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Here are some fun ways to practice identifying a word’s initial sound:

Once they can successfully identify initial sounds, then you can take that a step further and add some letters. If your child does not know their letters yet, you can model for them first.

When you are working on beginning sounds, you say a word and have your child identify the sound. For example, hold up a pot, and then ask, “what is the first sound you hear in the word pot?”.  You want your child to say the sound /p/.

Then as a second step, ask your child if they know what letter spells or makes that /p/ sound. You can provide a few magnetic letters, tiles, or write down a few different letters, and then have them choose the letter that makes the sound. Once your child starts to get better at this, you can increase the number of letters provided.

The most important thing to remember is to focus on identifying sounds first, and then add the letters.

Fun fact: According to the National Reading Panel, identifying beginning sounds by the end of preschool (4K) is one of the strongest predictors of future reading success!

About the Author

Heidi Jane is a teacher and parent focused on bringing the Science of Reading to every classroom across America. Heidi is dedicated to educating parents on the science of reading.

Follow Heidi for tips on how to give your child the tools they need to become confident readers:

Instagram: @droppinknowledgewithheidi

TikTok: @learningwithheidi

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