Check a Beginning Reader's Letter to Sound Knowledge

Beginning readers need to know letter sounds and be able to blend these sounds to read. I like to teach early readers the most common sounds for letters that can make more than one sound first and teach the less common sound after a new reader makes the most common sound for a letter quickly and easily when it is presented.

Most books for beginning readers have words with the most common sounds of letters.

The short vowel sounds are the most common and are in words that are easy to read. These words follow the CVC rule and the VC rule.

The hard sounds of the letters c and g are what I teach first, like in cat and goat. (not circle and gem)

Here's a free Nonsense Word Test I created to check if a beginning reader can blend the most common letter sounds and read nonsense words. (You can make two copies of this test and circle the letters missed on your copy while a child reads.)

If a reader doesn't know letter sounds,
letters will not be helpful for reading!

Take some time to play with and teach letter sounds and get some good books to practice reading.

I really like K5 Learning. There are some great early reading tutorials presented in a variety of ways.



Jackie H. said...

So, what do you teach first letter name or letter sound? I know Montessori and others teach sound first, but Logan caught on to letter name first so that's what we went with. In Reading Recovery, we accepted a combination and then just built on that but I'm always interested to hear other's philosophies.

Michelle said...

Hi Jackie,
That is a good question. I like to teach a combination until both letter name and letter sound are known. People may think it would be confusing to teach both at the same time, but I think it's best to present sound and name together. It would be more confusing I think for a child to learn all the sounds and then tell a child to learn the names, or for a child to know all the letter names and then find out they also make a sound. It seems wrong to isolate the learning. If a child seems to have a preference like your son, it makes sense to go with it. I'd make sure that the child knows there will be sounds to learn soon too though.

I do have a preference when it comes to spelling a word. I like to teach using letter sounds as much as possible while spelling words. If it is a combination of letters I might say, "ar" the letters ar make the sound "ar" in the word car. When a child is spelling cat, I like to hear the sounds for each letter as the child writes the word.

Wise Owl Factory said...

The nonsense words are a great test of sound knowledge, and they are fun! Carolyn