Sound manipulation - part 3

     We know that the abilities to listen and speak precede reading and writing. 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 third type of sound manipulation needs an understanding that a one-syllable word or sound is also known as a phoneme. This refers to a group  of letters making a sound together. 

     There are six different approaches to helping children to work with phonemes:

     Matching Think of words that start the same way. Examples include cat and kite,  girl and give, first and phone. Note that the similarities are by sound and not by spelling. When the children get older, they learn that these sounds may have different spellings. But with the younger children we are working with  sounds, no matter what letters spell them. 

  • Isolation 
    What sounds do you hear at the beginning of words such as bug (/b/), hop (/h/), and toy (/t/)? Note that children are repeating the sound, rather  than the names of the letters.
  • Substitution 
    What word would you have if you changed the /ch/ in chain to /r/; the /p/ in pill to /f/; and the /s/ in sit to /f/?
  • Blending 
    What word would you have if you put these sounds together: /p/-/l/-/a/-/n/ (plan); /f/-/l/-/a/-/t/ (flat); /s/-/t/-/r/-/i/-/n/-/g/  (string).
  • Segmentation 
    Tell the parts that you hear in these words: glass (/g/-/l/-/a/-/s/); up (/u/-/p/); town (/t/-/ow/-/n/)
  • Deletion 
    Say these word without the first sounds: meat without the /m/; house without the /h/; pen without the /p/. When words rhyme and are also spelled similarly, children can learn many words by knowing one pattern, such as:  beat, feat, heat, meat, seat; house, mouse, blouse, spouse; pen, Ben, den, hen, Jen, Len, men, pen, ten.
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

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