school. Here are fun letter sound activities to play with your child:
1. Use your child’s name to link to other words that start with the same letter sound. For example “Jessica, the word word jam starts the same as your name: with a J.”
2. Say several letter sounds very slowly, and see if your child can recognize the word you are spelling. For example: c a t.
3. Cut out pictures from a magazine that start with the same sound or draw them on index cards. For example: ball, book, bat (see samples on the left). Use a set of picture cards to have your child sort the pictures by initial sounds. Pioneer Valley Books sells picture cards here and you can also get them at any bookstore or by doing a search on Amazon.
4. Have your child find little objects around the house that start with the same sound. Picture, pillow, puzzle; sofa, sink, soap; cat, camera, coat; rug, remote, raincoat; necklace, napkin, newspaper, and so on.
5. Play “I Spy” in the car with initial letter sounds as clues. For example: “I spy something that starts with an mmmmm m sound.” (Say the sound and the name of the letter). Have your child look around for objects that begin with the letter m.
No matter what you do, remember that, as the parent, you are your child’s greatest influence on his or her reading success. Take time to read and practice words and have fun in the process!