You are on page 1of 7

READIN

Letter/Sound Association
READINGWORKS
Letter/Sound Association (grades ldndergarten and up)

Readings for Teachers


By kindergarten, children should begin learning individual letter/sound associations so that they will be prepared to
do more advanced phonics and word study. Letter/sound association involves the ability to visually distinguish
among letters and associate letters with sounds. It is an early stage of phonics instruction.

How and When Children Learn Leiter/Sound Associations


Some children learn letter/sound associations in pre-kindergarten. Others will be introduced to letter/sound
associations when they enter kindergarten. Letter/sound associations should be introduced in an accelerated way
during the first part of the kindergarten year (perhaps two letters a week) so that children can use that knowledge to
begin analyzing and reading words.

Instructional sequence. There is no one correct sequence of introducing letter/sounds to children. Often children
learn the letters in their name or in popular products before systematic instruction in this area begins. Many school
districts have a prescribed sequence of alphabet introduction. Following is a sequence suggested by McCracken and
McCracken (1998).

Kindergarten Instructional Sequence

MSFBTC
a
RL
0
DGNW
i
HJKV
u
YQZX
e

We selected the McCracken and McCracken sequence because a number of consonants are introduced first.
Consonant sounds are more stable than vowel sounds. However, after children learn some consonants, a vowel, /a/,
can be introduced so that children can begin to make and read simple words such as at, cat and bat

Writing. One of the most effective ways in which children learn letter/sound associations is through writing. As
mentioned in the section on Functions and Conventions of Print, children begin with drawing and then progress to
scribbling and trying to write or copy random letters that they see in their environment. As children learn letter/
sound associations, they begin to write letters in an effort to represent the sounds that they hear in words. First, they
use temporary spelling to write letters representing the initial sounds in words. Then they usually begin to hear (and
write) the final sounds of words. Finally, they begin to hear (and write) the middle sounds of words. Over time, they
can write more complete and accurate representations of words. On the next page is a chart that shows a common
~ progression of children's writing.
-/

Copyright ThinkingWorks, Ltd. This page may be reproduced only for classroom use or for use by a student's parent or tutor. 31 l
READINGWORKS
Stages ofWriting Development

Understands print has meaning Scribbling


~

Becomes aware of letters Letterlike

LS (
Recognizes distinctive features ofletters Random Letters DT
Patterned Letters CTCT

Begins to identify own name Name like


KCE

Uses letters to represent words - but letters don't Copying CAT


represent sounds. BTP (cat)

Begins to learn letter/sound relationships - usually uses c (cookie)


one letter to represent a word

Attends to beginning and ending sounds of words CT (cat)

Hears sounds in the middle of the word. Spells the word C KE (cookie)
as it sounds.

Learns more letters and sounds and begins to approach COOKE


correct spelling lwantabik

Spells correctly COOKIE


I want a bike

Copyright ThinldngWor~. Ltd. This page may be reproduced only for classroom use or for use by a student's parent or tutor. 312
READINGWORKS
Letter/Sound Association (grades ldnderganen and up)

Letter/sound association activities. There are a variety of activities that you can use to help children learn letter/
sound associations. The activities fall into four categories:
Phonics activities that encourage children to (1) analyze and isolate sounds and link letters and sounds
together (ISOLATE); (2) practice letter/sound associations (PRACTICE); and (3) sound out words and
spell them using temporary spelling with the sounds they know (WRITE);
Reading in context activities that encourage children to look for words in books and their environment that
include the letter/sound associations they are learning;
Sight word activities that help children learn some words that occur frequently in print so they can
recognize them instantly;
Fluency activities that encourage children to recognize a series of words instantly so they can read words
in a simple text immediately and smoothly.

Note that there are three types of activities in addition to phonics activities. Reading in context, sight word and
fluency activities are just as critical to building literacy skills as phonics activities. Reading words in context gives
children an opportunity to apply what they are learning about letter/sound associations. Sight word activities help
them learn simple words that occur frequently in print and their environment, encouraging instant word recognition.
And finally, although it is important for children to be able to read words, it is also important for them to recognize a
series of words so that they can read fluently. If a child reads in a choppy manner, he will eventually lose the sense
of what he is reading. The more efficiently a child recognizes words in text, the more attention he can pay to
comprehension and reflections about the text. Repeated rea,dings of the same text and reading a wide variety of texts
will help children develop fluent reading skills because they continuously encounter many of the same words.

The activities that are included in this section reflect the components necessary for learning letter/sound association.
Generally, you will want to teach six strategies daily, one from each of the three phonics sections of the menu and
one from each of the other parts of the menu, reading words in context, sight words and fluency. The phonics
activities should be done first, immediately followed by an activity for reading words in context. The sight words
and fluency activities can be introduced in the order that you wish. NOTE: the activities highlighted in gray are the
authors' ''first choice" for each area. Also, you may want to select certain activities to meet the needs of specific
children in your class. You can determine those needs by using the assessment instruments descnbed in Section Five
of this book.

Copyright ThinkingWorks, I.td. This page may be reproduced only for classroom use or for use by a student's parent or tutor. 3a3
READINGWORKS
Letter/Sound Association (grades kindergarten and up)

Readings for Parents, Tutors and Caregivers


Once phonemic awareness begins to develop, children can learn letter/sound associations. This is the next step in
learning to read.

What Is Leffer/Souncl Association?


Letter/sound association is the ability to visually distinguish among letters and associate the letters with sounds. It is
an early stage of phonics learning. Phonics is an approach to reading that is based on the use ofletter/sound
correspondences to decode words.

Why is Leffer/Souncl Association Important?


Skilled readers know the sounds associated with letters of the alphabet. This knowledge is an essential step toward
the study and reading of words.

How Can I Help My Chilcl Learn Leffer/Souncl Associations?


It is imperative that children not just recite the alphabet, but visually discriminate among letters and associate them
with their sounds. There is no one correct sequence of introducing letter/sound associations to children. Often
children learn the letters in their name or in popular products before systematic instruction in this area begins.
NOTE: your child's teacher will share with you the letters that are being introduced in the classroom so that you can
practice them with your child at home.

Children learn letter/sound associations by doing various phonics activities that involve them in identifying,
practicing, writing and reading letter/sound associations in text materials. As your child is beginning to read, it is
also important for him to learn sight words, that is, common words or words that cannot be sounded out through
phonics. Your child also needs to practice reading quickly or fluently both sight words and words containing the
sounds that he is learning. Your child's teacher can suggest activities that encourage him to read fluently.

Copyright ThinkingWorks, Ltd. This page may be reproduced only for classroom use or for use by a student's parent or tutor. 314
READINGWORKS
Suggested Books for Letter/Sound Association
r Branley, F. M. (1985). Flash, crash rumble & roll. New York: Harper & Row.
dePaola, T. (1985). Hey diddle diddle and other Mother Goose rhymes. New York: Putnam.
Ehlert, L. (1989). Eating the alphabet: fruits and vegetables from A to Z. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
Hague, K. (1984). Alphabears. New York: Henry Holt.
Hoberman, M.A. (1982). A house is a house for me. New York: Penguin.
Lewiston, W. (1992). "Buzz" said the bee. NewYork: Scholastic.
Prelutsky, J. (1982). The baby eggs are hatching. New York: Mulbeny Books.
Slobodkina, E. (1940). Caps for sale. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
Sendak, M. (1990). Alligators all around- an alphabet. New York: Harper & Row.
Sendak, M. (1962). Chicken soup with rice. New York: Harper & Row.

Copyright ThinkingWorks, Ltd. This page may be reproduced only for classroom use or for use by a student's parent or tutor. 315
READINGWORKS
Menu ofLetter/Sound Association Activities

Reading Words in
Phonics
Context

Isolate Practice Write

Sorting by Sound Pick-Up Spelling Boxes Letter Hunt ..


I"'

Alternative Letter Clues Alphabet Bingo Dictated Words and Alphabet Books
Strategies Alphabet Concentration Sentences Word Hunt
Alphabet Puzzles Personal Response
Alphabet Songs Showcase Letter
Alphabet Sorting
Ready-Set-Show!
Tongue Twisters

Sight Words Fluency

Word Banks Patterned Text

Alternative Building Words Original Books


Strategies Word Bingo Remade Books
Word Hunt Text Innovations
Word Matching

Copyright Thinking Works, ltd. This page may be reproduced only for classroom use or for use by a student's parent or tutor. 316