Find the Sound
Listening to words said clearly in isolation sharpens a child's ability to attend selectively to sounds. The activity below will help your child understand that sounds have position in words. Help your child learn to listen attentively to everyday sounds, too (the wind, a telephone ringing, footsteps in the hall). Ability to listen helps your child in getting ready to follow oral directions and develop the phoneme awareness skills needed in learning to read.
Take three paper cups and label one with the word "beginning," one with the word "middle" and the third with the word "end." Line them up on a table in order from left-to-right in front of your child. Fill a small bowl with a favorite snack, such as jelly beans. Using words taken from the story "Rose Red and Snow White," ask your child to tell you where a sound is in the word and to place the snack in the appropriate cup. Remember to say the words slowly. Then reward him with the treats at the end!
Ask, "Where is the /d/ sound in the word dwarf? (Your child should put the snack into the cup labeled "beginning.")
"Where is the /d/ sound in the word friend? (This time your child should drop the snack into the cup labeled "end.")
"Where is the /b/ sound in bear?"
"Where is the /p/ sound in top?"
"Where is the /g/ sound in dangling?" (Middle and end.)
"Where is the /k/ sound in pocket?"
"Where is the /s/ sound in sisters?" (All three cups!)
"Where is the /b/ sound in beard?"
"Where is the /k/ sound in rock?"
"Where is the /d/ sound in reward?"
"Where is the /sh/ sound in dashing?"
"Where is the /t/ sound in fright?"
"Where is the /k/ sound in king?"
-- Susan Rapp, Village Reading Center