When I was a kid people taught letter names before they taught letter sounds. If you visit a Montessori school you will find that they do not even teach the names of the letters, they only teach the letter sounds. So the question, “Should letter sounds be taught with letter names,” is a valid question.
The answer is yes according to The National Reading Panel’s report that was released in 2000. According to the NRP,
It is essential to teach letters as well as phonemic awareness to beginners. PA training is more effective when children are taught to use letters to manipulate phonemes. This because knowledge of letters is essential for transfer to reading and spelling (2000).
Therefore, it is important to teach not only the letter names, but also the letter sounds. Yesterday we took a look at a fun way to teach letter names with the names of our family members. So if we were taking a look at the name grandpa, we could say, “The name of the letter is g, the sound of the letter is /g/. Do you hear it? /g/ /g/ /g/ grampa”
Not only can the names of family members and friends be used, but you can also teach the letter names and sounds by playing fun games.
Bingo – Choose a 3 x3 Bingo grid or a 4 x 4 Bingo grid. Write some letters of the alphabet that your child knows and some letters of the alphabet that your child is working on in each of the boxes on the board. Use the alphabet card deck to call the letters or the sounds and have the child put an x on each one that is called. Whoever gets a straight row is the winner.
Memory – Use two decks of alphabet cards (just print out two of these). Flip the cards over so that the white side is showing and the letters cannot be seen. The child flips over a letter and says the sound that it makes. If the child does not know the sound, then tell her the sound it makes. Then, the child flips over another letter and looks to see if they match. If the letters match, then the child gets another turn. The person with the most matches at the end of the game wins.
Go fish – Use two decks of the alphabet cards and mix them up. Deal 3 cards to each player. The youngest player starts and asks if you have a certain letter or sound. If you have the letter, then you need to give it to the child and the child goes again. If you do not have the letter, then the child gets to pick a letter from the pile and it is your turn. Whoever is out of cards first is the winner.
Learning the names of letters and sounds can be so much fun. The more fun that you make this activity the less it will seem like learning or work for the child. What are some of the creative ways that you teach letter names and sounds?