The following hints are distilled from the Academic Associates Reading Program
How to Sound Out Consonants
Some instructors teach children to sound out words awkwardly by adding a full “-uh” sound after consonants. For example, bad is sounded out as BUH— Ă—DUH. Unfortunately, adding vowel sounds during the sound-out process can delay fluent reading for some children. Instead, instructors should teach each consonant’s most briefly distinguishable sound. Instead of LUH for the letter L, teach only the LLLL- sound. Instead of a voiced PUH, teach P using only the lips and a short, voiceless puff of air. Lap becomes LLL—Ă—P-- instead of LUH— Ă —PUH. Teach only the most essential sound of each consonant, and children will identify words more easily and read more quickly.
How to Teach Consonant Blends
Some instructors make students memorize consonant blends from charts out of context. For instance, Blah-Bleh-Blih-Bloh-Bluh. Instead, teach separately the consonants that make only one sound each and then blend them each naturally as they occur in words. Instead of isolated blends, simply teach the sounds of the individual consonants and help students say them sequentially. In the vast majority of cases, the sounds will blend into words naturally. Teachers can incorporate this method into whatever reading instruction program they are currently using and will save many frustrating hours each year as students make unprecedented progress.
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