Kidaptive Blog

Wacky wordplay: Understanding letter sounds


Research consistently shows that phonological awareness is the most powerful predictor of reading ability. Having an awareness of the small sounds that make up spoken language, like syllables and phonemes (distinct units of sound that distinguish one word from another), provides the foundation for connecting those sounds to written letters.

Help your child with this important concept by playing a word-guessing game! Whether you’re in a waiting room, in line, or in the car, take turns with your learner thinking of a familiar object, and then give each other “sound clues” by slowly pronouncing its name. Wait a few seconds between saying each letter sound, and try to build off of the previous syllable when possible. For example, if the word is “dog”, you would make a “d” sound first: “[d]…” Then you’d add an “o” sound: “[d]…[aw]…” Finally you’d add the “g” sound: “[d]…[aw]…[g]”. If your learner hasn’t guessed the word by now, you can repeat all three sounds, shortening the pauses between them until you’re saying the word: “[d][aw][g]”.

By encouraging your child to practice blending individual sounds together (and even generate their own sounds, once they’re ready), you can help them develop a stronger understanding of spoken language that will make reading easier later on!

PLUS: Did you know that the game “Fusch’s Library” in Leo’s Pad Appisode 5 focuses on phonological awareness? Your child must use phonemes to help Fusch find the right book in his library, so he can read the story of the magical Wishing Fish. Have your learner try it for extra practice!

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