Beginning Reading

The Short-a Sound

The first sound we introduce is the short-a sound.
The following script is provided as an example of the type of dialog you might use to introduce the lesson.

Today is the day we're going to begin learning how to match letters to their sounds so you can read words.

Have you ever thought about the fact that words are really just sounds? And the neat thing about the sounds in our language is each one has one or more symbols that stand for it. We call these symbols letters!

When letters are printed on paper, they tell us what sounds to make with our voices. We call that reading! So…let’s start reading!

We’ll begin with a really good sound to help us read words. We hear it at the beginning of words, like: am, an, as, at, and ax; and in the middle of words like: cat, bat, and mat.
Did you hear the sound?

Great, listen carefully as I say it again. Then I'm going to ask you to repeat it after me.
The sound this letter makes is /ă/... in "apple."

STEP ONE: Introduce each "new" letter/sound in isolation.

You can see this demonstrated in the "Pop Up" video from Eduational Solutions. Also, offers a couple of nice pages for introducing individual letters. (Click on the sparkling letters in each video to activate the next part of the lesson.)

   Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo, Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, Zz

Here is another link to access the same activities. Click on the appropriate alphabet block for an introductory vowel or consonant lesson, and on a vowel at the bottom of the webpage for an introductory song.

Though we prefer to reserve the names of the letters until after our learners have thoroughly leaned their sounds, and elect not teach the long-vowel sounds until the next level of instruction, the following videos nonetheless provide both repitition making the short-vowel sounds and practice with "air-writing" the letters.

    A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z

We included this next activity because we think it makes identifying letters/sounds more fun. We only wish it offered the instructor more control in terms of choosing exactly which phoneme the learner practices recognizing.

Ask your child to point to the letter that makes the sound you are currently teaching or the sounds you wish to review. (Run the mouse across a letter several times and you can get a pretty cool "rapp" effect.)

This webpage identifies the letters by name instead of by sound. However, we include it because we think it's a nice substitute for letter/picture cards. (We also noticed it uses a soft-g sound, which sounds like "j" instead of the hard-g sound as in "girl.")

The sound this letter makes is /ă/.

Now YOU try it.