Pre-reading skills such as saying letter names, recognizing letters and learning their sounds are very important. Children need a firm foundation in these letter skills before putting sounds together to make words. In fact, some of the problems children have blending words can be traced back to learning sounds incorrectly.
Some common mistakes children make with sounds include saying the letter “b” as “bu” and the letter “d” as “du,” leading to incorrect blending as follows:
bud – becomes /bu/-/u/-/du/ instead of /b/-/u/-/d/
dog – becomes /du/-/o/-/gu/ instead of /d/-/o/-/g/
A friend of mine, a former speech pathologist, offered help with this situation. She said certain “unvoiced” and “voiced” sounds are paired as follows:
- First, say each pair of sounds together, as in /p/ and /b/, etc.
See why they are paired?
- Next, try saying the column of unvoiced sounds with your hand
on your throat. Sounds with no vibration are correct.
- Now say the column of voiced sounds, which are even more likely
to have the extra sound. There should be a vibration, but no
Many thanks to my friend for sharing about unvoiced and voiced sounds. Knowing the difference makes these sounds more easily understandable, hopefully to adults and children as well. However, if we ever forget and find ourselves slipping back into old habits, let’s remember: “Nip It in the B-u-d!”