Friday, 25 September 2015 04:18

Understanding Letters and Sounds

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Understanding Letters and Sounds





The early stages of reading and writing have many similarities as children learn different symbols and their meanings. There are 3 different types of symbol systems used by children to understand the key concepts of reading and writing. These include phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and alphabet knowledge.






Phonological Awareness

Phonological awareness provides experiences that creates acute awareness for your child to the rhythms and sound patterns of their culture’s language. For a child to become phonological aware they need to be able to hear rhyme words like eat, meat and seat. They also need to be able to identify and split syllables. For example, a child is able to distinguish different chunks in words like (Pe –ter).

Rhymes are extremely important process for a child’s development as it teaches children about sounds. Singing different nursery rhymes in your native language also helps children appreciate their cultural background. It is important that you sing the rhyme over and over again clapping the rhyme as it is sung. Recording the rhyme on your phone or electronic device is another great way to teach your child phonological awareness as they can play the rhyme back as many times as they want.

Syllables are the large chunks of sound that form the rhythm of a word. For a child these chunks are easier to identify than single sounding words. It is important that your child hears the chunks of sounds in familiar words like ‘el-e-va-tor’.

Below I have provided a game that you can play with your child to build their understanding of syllables:

  • Have your child say and clap a child’s name, then ask your child to clap and repeat it and clap the rhythm. Start with one or two syllables and then build up with multiple syllables.
  • Once your child are able to say and clap their name, try clapping the pattern of a name and see if they can recognise their name by rhythm.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the process of hearing sounds in spoken language. For example, English consists of 44 phonemes which are the smallest units of sounds in words. It is important for children to identify individual sounds in words, so they can use this skill when sounding out words for writing and reading. For your child to become proficient with phonemic awareness, they need to be able to hear and change sounds in words. For example ‘hat’ has three sounds or phonemes h/a/t and if you change ‘h’ to‘s’ you have a new word ‘sat’.

Alphabet Knowledge

The relationship between sounds and letters is referred to as ‘phonics’. Phonics includes an understanding of the relationships between the patterns of letters and the patterns of sounds. This can be quite complex with the English language as there is no simple one-to-one relationship between a sound and the letter/s used to represent it. For example, if we look at the words ‘rain’ and ‘day’ we can see that the letters ‘ai’ represents a sound in ‘rain’ while ‘ay’ is used for the same sound in ‘day’.




Playing with your Child’s Name

A child’s name is very special and intriguing to them and is one of the first words they learn to recognise so it is a great tool for learning about letters and sounds.

Make a card with your child’s name and photo on it and place it on a table amongst other blank cards. Have your child find their name amongst the cards and place it onto a board. When your child is familiar with this process encourage them to experiment with their name by placing it next to other words that start with the same letters or has the same number of letters.

Read 2111 times Last modified on Friday, 25 September 2015 04:27

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