Reading: it’s probably one of the most important skills a child can learn. Without reading, a child cannot understand a math book, history book or even directions. One of the first steps of reading is learning letter sounds. Here are some great resources for teachers who teach beginning readers.
Learning letter sounds is necessary for kids to sound out words. It can be as simple as using a thick marker and putting single letters on index cards and then laminating them. Here are some free printable cards with graphics. They are in PDF form and very cute.
This Fisher-Price phonics game uses colorful letters and pictures to help little ones learn letters and sounds. Level one says the letter name, sounds and gives an example of a word that starts with the letter. It also gives a picture. Level two gives two letters and then asks the player to choose which one makes a designated sound. The third level gives three pictures with words and tests to see if the child knows the letter sound one of the pictures begins with. You may need to install the free Macromedia Flash Player to see the game.
Starfall.com is an interactive site with a section for learning letters sounds. After kids learn their sounds, the next section has online, interactive phonic books. Each word is sounded out and then the entire word is said. The books have animated pictures too. Once kids know letter sounds, they can practice reading folk tales, comics, plays and more.
Songs are a fun way to reinforce letter sounds. Check out these songs from mrsjonesroom.com. Order entire albums and preview songs on songsforteaching.com. For lyrics and music to go with the song try kiddyhouse.com. All of these songs teach letters and sounds.
Use the worksheets from kidzone.com to enforce letter names and sounds. There are printables for all single letter beginning sounds, ending sounds and short vowels. Each worksheet has graphics and an area to trace the letter. These are good to do whole class for beginners and with some help for those who simply need independent practice.
Books and Programs
Of course the point of learning letters sounds is to read. Once your students or child is ready, try some leveled phonics readers. Browse this list of books and programs from scholastic.com. A great first step for the youngest reader is the Leap Frog Tag Junior reading system. My two-year old has this and enjoys it a lot. She is learning about concepts of print along with how words sound. There are tons of fun books and you can personalize the reader on the Leap Frog Website. When kids get a little older, they can move onto the Tag system. As Leap Frog says, it brings reading “magically to life.”