Episode 17: My Opinion about How to Help Your Child Sound Out the Alphabet Correctly

Correctly sounding out the alphabet is an important skill that children need to master to help them become good with their reading and writing (literacy). Teaching children how to sound out should precede teaching them how to read out the alphabet as sounding out is what will help them with their reading skills. 

To sound out the a particular letter in the alphabet correctly, parents and teachers or any other person should avoid adding vowels that distort the actual sound of that letter. This is called letter-sound conversion. For example when sounding out the letter “b”, I find that most parents and teachers sound it out as “ba”. As you can see, there is a difference between the “b” and “ba”,  the difference being the vowel that has been added to the “ba”.  When you add a sound to the end of the “b” it becomes a little confusing for a child. It is best that you just say the sound without adding that vowel. That vowel in “speech therapy” terms is called a “shwa”, 

Please watch the video below to hear how I sound out all the letters of the alphabet.

Final word

So there you have it,  ensure that you don’t say the “shwa” when sounding out the alphabet. Keep it as clean as possible to make it less confusing or distorting for your child. I hope this video will help you as a parent or a teacher/teacher assistant to teach the correct way of sounding out the alphabet.

Knowing how to sound out the alphabet correctly will help your child get up to par with their reading skills. And according to statistics,  children with poor reading skills as well writing skills report the highest high school drop-out rates. Check out this blog post on the 4 ways you can help your child with their reading skills. 

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Lorna Muthamia-Ochido

I run a family-centred speech-language therapy clinic, the largest in East and Central Africa. I’ve helped 15,000+ children optimise their communication outcomes (in other words, I make children smarter ☺).

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