A Little About Me and This Blog

I have been a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) since 1987. I am a member of the American Speech and Hearing Association. I have worked in the states of New York, Hawaii and Florida. I am currently in New York State. I have worked in settings that include public schools, special education preschools, hospitals, adult day treatment programs, home health rehabilitation, early intervention and preschool homebased therapy. I have provided evaluation and therapy to people ranging in age from 6 months to 100 years. I have worked with a wide range of conditions and treatments including fluency, aphasia, apraxia, voice disorders, dysphagia, cleft palate, hearing impairment, articulation delay, language delay, augmentative/alternative communication, autism, and many others through the years.
The purpose of this Blog is to share information and answer questions that you may have. I will strive to provide the correct information to the best of my professional knowledge. I may not share the same professional opinion as other licensed speech pathologists and I encourage second opinions if you want to be as informed as possible.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Teaching Letters and Sounds to Preschoolers

When I work with children as young as three years old on correcting error sounds, I am very aware that because they are not yet readers, they do not have the same understanding of sounds and letters that older children have. Some children are aware of letters and may know the alphabet song. The connection between a letter and a sound is not typically something that children learn until they get to pre-k or kindergarten. Letters and sounds are different concepts and I think it's as important to teach the connection between the two as it is to teach the letters themselves.  All parents try to teach their children the alphabet song.  I think this is great.  What could make this even better is to be sure that they pair what the kids are singing to a picture of the letters as they are singing them.  If there is no concrete connection made between the auditory letter and the visual letter, then the children are just learning a random song.  All children should have an alphabet poster or chart of some kind that should be brought out when the ABC song is done.  They should be taught to touch each letter as they are singing it.  This will avoid that single "LMNOP" cluster that they clearly think is one word.  The same chart can be used when teaching the children that each letter makes a sound.  I like to use a song that I heard in the pre-k classroom with all of my kids in speech therapy.  I take the sound that they are targeting and put it in the song.  The song is to the tune of "hot cross buns" and it would go like this: "D says duh, D says duh, every letter makes a sound and D says duh."  This can be used with every sound.  I tend to use the short vowel sounds when doing the vowels, since when vowels are long  they say their own letter name. When doing vowels use short sounds "a" (as), "e" (bed), "i" (in), "o" (on), "u" (up).  These tend to be harder for kids to learn for reading and writing and any jump start is helpful.  The pre-k classroom picks one letter each week to target and then does activities all week with that sound. Art activities, searching for things that start with that sound etc.  I suggest that parents do the same thing.  As the weeks progress, you add to the length of the sound song and mix the letters up so they are not learned only in order.  This work on pairing sounds and letters will give your child a great jump on early reading skills.  We tend to forget that just because a child can sing the alphabet song does not mean that he  knows his sounds and letters.

3 comments:

  1. Great ideas... I know when mine were little we did those sort of things... mostly with a lot of different books...mom told me there was no reason I could not teach my children c a t instead of a b c so that I was teaching them to read.. out of a book.. at the same time I was teaching them abc's It seemed to work.. all of my kids read early and enjoy it still. We also spent a lot of time with them reading from adult books... they learned to pick out the different letters and see them put together in words and sentences.

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  2. My 2.75 boy has a phonological delay (18 mos) and 4 months ago he learned his alphabet sounds by singing that "D says duh" song from the Leap Frog word builder videos and fridge toys. We sing through the whole alphabet in the car and he has begun sounding out (reading) simple 2-4 letter words. I'm glad to know that this song is a good choice as it's worked well for him.

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  3. Thanks for sharing such a informative blog. Small children has great impact of Language speech therapy and i think they will improve quickly.

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