Letter vs Sound: Literacy for Littles

Phonological awareness and literacy development is starting earlier and earlier.  We used to hope a kindergartener could identify all the letters by name before the end of the year.  Maybe write their name.  And if they were really smart, maybe spell a few words like “mom” and “dad.”  Nothing too tricky.  This isn’t the case anymore.  Now we expect kindergarten students to be reading before the end of the year.  Yes.  Reading.

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It’s hard to imagine my little bop reading next year.  He is a whopping five years old and is super proud that he can identify and write his “H.”  I will be honest, I am proud too.  But it isn’t going to cut it.  We have to start working on those letters.  But more importantly, we need to start working on the sounds.

It is great when a child is able to name a letter, but this is really no help when it comes to reading.  We do not read “letters” – we read “sounds.”  Kids often are taught to identify the letter by name, which is the normal way we all think to teach a child.  However, teaching them the sounds each letter makes is what will get your little one reading.

In examples, when we read the word “mom,” we do not say “It spells em-oh-em.”  We say “It spells mom.”  Teaching your child the sound each letter make will help them easily transition from sound identification into reading words!


If your child has a speech or language delay or disorder, it is fairly likely they will also struggle with literacy.  Give your little one a leg up and start working on those sounds!  Or try and hunt down an early literacy class (which is great for your typical developing kiddo too!)  My favorite literacy class is Rhyming to Reading by Children’s Mercy.  If you can find this class locally – jump on it!  It targets early literacy development for children ages four through those entering the 1st grade.

If you are in the Sioux Falls Area and looking for this class, keep your eyes on Bloom’s facebook page!  We will be opening up Summer classes soon (and Rhyming to Reading is one of them!)

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