Training in letter sounds relationships


  • Children may have difficulties in relating letters to letter-sounds. They may say that they know the letter-sound but cannot remember how it sounds.
  • Some children´s knowledge of single letter sounds may be insecure or they can confuse letter with their sounds.
  • They may also confuse similar letter of similar sounds, for example b is /p/, d is /t/ or q is /u/.

This is the most important activity in teaching reading and writing skills. When children
know how to sound out letters, they can begin to put the sounds together to read simple
words such as ‘s-i-t’ or ‘p-i-t’.


Models of letter made of plastic, cardboard, clay and/or any other material may be available.

Newspaper cuttings, manual letters, letters written on the board, ground etc. Picture dictionaries that the teacher can make.

Letter-sound relationship

Use children’s names to point out similarities and differences in the way they look and sound.
Example: Choose pairs such as Musa and Marianne. Have children notice how they look and sound alike or different at the beginning, middle and end.

Teach the easiest sounds first.
Identify familiar objects that have the initial sound you want to teach. Then show the word.
Point to the letter and tell the children how it sounds. The teacher should stress the vowel or
the consonant that he or she intends to teach.

Example: Point to an orange and ask the children to say what it is. The teacher says “Orange” Ask what sound the children hear first. Show the word “Orange”. Ask for other words that start with “O.

The teacher writes down some words that sound almost the same. He or she reads one of them
and asks the child to identify which of the words had been read.

Example: Write the words ‘fat’ ‘mat’ ‘cat’. Read one of them and ask the child to point to the one, which
was read.

The teacher presents several letters to the child, discusses the letters and the letter-sounds
with the child and then hides one of them and asks the child to remember which letter has been

Example: The teacher presents letters a, o, u, s to the child and discusses what letters they are and what
kind of sound they represent. Then she removes the letter u and asks the child which letter is missing.

When a child inquires about a word, use the opportunity to point-out letter-sound relationships.
Example: This one begins with /s/. It is salt. This one begins with /p/, it is a pen.

The teacher asks the child to look at the shape of the teacher’s mouth as he or she pronounces
the letter-sound. The children can try and pronounce the same letter-sound, while looking in
the mirror to see the shape of their mouths and “feel” the pronunciation.

Example: Show the letter “P” Pronounce the sound /p/, and ask the child to imitate you, while he or she is looking in the mirror.

GraphoGame is a learning app and game for teaching early literacy skills.

Memory game: the teacher selects the letters he or she wants to teach, makes two sets of each letter, shuffles them and puts them facing down and asks the child to match them while the child is pronouncing the letter or the letter-sound.

The teacher can drill children on letter-sound recognition. She can say letters in a random order and the children can write the letters. Next the teacher says the sounds and has the children write the letters that represent the sounds.

With children who have difficulties in learning letter names and letter-sounds, using the manual alphabet has shown to help them in recalling the letter-names and sounds. Teachers who are able to use the manual alphabet are encouraged to do so even with children who do not have hearing difficulties.