Introducing the phonetic sounds of the alphabet is one of the first steps in teaching spelling. Use either alphabet cards (sandpaper) or lower case letters. In Montessori classrooms, the sounds are first taught in lower case because most text writing is done this way. It makes the transition to reading much easier. Many children already know the names of the alphabet, as well as the upper case letters. I usually practice the sounds before I introduce them to preschool children, because if you have a tainted sound, your student will pick that up instead of the correct sound.
Exercise: Take out 2 or 3 different distinct letters and sounds. For example, I usually avoid introducing "p" "b" and "d" together. They look very similar. Also, sounds like "v" and "f" are difficult to distinguish. Use the three period lesson to introduce the sounds. When you do the first introduction almost immediately go to the second step of the "Show me" stage.
Here are the phonetic sounds A through Z-
The sound at the end of a word is easier to hear. You can hear the true sound of "b" at the end of the word "rib" whereas, the word "bog" may add a "bah" vowel sound to your "b". Only introduce the letter sound at first.
Introduce the short vowels and hard consonant sounds.
a-short "a" as in "at" (later teach long "a" sound such as in "gate"- "ah" sound as in "father")
b- as in "rib"-With lips closed form a line and say sound.
c-"k" sound as in "cat"(later the "s" sound as in "cent")
d-as in " lid"-Place tip of tongue behind upper front teeth, keeping face still, say sound.
e-short sound as in "egg" (later long sound such as in "me")
f-as in "if"-Put upper teeth on lower lip and release air.
g-hard sound as in "big "(Later introduce " j " sound as in "gem" )
h-as in "her" -Open mouth and blow out sound.
i-short sound as in "pig" (Later introduce the long sound "i" , as in "pie"
j-as in "jam" -Keep jaw still and say sound.
k-as in "ink"
l-as in "lad" -Place bent tip of tongue under front teeth and say sound.
m-as in "him" -Close lips and make sound.
n-as in "tan" -Place tip of tongue against the roof of your mouth and say sound.
o-short sound as in "on" (later introduce the long o as in "open", then introduce the long "oo" sound, as in "to"
p-as in "yap" -Close lips lightly together and say sound.
q-I introduce q with the u ie "qu" and explain that u is always with q but the u doesn't say a sound when it is with q. Word sound as in "queen" (Place tongue in middle of upper plate and release breath.
r-as in "brr" -Pull back t towards upper mouth the tongue edges to the back molars. Hold and say sound. This one is a bit difficult. I had to practice not to say "er" sound.
s-as in "gas" -Place tongue behind lower teeth, bite down and say sound. (Later teach the "z" sound as in "as")
t-as in "bat"-Put tongue behind top teeth and release breath.
u-short sound as in "up" (Later long u as in "unicorn" and short oo sound as in "put"
v-as in "vine" -Place upper teeth gently on lower lip and vibrate sound.
Let the children feel your lips with certain sounds, such as "v" and "f" since the sounds are easily confused.
w-as in "wag"-Slightly pucker you lips, release your breath and say the sound keeping lower jaw still.
x-as in "fix"-This has a ks sound (blended)
y-as in "yarn" -Do the consonant first, which is always at the beginning of a word. ( Later introduce the "e" sounding y, such as "holly", vowel long "i" sounding y, such as "my" and the vowel short "i" sound such as "gym"
z-as in "zip"- Clench teeth together and make sound.
In the beginning I used to practice in front of a mirror to get the sound correct. Find a partner and take turns introducing the more difficult sounds.
Free Montessori sandpaper letters printout.