I am unsure as to where I got this order of teaching sounds, but know it came from somewhere. This is the order I teach the consonant sounds. If anyone reading this, knows where this order may have come from, please let me know so I can include some support to why I use this order. In my experience this order works best because the first sounds I teach are the least likely to have a different sound in reading. The student can depend on that sound to be the same in most locations. Here is the order.
As you learn each sound, you will want to do a variety of activities for each sound.
Take the first sound M. Write the letter M large on a chalkboard, on paper, or other. Say the sound by itself. Do not include an /uh/sound after the /m/ sound. This tends to be a habit that people have but the letter m only makes the /m/ sound with mouth closed and doesn’t open. This goes the same for the letter n. I will not go through each letter, but be careful to not include other sounds when teaching the different sounds. Have your child say the sound feeling it under their chin, on their lips, and making note of how the mouth is shaped and feels. Even discuss where your tongue is inside your mouth. This creates a visual of the sound.
Now have them trace the large letter m where you had it drawn for them. Make sure they trace it the way you write the letter m. This is important with each letter. After completing this, do a variety of activities, saying the sound while making the letter shape. These are some ideas, you can come up with your own. You aren’t actually writing the letters with these activities but feeling the textures and the shape in different ways with a finger.
- Draw the letter in the air
- draw on your back
- draw it on their back
- draw it in the sand
- draw it in pudding (place pudding inside a large ziplock back for cleanliness)
- draw it on sand paper
- draw on felt.
After practicing the letter shape with it’s sound. You will want to have either a variety of magazines appropriate for children around or if you want to make even more interesting and fun but takes a lot of space, some boxes to place objects into. I will warn you however that children find the boxes of objects a great deal of fun, but the objects placed in the box will need to stay there for practice for a while. This is why mostly I have used magazine cut outs.
Have the student find objects with the initial sound /m/. Cut these out of the magazines and place into envelopes or small boxes. As they learn new sounds you can mix these pictures or objects up and have them sort them or find certain sounds. Play a matching/memory game. If the initial sounds match then they are a match. Any game that requires matching is good for practice in this area once they have 3 or 4 sounds down. Feel free to make up games as you go along.
Some important things to remember.
1. Don’t teach a new sound until the ones presented are learned.
2. Keep the pace with their learning speed.
3. Don’t let them get bored, move forward at the speed best for them. Sometimes they want more than one sound a day and can learn more than one a day.
4. Work on the vowel sounds everyday and no more than 2 to 4 consonants per day.
5. Give lots of praise. Prepare yourself to be positive and not get exasperated with them. If you are feeling exasperated, stop, they will feel this from you and get frustrated.
6. Spend no more than 30 minutes on these activities per day. More than this, I find isn’t beneficial and can even hurt their progress.
7. Spend about equal time on vowels and consonants each day.