Reading and writing will be some of the first skills that your child will learn as they begin school. They’ll be soon coming across brand new and more complicated terms like rhyme, syllables, alliteration. All of these terms we will cover in this post are important for helping your child to learn to read. In this post, we break down what each of these is and how you can help introduce your child to them.
1: Rhyme and Alliteration
2: Syllable blending and Syllable Segmentation
3: Phoneme Blending and Phoneme Segmentation
1: Rhyme And Alliteration
Rhyme—when two or more words have the same sounds at the end of the word, and they usually have a matching syllable, but do not have to have similar spelling. For example, “light, bite”.
Alliteration—when two or more words start with the same sound. For example, “big, bouncy ball”
Rhyming and alliteration are some of the first literacy skills to develop, and are an important lead-in to reading and writing. Here are some ideas for how you can work on your child’s ability to use rhyme and alliteration:
- Sing rhyming songs
- Read rhyming books
- Emphasise words that have the same starting sounds
- Have fun repeating rhyming words
- Use alliteration to target specific speech sounds
- Comment on rhyme: “Oh, those words rhyme; they sound the same at the end”
- Comment on repeated initial consonants: “Sammy the seal saw a seashell; Wow that has lots of /s/ sounds.”
2: Syllable Blending And Syllable Segmentation
Syllable blending—the ability to put different syllables together to make a word.
Syllable segmentation—the ability to identify the different syllables or beats in a word.
Here are some ideas to help your child understand syllable blending and syllable segmentation:
- Sing songs with a strong beat on each syllable, for example “Rain Rain Go Away.”
- Add movement to each syllable in rhymes
- Play with blending broken words; “Guess what I’m saying! Se…..ven.”
- Clap or tap out names and words when you say a sentence
- Count the number of syllables in different words
- Try saying a word then taking away one syllable. e.g. “Butterfly…. Butter.….” and encourage your child to say “fly” to finish the word”. Talk about how this can sometimes create two new words!
3: Phoneme Blending And Phoneme Segmentation
Phoneme blending—the skill of ‘squashing’ individual phonemes (speech sounds) together to make a word. e.g. k….a….t = cat
Phoneme segmentation—the skill of identifying individual sounds in a word
Here is how you can help your child understand phoneme blending and segmentation, which can also assist them with their speech:
- Practise ‘breaking’ words up. Use some type of visual prop to represent the different sounds, not letters. For example you could use alphabet blocks.
- Move the blocks back together to practise blending the sounds together to make a word.
- Play ‘make’ a new word. Blend a sound onto the beginning of another word. For example, “Let’s say ‘in’. Now, let’s make a new word and say ‘b’ before ‘in’. b..in…that makes ‘bin!’”
- Talk about the position of sounds in words. For example, “Can you hear the ‘sh’ sound at the beginning of the word sheep?”
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- Mayer, C. & Trezek, B, J. (2015) . Early Literacy Development in Deaf Children. Oxford University Press. New York.
- Adams, M. J., (1990). Beginning to read; Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge. MA. MIT Press.
- Gilliver, M., Cupples, L. Ching, T.Y.C. Leigh, G. & Gunnourie, M. (2016) Developing Sound Skills for Reading: Teaching Phonological Awareness to Preschoolers With Hearing Loss. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 268-279.