April 18, 2015
What are letter-sound correspondences?Letter-sound correspondences involve knowledge of the sounds represented by the letters of the alphabet the letters used to represent the sounds.
Why is knowledge of letter-sound correspondences important?
Knowledge of letter-sound correspondences is essential in reading and writing
In order to read a word:
- the learner must recognize the letters in the word and associate each letter with its sound
- In order to write or type a word:
- the learner must break the word into its component sounds and know the letters that represent these sounds.
Knowledge of letter-sound correspondences and phonological awareness skills are the basic building blocks of literacy learning. These skills are strong predictors of how well students learn to read.
What sequence should be used to teach letter-sound correspondence?
Letter-sound correspondences should be taught one at a time. As soon as the learner acquires one letter sound correspondence, introduce a new one. I suggest teaching the letters and sounds in this sequence: a, m, t, p, o, n, c, d, u, s, g, h, i, f, b, l, e, r, w, k, x, v, y, z, j, q
This sequence was designed to help learners start reading as soon as possible. Letters that occur frequently in simple words (e.g., a, m, t) are taught first. Letters that look similar and have similar sounds (b and d) are separated in the instructional sequence to avoid confusion. Short vowels are taught before long vowels.
Lower case letters are taught first since these occur more frequently than upper case letters. The sequence is intended as a guideline. Modify the sequence as required to accommodate the learner’s
prior knowledge, interests, hearing.
Is it appropriate to teach letter names as well as letter sounds?
Start by teaching the sounds of the letters, not their names. Knowing the names of letters is not necessary to read or write. Knowledge of letter names can interfere with successful decoding.
For example, the learner looks at a word and thinks of the names of the letters instead of the sounds.
Sample goal for instruction in letter-sound correspondences:
The learner will listen to a target sound presented orally identify the letter that represents the sound
select the appropriate letter from a group of letter cards, an alphabet board, or a keyboard with at least 80% accuracy.
Here is an example of instruction to teach letter-sound correspondences. The instructor introduces the new letter and its sound shows a card with the letter m and says the sound “mmmm.” After practice with this letter sound, the instructor provides review.
The instructor says a letter sound
The learner listens to the sound, looks at each of the letters provided as response options, selects the correct letter, from a group of letter cards, from an alphabet board, or from a keyboard.
The instructor teaches letter-sound correspondences using these procedures:
The instructor demonstrates the letter-sound correspondence for the learner.
The instructor provides scaffolding support or prompting to help the learner match the letter and sound correctly.
The instructor gradually fades this support as the learner develops competence.
The learner listens to the target sound and selects the letter independently. The instructor monitors the learner’s responses and provides appropriate feedback.
The Alphabetic Principle Plan of Instruction:
Teach letter-sound relationships explicitly and in isolation. Provide opportunities for children to practice letter-sound relationships in daily lessons. Provide practice opportunities that include new sound-letter relationships, as well as cumulatively reviewing previously taught relationships.
Give children opportunities early and often to apply their expanding knowledge of sound-letter relationships to the reading of phonetically spelled words that are familiar in meaning.
Rate and Sequence of Instruction
No set rule governs how fast or how slow to introduce letter-sound relationships. One obvious and important factor to consider in determining the rate of introduction is the performance of the group of students with whom the instruction is to be used. Furthermore, there is no agreed upon order in which to introduce the letter-sound relationships. It is generally agreed, however, that the earliest relationships introduced should be those that enable children to begin reading words as soon as possible. That is, the relationships chosen should have high utility. For example, the spellings m, a, t, s, p, and h are high utility, but the spellings x as in box, gh, as in through, ey as in they, and a as in want are of lower utility.
It is also a good idea to begin instruction in sound-letter relationships by choosing consonants such as f, m, n, r, and s, whose sounds can be pronounced in isolation with the least distortion. Stop sounds at the beginning or middle of words are harder for children to blend than are continuous sounds.
Instruction should also separate the introduction of sounds for letters that are auditorily confusing, such as /b/ and /v/ or /i/ and /e/, or visually confusing, such as b and d or p and g.
Instruction might start by introducing two or more single consonants and one or two short vowel sounds. It can then add more single consonants and more short vowel sounds, with perhaps one long vowel sound. It might next add consonant blends, followed by digraphs (for example, th, sh, ch), which permits children to read common words such as this, she,and chair. Introducing single consonants and consonant blends or clusters should be introduced in separate lessons to avoid confusion.
The point is that the order of introduction should be logical and consistent with the rate at which children can learn. Furthermore, the sound-letter relationships chosen for early introduction should permit children to work with words as soon as possible.
Many teachers use a combination of instructional methods rather than just one. Research suggests that explicit, teacher-directed instruction is more effective in teaching the alphabetic principle than is less-explicit and less-direct instruction.
Guidelines for Rate and Sequence of InstructionRecognize that children learn sound-letter relationships at different rates. Introduce sound-letter relationships at a reasonable pace, in a range from two to four letter-sound relationships a week.
Teach high-utility letter-sound relationships early. Introduce consonants and vowels in a sequence that permits the children to read words quickly. Avoid the simultaneous introduction of auditorily or visually similar sounds and letters. Introduce single consonant sounds and consonant blends/clusters in separate lessons. Provide blending instruction with words that contain the letter-sound relationships that children have learned.
Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I'm Ms. Whiteley. I teach in the beautiful Mile High state--Colorado. This is my 13th year teaching in an rural K-6 Elementary school as a Exceptional Needs Teachers. As Exceptional Needs National Board Certified Teacher, I believe that ALL students can learn and be successful. When I'm not in school, I love to take my two Italian Greyhounds hiking 14ers and reaching for the stars. Thanks for Hopping By.
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