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Identifying the sounds in words

The easiest way to know how to spell a word is to listen for the sounds in that word. Even with the tricky words an understanding of letter sounds can help.

Start by having your child listen for the first sound in a word. Games like I-Spy are ideal for this. Next try listening for the end sounds, as the middle sound of the word is the hardest to hear.

Begin with simple three letter words such as cat or hot. A good idea is to say a word and tap out the sounds. Three taps means three sounds. Say each sound as you tap. Take care with digraphs. The word fish, for instance, has four letters but only three sounds, f-i-sh. Rhyming games, poems and the Jolly Jingles also help tune the ears to the sounds in words. Other games to play are:

Add a sound: what do i get if i add to p to the beginning of ink?  Answer: pink. Other examples are m-ice, b-us, etc.

Take away a sound: what do I get if i take away p from pink? Answer: ink  Other examples as above, and f-lap, s-lip, c-rib, d-rag, p-ant, m-end, s-top, b-end, s-t-rip, etc.

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