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Helping Kids Sound Out Words

When you read, you probably don’t spend much time decoding the individual words. You just read, and as you get to each word, you instantly recognize it. But beginning readers don’t have that kind of instant recall yet, so it is important to teach them how to sound out words.

What Does “Sounding Out Words” Mean?

When you sound out a word, you say each sound in the word slowly (s…i…t), and then say the sounds together more quickly (sit). The technical term for this process is blending because sounds are blended together to form a word. Here’s a quick demo:

Our free Blending Procedure PDF has complete step-by-step instructions for both one-syllable and multisyllabic words.

Blending Procedure Downlaod

Why Is Sounding Out (or Blending) Important?

When a child can say the sounds of the letters in the order in which they appear, and can then blend those sounds into a recognizable word, she is able to read thousands of phonetically regular words.

Because it unlocks so many words, blending is an important step toward the goal of reading comprehension. In fact, research shows that learning to sound out words has a powerful effect on reading comprehension.1

Arrow graphic showing blending as a step toward  the goal of reading comprehension

What Kids Should Know Before Sounding Out Words

Before you attempt to teach your child to sound out words, check to see if he is ready. Here’s a free Reading Readiness Checklist for you to download. If you discover that your child isn’t quite ready for reading instruction, you can use the All About Reading Pre-reading program to prepare.

After you’ve used the checklist to ensure that your child is ready to learn to read, it’s time to teach the letter-sound correspondences of several letters of the alphabet. The letters M, S, P, and A are a good place to start because the sounds are easy to pronounce and several interesting words can be formed right away.

Graphic showing that with the sounds of a few letters kids can read words!

Before we get into the four easy steps for teaching blending, let’s discuss a problem that many beginning readers encounter. Recognizing this problem will help you better understand the steps for blending.

Short-term Memory Issues Can Affect Blending

When kids first learn how to decode three-letter words, they have to juggle several cognitive processes simultaneously:

  • They must recognize the letters.
  • They must retrieve the sounds of those letters.
  • They must hold all three sounds in the memory while they sound out the word.

There is a lot going on in their brains! In fact, it is very common for beginning readers to have difficulty with standard blending procedures. Just about anyone who has taught blending has encountered a situation like this:

Comic strip showing that short-term memory issues can affect blending.

What just happened there? Here’s the problem: by the time the child got to the third letter, he had forgotten the sounds of the first two letters, and then had to resort to guessing. But it’s not that kids can’t remember three things in a row—it’s just that there are too many competing processes going on in their heads at once.

It’s easy to understand the problem. But what can we do to help?

“Cumulative Blending” Solves This Problem

Cumulative blending is quite simple. Start by building a phonetically regular word with the Letter Tiles app or physical letter tiles and then follow the steps below. We’ll demonstrate with the word map.

  1. Touch one letter at a time and say the sound of each letter.
Blending the sounds m-a-p into the word map-Step 1
  1. Go back to the beginning of the word and blend the first two sounds together.
  1. Start over at the beginning of the word. Slide your finger under the letters and blend all three sounds together.
  1. Finally, say the word at a normal pace, as we do when we speak.

This is called cumulative blending because there are successive additions of the letter sounds. First we blend the first two sounds (/mă/). Then we start at the beginning of the word again, this time blending all three sounds (/măp/). If there were more sounds in the word, as in split, we’d start at the beginning of the word for each successive addition:

/sp/

/spl/

/splĭ/

/splĭt/

Cumulative blending provides the extra support, or “scaffolding,” that beginning readers need. When you feel your student is ready, he can try blending all three letters without this additional step, but don’t try to withdraw the support too soon. These steps and the support they provide help memory issues immensely.

Download a Free Blending Lesson

Teaching blending - download a sample lesson

Would you like to see how we teach blending in the All About Reading program? Download this sample lesson!

This is the first lesson in AAR Level 1. The blending activities start on page 4 of the PDF.

The All About Reading program walks you through blending and all the skills your student needs to become a strong reader. The program is multisensory, motivating, and complete. And if you ever need a helping hand, we’re here for you.

All About Reading Product Line

What’s your take on teaching kids to sound out words? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

___________________________________
1 University of Royal Holloway London. (2017, April 20). Phonics works: Sounding out words is best way to teach reading, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 1, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com

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ekoi njambe nakomo

says:

Comment.am glad learning with you.the teaching techniques was good and simple.am a teacher in cameroon

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad you found this helpful, Ekoi.

Dee

says:

My son will be 8 in November, he started early in kindergarten. And towards the end of kindergarten before going to 1st grade we were told he was struggling with reading.

So once in the 1st grade he did good, but still struggled. So we got a private tutor, he got much better and then they stopped school in March. But, prior to that we had him stay back in 1st grade because he was to young to be in second grade age wise and mentally.

So, now he is in the second grade and is much more confident and able to stay up to speed on work. But, I feel like the time that they were out on school he will need a great refresher on reading. Since starting the second grade we read the same book Mon-Friday until he masters the whole book with no help. And he does his sight words from school.

But, since doing more research and teaching him myself . I feel he is a syllable learner so breaking down and blending words is giving him the learning he needs. He guesses at words with familiar lettering, and he will continuously say sorry. And I tell him don’t say sorry just don’t guess and take it slow. I am more happy if you take your time or say you don’t know the word vs. you guessing.

I will love to know what straight route to take or continue?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dee,
It sounds like your son has a well-developed word guessing habit, so well-developed that he does it and only realizes he has done it after the fact and then apologizes. With such an established habit, it will take time to change the habit.

Have him read aloud to you daily for approximately 20 minutes. When he guesses at a word, wait until the end of the sentence and then interrupt him and say, “Ooops, that sentence didn’t make sense.” Then have him reread the sentence. The hope is he will reread it correctly this time, but if not, point to the word he read incorrectly, have him sound it out, then have him reread the entire sentence again. Do this for every sentence when he misreads a word.

Do not give him words; have him sound them out. If it is a rule-breaker, still have him sound it out but discuss it too. Rule-breakers usually only have one, rarely more, letters that don’t say the sound we expect them to say and the rest of the letters are predictable. For example, if misreads “many”, he can sound it out as may-nee. Then you can discuss how this is a rule-breaker word, but only the A doesn’t say what it is supposed to say. It says /eh/. Then he can try sounding it with that sound for that letter.

All of this extra sounding out and rereading will take time. But that is kind of the point. It needs to become better for him to not guess and spend a bit of time sounding out, then guessing and having to reread, sound out, and reread again. He will also learn in time that not guessing increases his understanding and therefore enjoyment of what he is reading.

Also, keep a note of all the words he guesses at and later spend some time going over how to sound each out.

You will likely to have to keep this up for quite a while, weeks at least, before you see a marked improvement in his guessing less. Established habits like his take time to overcome.

I hope this helps. I’d love to hear how things are going in the next few weeks or so.

Beth Krebsbach

says:

I am teaching all about reading level 1 to my third child this fall. As we are in the very early stages I usually have the same question about blending. When a young beginner like this is usually sounding out every word out loud, should I consider all those words as not yet “mastered”? Should I wait to move any of those word cards to mastered until they are reading them without needing to blend out loud? My other two kids both eventually passed through this stage and are doing great with the other levels of aar, but I always feel a little confused about my goal at this stage and how/when I need to help them move from out-loud blending on to doing that in their head and eventual word recognition.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Beth,
Reaching the goal of fluent reading will be a gradual process over many lessons. Some kids really need a lot of extra practice in the decoding stage, so spend as much time as needed and try not to worry if your student isn’t reading fluently just yet. As long as your child is able to sound out words with difficulties, then he or she can move on to the next lesson.

The Word Cards allow you to track what has been mastered to the point of fluent reading and what still needs work. Keep Word Cards in daily review until your student can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards. The Word Cards will stack up as you go so just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. And here’s a fun little video explaining what to do when the cards stack up.

Students who struggle with fluency will also benefit from rereading the same story two or three days in a row to gain fluency and confidence. Buddy Reading can be very powerful in helping students who are in this stage of struggling with fluency.

The fluency practice pages can be re-used as well. You might enjoy our 16 Ways to Make Practice Sheets Fun. (And check out the comments as well–lots of fun suggestions in there!)

Most students will have noticeable improvement in their fluency by the time they are midway through level 1. If a child is still needing to sound out every word by then, it’s an indicator they need to go slower and spend more time rereading, practicing, and reviewing. If that happens, please let us know! We have tips and ideas beyond what I have suggested here.

Benita

says:

Hello,

At the end of K, when distance learning began due to Covid-19, I noticed my child was way behind her classmates. She didn’t even know the name of all the letters of the alphabet, much less their sound. I began working with her one on one on a systematic way but it was frustrating because she didn’t seem to “get it,” and I began suspecting dyslexia. She soon was diagnosed with combined ADHD so that explains the short memory and lack of focus. I am still waiting to have an evaluation regarding the dyslexia though.

Because of my suspicion of dyslexia, I researched and found out this program. We have been working at home using AAR level 1 and she also has private tutoring (uses OG method). She has made incredible progress since we began (early June) and now recognizes all the letters and its sounds (short vowels only and no blends yet).

What I have noticed though, is that although she can recognize many CVC words in isolation immediately, when she sees these words in a sentence or among many other words (like in the fluency practice sheets of AAR), she has to sound each letter. So, I show her the green card with the word “hug” for example and she immediately say “hug,” but if the word “hug” is on a sentence or the practice sheet, she sounds each letter before blending and saying the word.

Is this normal at this stage? We are on lesson 15 btw.

My experience with my older child was so different that I have no frame of reference…

Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Benita,
It is a reasonable problem to have if you consider the differences between reading a word on a card and reading a word in a sentence of a story. The word cards are single words printed large and in high contrast. On the fluency practice sheets or in a story, it is one word among many, with more normal contrast, and much smaller. It is understandable that the word cards are easier.

First, I recommend getting her vision checked. It may not be a vision issue, but then again, large high-contrast reading being easier than smaller, typical reading could be a symptom. Consider getting a more detailed exam done, as a child can have 20/20 vision and still have a vision problem. Our blog post Real Moms, Real Kids: Vision Problems has more information about this.

When she is reading the stories or fluency practice pages, allow her to sound out the words as often as she needs to do so. You’re probably not doing this, but do not encourage her to guess or try to say a word without sounding it out. She will do that on her own when she is ready. Sounding words out again and again and again helps to build the neural pathways that will make those skills so quick and automatic that they look like they aren’t happening at all. This is how we can read nonsense words like yit or proth without having to stop and sound them out.

If you aren’t already, I recommend having your daughter reread the stories each day until she read it with a good level of fluency, needing to sound out just a couple of words or so per page. This helped my daughter quite a bit to overcome needing to sound out every word on a page. It took time, but by the end of a level, she was able to read a story the first time with that kind of fluency.

I hope this helps some, but please let me know if you have further questions. I’d love to hear how things continue to go over the next month or two as well.

Benita

says:

Thanks Robin!

She just had a visit to the ophthalmologist last week and they said her vision is perfect. They did a comprehensive exam, including tracking. I am glad to know the way she is decoding the words when seeing them on a sentence is normal at this stage. I will incorporate re-reading the stories until she can read them fluently.

And yes, I don’t encourage guessing at all – matter of a fact I keep telling her to NOT try to guess. I absolute hate whole word study/technique when they ask the child to look at the first letter and at the picture to try to guess it.

Thanks again for the feedback:)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sounds great, Benita! I’m glad to hear your daughter’s vision is fine.

Keep up the great work!

Lynn

says:

my son requires special help (with therapists) with speech and language development, while his sister learned to read at 4 without much help, hes struggling with even the sounds of his letters at 6.5yrs. with everything going on in the world, in conjunction with what seems like incredibly slow and ill-focused school-based helps, we’re taking this year to dip into homeschooling. I chose AAR for its self-paced, phonics-based (minimal sight words) approach for him specifically to support his therapies. lesson one has shown me he knows his sounds from kindergarten (to the best of his current speech ability), but he S.T.R.U.G.G.L.E.S. STRUGGLES with blending. i feel a little better in trying to help him, now that i can at least understand where hes coming from. but, ive definitely downloaded the e-book because we need all the help in this area that we can get! THANK YOU AAR!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lynn,
I’m sorry your son is struggling in this way.

Did you go over the All About Reading level 1 placement test before deciding to use AAR 1? How did your child do on the phonological awareness portion of the test?

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds of language, and children that aren’t strong in phonological awareness can struggle greatly with blending sounds into words.

Many children will develop phonological awareness skills on their own, but other children need to be explicitly taught how to hear and manipulate the sounds. If your child isn’t strong in this area, spend time building up his phonological awareness skills. We have a blog post Fun Ways to Develop Phonological Awareness to help you do this.

Also, our Pre-reading level is an easy way to work on these skills, as it has a fun activity in every lesson planned for you. These “Language Exploration” activities slowly build in difficulty as you progress through the lessons. My son was 6.5 when he did the Pre-reading level. It went very quickly for him, taking just three months, but it made a big difference. He went from struggling to blend even two letter words (like at and am) to being able to fly through AAR 1 at the pace of a lesson a day.

On the other hand, if your son does well with the phonological awareness portion of the AAR 1 placement test, then try this:

Model the blending procedure for your child, going through the entire thing while he watches. Be sure to stress the cumulative blending, when you blend the first two sounds before adding the third. Our blog post Helping Kids Sound Out Words details the blending procedure thoroughly.

Then, after you go through the entire procedure with him watching, have him try it with the exact same word. Once he can do it with the same word fairly easily, try changing just the last letter and see if he can do it. If he cannot, model it completely for him and then have him do it. He may need you to model it for him for every word for several days in a row before he has success. If he cannot get it on any given day, go back to a word you have already done, model it again, and then have him do it. Then end the day’s lesson. That way you are ending on a little success.

I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes, or if you have any further questions. I’d love to hear how things go too.

Esther Donyo

says:

This is super,am a beginners teacher and this will help me ,but I have a child who after going via all these can’t say the word

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Esther,
Sometimes a child that is weak in phonological awareness skills does this. They will know the letters and the sound, can say each sound slowly, but just cannot blend those sounds into a word.

Phonological awareness skills are the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in language. Our blog post Fun Ways to Develop Phonological Awareness discusses what these skills are and how to assess them, plus also has a few games and printables to help students build up these skills.

If, on the other hand, your student does well with the phonological awareness skills, then try this:

Model the blending procedure for the child, going through the entire thing while he watches. Be sure to stress the cumulative blending, when you blend the first two sounds before adding the third. This blog post details the blending procedure thoroughly.

Then, after you go through the entire procedure with him watching, have him try it with the exact same word. Once he can do it with the same word fairly easily, try changing just the last letter and see if he can do it. If he cannot, model it completely for him and then have him do it. He may need you to model it for him for every word for several days in a row before he has success. If he cannot get it on any given day, go back to a word you have already done, model it again, and then have him do it. Then end the day’s lesson. That way you are ending on a little success.

I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes, or if you have any further questions.

James muema

says:

This is very helpful congratulations

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad to be helpful, James. 😊

Melissa Oiler

says:

I work with children with special needs and I think this is a great strategy for them!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m glad to hear this is helpful for you and your students, Melissa! Let me know if you need anything.

nusrat rana

says:

Me and my daughter learning together

nusrat rana

says:

I like it

Lisa W

says:

My son is 5 and we are just starting to use AAR (on Lesson 1). He can sound out each letter and can do the blending part but cannot figure out the word. Example: he can blend mmmmaaaappppp but cannot get to map. Is this something that I should be concerned about? Do we stay on lesson 1 until he can get from “mmmmaaaappp” to figuring out that it is map? Do we move on and just keep reviewing? Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
I’m sorry to hear your child is struggling with sounding words out. I can help.

You do need to stay in lessons 1, 2, and possibly 3 until he can sound the words out without too much difficulty. Each lesson after that just continues to add more and more letters and words and it will become overwhelming if the child can’t sound words out without help.

Did your son complete the Pre-reading level before starting AAR 1? If yes, how did he do with the Language Exploration activities in each Lesson? If not, did you go over the AAR 1 placement test before deciding to use AAR 1?

The Language Exploration activities in the Pre-reading level build up children’s phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds of language, and children that aren’t strong in phonological awareness often struggle greatly with blending sounds into words. If your child isn’t strong in this area, spend time building up his phonological awareness skills. Our blog post Fun Ways to Develop Phonological Awareness can help. Our Pre-reading level works on these skills too as a fun activity planned and scheduled in each lesson. These “Language Exploration” activities slowly build in difficulty as you progress through the lessons.

On the other hand, if your son does well with the phonological awareness portion of the AAR 1 placement test, then try this:

Model the blending procedure for him, going through the entire thing while he watches. Be sure to stress the cumulative blending, when you blend the first two sounds before adding the third. This blog post describes this thoroughly.

Then, after you go through the entire procedure with your son watching, have him try it with the exact same word. Once he can do it with the same word fairly easily, try changing just the last letter and see if he can do it. If he cannot, model it completely for him and then have him do it. He may need you to model it for him for every word for several days in a row before he has success. If he cannot get it on any given day, go back to a word you have already done, model it again, and then have him do it. Then end the day’s lesson. That way you are ending on a little success.

I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes, or if you have any further questions.

Cindy Fedder

says:

What is the difference/similarities of the the Reading and Spelling programs? I assume this Blending Download is used in both programs? If yes, please explain benefits of using both programs. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Good questions, Cindy.

This blog post is focused on reading, as blending words to sound them out is a reading skill. The equivalent but opposite skill for spelling is segmenting, breaking words down to hear each sound in them.

Take a look at our What’s the Difference Between All About Reading & All About Spelling? blog post. It details the differences in the two programs and includes sample lessons of the same concept in each so you can see the different approaches. You might also find our blog post Why We Teach Reading and Spelling Separately helpful as well.

I hope this clears up the different approaches of each program, but let me know if you have any questions or need more information.

Rathnaprabha

says:

Really good will u please help me to download this

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rathnaprabha,
Here is the direct link to download the Blending Procedures document. http://downloads.allaboutlearningpress.com/downloads/AAR_Blending_Procedure.pdf If you still have trouble downloading it, please let me know.

Karona Sutradhar

says:

Thanks

Jana

says:

We have AAR and are loving it! It’s a perfect fit for our kiddos and they are actually enjoying learning to read! The games with Ziggy are a real hit, too!

I was wondering, how long does it typically take before kids start having instant recognition of words? Does this just happen naturally with repetition? Would it be better to only learn a few words and master those first before moving on to more? We are only on Lesson 4, so they have a little over 20 cards for review before each lesson. Is this too many?

Thanks! You guys really are awesome and so generous with your help for parents teaching their kids to read!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jana,
It sounds like your student is doing well! Do not expect perfection before moving on. Reaching the goal of fluent reading will be a gradual process over many lessons. Some kids really need a lot of extra practice in the decoding stage, so spend as much time as needed and try not to worry if your student isn’t ready to move on to fluent reading just yet. As long as your student is sounding the words out without difficulties, it’s fine to move on.

Students may need to read a word thirty times before they can read it fluently without having to sound it out. So, just know that some beginning readers do need a lot of practice and review. Here’s an article on How to Develop Reading Fluency that can help you understand the overall scope of achieving fluency. Some ideas that can help:

The Change-the-Word activities are especially helpful for working on blending and paying attention to ALL sounds in a word. Change one letter at a time, starting with simple 3-sound words like: bat-sat-sit-sip-tip-top…and so on. They are also really helpful for working on consonant blends when you get to those lessons.

The Word Cards allow you to track what has been mastered and what still needs work. Keep word cards in daily review until he or she can read them easily, without needing to sound them out. Here are some fun review ideas for word cards. The Word Cards will stack up as you go, so just rotate through a portion for 2-3 minutes each day and then pick up in the book wherever you left off previously. And here’s a fun little video explaining what to do when the cards stack up.

The fluency pages can be re-used as well. You might enjoy our 16 Ways to Make Practice Sheets Fun. (And check out the comments as well–lots of fun suggestions in there!)

Students who struggle with fluency will also benefit from rereading the same story two or three days in a row to gain fluency and confidence. Buddy Reading can be very powerful in helping students who are in this stage of struggling with fluency.

Rereading the stories will help accomplish these goals:
– Increase word rate
– Improve prosody. Prosody is “expressive reading.” It involves phrasing (grouping words into meaningful phrases), emphasis, and intonation (raising pitch at the end of questions, lowering pitch at the end of sentences)
– Improve automaticity (be able to recognize most words automatically without having to sound them out each time)

You can also do a variation of buddy reading called “echo reading.” You read a few sentences with full expression, and then your child reads the same sentences, matching your expression as closely as possible. Do this for a few minutes a day, or whatever is a comfortable length of time for your child. Add in lots of praise when your child shows even a bit of improvement.

The “Fun with Emojis” article gives an enjoyable way to work on reading with expression too. This can be a great way to make reading fun that also sneaks in some extra practice from the fluency pages or readers. Also check out Reading with Expression.

To recap, it sounds like your child is doing well. Keep practicing. Fluency will come.

Let me know how it goes over the next few weeks or if you have any questions.

Jana

says:

Thank you very much. These are wonderful suggestions. We will keep moving in the lessons, as you mentioned, because she is sounding out all of the words correctly.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Great, Jana. Let me know how it goes over time or if you have other questions.

Cherie

says:

Yes, it really works.

Leah

says:

AAS has been wonderful for my daughter who’s in grade 2 (we started with level 1 in grade 1). I just purchased AAR for my daughter in kindergarten after coming to the conclusion that I’m not sure I know how to teach a child to read!!! I had no idea how to teach spelling & was very thankful that a friend pointed me to AAS. I have since recommended it dozens of times. I’m so excited to receive AAR & see what’s inside :-)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for recommending AAS so often, Leah!

nahrin

says:

I was wondering if you guys have any idea where I can find three letter words that do not make sense at all? Her school teaches those three nonsense words they only have to read them quickly, and fluently in one minute. phonics and other like NWF DOF…ect.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nahrin,
Reading nonsense words can help students to master sounding words out and not just memorize them, although some students get frustrated by nonsense words.

Anyway, you can find lists of them by searching the internet for “three letter nonsense words”. You can even get free printable games and such too.

Let me know if I can help further.

Nina

says:

Hi, my daughter who is 9 years old still has problems with soundings out words that are a little bit difficult for her and can not sometimes figure it out, should I worry about it ? or how could I do to help her out ,had tutoring on previous years and had got some help with her phonics, ect.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nina,
If it is a more rare occurrence, then no, don’t worry. There will always be rare words that will trip up even adults (I get tripped up on names of people and places all the time, especially when studying history with my kids). When a rare word trips her up, walk her through sounding out each syllable of the word and then move on.

However, if your daughter is multiple times a week finding words that she is unable to sound out, I recommend working with her daily on mastering phonograms, syllable division rules, and other aspects of reading. However, if she is otherwise reading pretty well, you could focus on these skills by working on spelling. We have found that older children that have such struggles are using missing foundational skills. For example, we find that many students simply memorize easy words like “cat” and “kid” but have no idea why one uses a C and the other uses a K, or that the same rules that apply to these words also apply to higher level words such as “concentrate.” Other students switch letters or leave out letters entirely. This usually occurs because they don’t know how to hear each sound in the word. Level 1 has specific techniques to solve these problems.

Our blog post Using All About Spelling with Older Students has more information on how you can move through the early levels quickly but still ensure she has no gaps.

I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have further questions or need anything else.

Nina

says:

Thank you Robin,
I quite like the website a lot of good information
Thanks so much.

Nina

Hi I have a 6 year old daughter and I do have a difficult time teaching her to sound words. Since I am from another country I do have a accent and I know that this does not help much. Is there a app the I can use to train her? She’s been having issues with phonics and reading comprehension.
She is on 1th grade now and I find her teacher really young. She’s lacking expirience and I’ve been trying to do extra work at home to improve her reading comprehension skills and the interest for reading.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rosangela,
I’m sorry your daughter is struggling. I don’t know of an app that will work on sounding out words, but we do have an app that covers the sounds of phonograms. Check out our free Phonogram Sounds app.

How does your daughter do with phonological awareness skills? Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds of language, and children that aren’t strong in phonological awareness can struggle greatly with blending sounds into words. Our blog post discusses what these skills are, how to access your child’s ability with them, and includes a number of fun games and activities to build up these skills.

The blending procedure as described in here in this blog post is the best way to help her have success in sounding words out, especially if her phonological awareness skills are strong. But you may need to help her with it by showing her how to do it again and again.

Model the blending procedure for your child, going through the entire thing while she watches. Be sure to stress the cumulative blending, when you blend the first two sounds before adding the third.

Then, after you go through the entire procedure with her watching, have her try it with the exact same word. Once she can do it with the same word fairly easily, try changing just the last letter and see if she can do it. If she cannot, model it completely for her and then have her do it. She may need you to model it for her for every word for several days in a row before she has success. If she cannot get it on any given day, go back to a word you have already done, model it again, and then have her do it. Then end the day’s lesson. That way you are ending on a little success.

I hope this helps. Please let me know how it goes, or if you have any further questions.

Concetta

says:

Hi – Do you recommend chunking out words or helping the student recognize part of the word? For example, if the student knows the word “at” and is trying to sound out the word “Pat”, should we show them the word “at” is within the word “Pat”. Same for word “pan” if the student knows the word “an”, should we point out the word “an” is in the word “pan”?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is a great question, Concetta!

Word families, like words ending in -at or -an, are a great way to show kids that they can read and spell quite a few words when they understand a pattern. In the word family approach, words are generally presented with the same ending and only the beginning letter changes. However, for some kids this leads to guessing. They ignore the end of a word and just focus on the first letter and really don’t think through the word.

For this reason, we don’t teach word families the way some programs do (such as the “an” family where a list might read, “an, ban, can, Dan, fan…” and so on). We want kids instead to internalize how to think through the words. However, we do teach like patterns together (such as “short a” words, or words using “ee”) initially to maximize learning. Then we include activities and review work with mixed patterns to make sure the student is truly mastering the spelling pattern. For example, you can do a “change the letter” activity with the letter tiles: ask your child to make the word “hit” and then change it to pit-pat-pan-ban-band-sand-sad…and so on. Sounds and words are taught incrementally, then gradually mixed practice is added by shuffling the review cards and through dictation phrases and sentences for spelling, or through fluency pages and the readers for reading. For more information about our approach, check out this article about Word Families: The Pros and Cons.

I hope this helps, but let me know if you have further questions.

Juliet

says:

This is my best website.keep doing the good work. Thanks

Afnitha salahudeen

says:

Thanks a lot for helping me with teaching strategies 😍😍😍😍😍😍😘😘😘😘😘. Can you please help me out to make one of my kid to write. He is having seizures, ADHD, and physical weekness and drowsy. He is repeating KG 2 again and I really wish him to write. I am experimenting many strategies and he showed a little growth.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Afnitha,
I am so sorry to hear your son is having such difficulties. Are his seizures well under control? What does his doctor say about his learning? I know that uncontrolled seizure disorders can cause serious disruptions to learning.

I think you might find our blog post on Dysgraphia: How can I help my child? helpful. I’m not saying your son has dysgraphia, but rather the tips and ideas there can help any child that is struggling with writing.

I hope this helps some. Please let me know if you have more questions.

Afnitha salahudeen

says:

I am really thankful to you for your prompt response and support 😍😍😍😍😍😘😘He is the kid in my class. I read your blog and will follow the remedial measure. His seizures are controlled by medicine because of that he is always sleepy. Right side of his body is comparatively weak.he has memory issues but I found music interesting and he learns very easily. I really wish I could help him to write.

Leafa

says:

This site is awesome. Will try these on my young charges and will let you know how they progress.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leafa,
Yes, please do let us know how your students progress!

Hollie S

says:

This has really helped me to understand I may be teaching this all wrong! I will implement these tips.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Hollie,
Please let us know if you need additional help beyond what is in this blog post.

Susan

says:

Do you know what is going on when the can say all the sounds, but can’t put them together? And if I replace the “m” in “map” with a “c,” he can’t get that that’s the only thing different. He has to sound it all out all over again. Do you know what this is so I can’t learn how to address it?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Susan,
How old is your student? How long has he been working on sounding words out? If he is young or has only been reading for a little while, he may just need more time with sounding words out in order to start making these sorts of connections. Some students need to sound out every word, even if they just read it a sentence ago, for a long while before they develop the ability to change just one sound in a word with one sound changed.

You can help him by playing the Change-the-Word activities with the tiles. Build a word like mat then change a single tile. Keep doing it, allowing him to sound each out as much as he needs. mat-map-cap-sap-sip-sit-bit-but-cut and so on. This can be especially helpful when students get to consonant blends like st, nd, br, and so on. stop-slop-slip-sip-lip-lit-list-lisp

I hope this helps some, but I’d love to help further. Let me know.

Sally

says:

Very helpful! I’m getting frustrated trying to get my son to the point that he is ready to read.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sally,
Have you seen our Reading Readiness blog post? You may also find it helpful. There are some skills that students need to master before they are ready to start sounding words out. However, if your son has all of these skills mastered and is still having difficulties, please let us know. We should be able to help you help him succeed.

Kathy J

says:

It’s after 3:30am here in Texas and I’m losing myself in your website! All of the information you have is a treasure trove!!! This article on sounding out words alone is opening my eyes to why my daughter might get frustrated and not remember what we just sounded out. I’m blown away- thank you! thank you- million thank you’s for all of the hard work and dedication that goes into this amazing website, the tools, and reading/spelling programs you offer! I will definitely be spreading the word about ‘All About Learning Press’ to ALL of my fellow homeschoolers!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kathy,
We are happy to know that our website has been helpful to you. Please let us know if you have specific questions or concerns, as we love to help!

Chris Z

says:

This is so helpful. My daughter that is a struggling reader is making progress. It is slow and steady. I have increased my reading to her each day and I am using AAR level 1.

Animesh

says:

Just worried that in the long run, it will lead to the problem of Sub-Vocalization.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Animesh,
Thanks for your note! Subvocalization is the tendency of readers to say the words in their heads, or even mouth words silently as they read. The concern is that this limits how fast you can read to the rate of normal speech. Blending doesn’t cause subvocalization any more than other reading methods do.

You may be interested in our article on sight words. After children learn how to blend, the next natural step is for words to become sight words, where the student no longer needs to sound them out.

Marilyn

says:

I’m encouraged to try the cumulative blending approach with my beginning readers. Thanks for this helpful post!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Marilyn!

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