Step 2: Learning the Letter Sounds
In Step 1 of teaching your child how to read, you helped your child learn to identify the capital and lowercase letters of the alphabet by name. Now that they know what each of the letters are and that they all have a name, your child is ready to learn that each letter of the alphabet also makes a sound. Step 2 of teaching your child how to read is helping them learn the letter sounds.
Consonant Letter Sounds
First, tell your child what the consonant letters “say”.
Hint: It is helpful to start with consonants first before introducing the various vowel sounds.
Just like in Step 1 it’s best to do this using all three of the learning modalities; visual, auditory, and tactile. The good news is that whatever tools you used to in Step 1 can be used again!
If you used a puzzle in Step 1 and your child said, “B” as they placed the letter B, then for step 2 you can use it again and have your child say, “buh” as they place the letter. Keep in mind that some of the 21 consonant letters in the English alphabet have two letter sounds.
C = “k” and “s” sound
G = “g” and “j” sound
X = “eks” and “ks”
The Vowel Sounds
Second, tell your child what the vowels “say”. The vowels (a,e,i,o,u) have multiple sounds and are commonly irregular. Because of this, I strongly suggest that you teach only one letter sound for each vowel. The following video, from KidsTV123, provides a good example of assigning one sound to each letter including the vowels. Plus it is a great visual and auditory tool!
Whatever you decide to do, make sure to tell your child that these are special letters called “vowels” that follow different rules, and that they will learn more about them later on (learning how to pronounce English vowels correctly is covered in Steps 3 & 5).
Once your child can tell you what sound each letter makes, excluding the extra vowel sounds, without prompt then CONGRATULATIONS you have completed Step 2! And you are ready to move on to Step 3.