Sound manipulation - part 2

     We know that the abilities to listen and speak precede those to read and write. With this in mind, word play known as sound manipulation can be used to help strengthen reading and writing when children are ready to do so. Oral language play like this can be fun for adult and child when they are traveling together or at home. It takes no equipment - just a basic understanding on the part of the adult. 

     The second type of sound manipulation needs an understanding that some words begin with an onset sound and then a group of letters, a rime, that can also appear in other words. The word play of rhyming helps in this  activity.

     Sometimes rhyming sounds are words and sometimes they are nonsense words. It is up to the adult to differentiate between the two and provide a rich vocabulary experience for children in this activity.

     There are six different approaches to helping children in working with onset sounds and rimes:


 Think of other words that start the same way as start and stand, clap and cling, play and plump. Children should be able to match, whether you choose single letters (t, d, r, s) or blends (ch, sh, bl, gr).


 What sound do you hear at the beginning of black (/bl/); at the beginning of clown (/cl/); at the beginning of bright (/br/)?


What word would you have if you changed the /bl/ in black to /cr/? the /st/ in stock to /fl/? the /fl/ in flower to /t/?


     What word would you have if you put these sounds together:

 /pl/-/ane/ (plane);
 /br/-/ing/ (bring);
 /fl/-/ip/ (flip).


Tell the parts that you hear in this word:

 floor (/fl/-/oor/); 
 stuck  (/st/-/uck/); 
 bring (/br/-/ing/)


     Say these word without the first sounds: 

grin without the /gr/; 
fly  without the /fl/; 
plug without the /pl/.

     The knowledge that children gain while working in this area becomes a strength when they begin to read and write, as sounds that appear in words begin to repeat themselves in other words.

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

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