Discussing sounds

Talking about how sounds can be represented by letters helps children to learn about the alphabet and written language.

It’s never too early to start teaching your child about sounds and words. A baby’s brain is primed for language development from birth, and your child will continue to learn language skills during their early years.

Talking with your child, reading aloud or practising writing together can help establish key literacy skills. You can talk about words on the front cover of a book or a sign and discuss the sounds of each word with your child.

Read the words aloud while pointing to them and ask your child to see if they can recognise any of the sounds or letters from other familiar words or their name. Pointing out different letters and showing how these make the sounds of a word helps them understand that letters are used to write down the sounds you hear in words. This can help them develop speech skills.

Talk about the different sounds your child can hear or recognise, for example, the sound of the letter ‘d’ at the start of the word ‘dad’. Having an alphabet chart close at hand can help as a visual reminder of the different letters. You can even make one with your child as a craft project, discussing each letter and sound as you go.

You can help your child establish a link between words and meanings through pointing out pictures that match the words you are saying.

Image Child points at words in a book as they read with their parent

Published — 02 September 2016 Last updated — 18 January 2017

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