Tips on Sounding out Letters

These are three helps that I use with First Reading Lessons to aid sight and sound recognition.

These letter combinations, which I call Letter-Buddies, are often found together in words. They are common enough that it comes in handy to know their sounds.
th (has two sounds , as in thistle and that)
ch (3 sounds but most often ch as in church)
sh (put finger to lips the sign for quiet, please)
ar (like a pirate “ar matey!”)
or (“or, or, or!” like a seal).

Always give the sound along with pointing out these buddies. When I write the Reading Lesson words for the student to picture, I underline the buddies.

Some reading programs do many sound blends. There are at least 20 of them: bl cl, fl, gl, pl, br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr, sk, sl, sp, st, sw, spr, cr, str. However, it is unnecessary to learn them. These letters can be easily sounded as the student comes to them. When aiming for the philosophy of a Living Education, method always has to be scrutinized. The philosophy behind these 20+ blends moves reading into a drill and kill methodology. Its philosophy is one that focuses on the input of information because this philosophy sees the child is a slate to be written upon. Like many relationships, quantity is not always beneficial. Choosing the most important is better than overwhelming with excess as in the case of the 20 blends. I use eight. Learning more than these basic letter combinations is busywork. In a Living Education, playing outside is a far more important way for the student to spend time than doing this type of busy work.

Simply pointing out the buddies when you come to them in a lesson introduces the student to what will gradually become a familiar friend. The child soon looks for these friends because he knows them by sight and sound. I remember my son singing about -ing one day when he saw them in a word. The buddies -ing had become a familiar friend-one worth composing a little ditty to. They had formed a relationship- which is what a Living Education is all about.

Jumping e.
e  jumps over the consonant and makes the vowel say its name.
In words such as: time, like, pine, shine.
This does not always hold true (as in done), but often it works.


Later, after the student has progressed in reading, I use this help as needed, typically with spelling-dictation lessons.

1 and 1 and 1.
If a word has 1 syllable, 1 vowel, 1 consonant at the end,
Double the consonant and add the suffix.

This is helpful for adding the ending suffix to words when the student is not sure if the consonant should be doubled.
In words such as: get to getting, stop to stopping, bat to batting,
spark to sparking  (no doubling the consonant because there is more than one consonant at the end)

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