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Diary of a First Year Teacher

Teacher Toolbox  –  Decoding


Video Clip
The Sounds of the Alphabet The Sounds of the Alphabet
(3 minutes)

Listen to the sounds of each letter of the alphabet.

Phonemic Segmentation Phonemic Segmentation
(2 minutes)

At J.C. Nalle Elementary School in Washington, DC, a kindergarten teacher learns a technique for teaching students how to identify the individual sounds within a word.

Guidelines for decoding instruction

The program:

  1. Provides children with opportunities to use their knowledge of sound-letter relationships to practice decoding.

  2. Helps children use context to confirm the meanings of words they have identified by applying their knowledge of sound-letter relationships.

  3. Provides children with structural analysis practice as a way to identify word parts and multisyllabic words.

Why do children confuse certain sounds?

These eight pairs of consonants differ only in voicing. Everything else is the same. The top sound in each pair is unvoiced. The bottom sound is voiced. Children often confuse sounds in the same pair.

Phoneme Pairs

/b/
/p/

/d/
/t/

/g/
/k/

/v/
/f/

 

/TH/
/th/

/z/
/s/

/zh/
/sh/

/j/
/ch/

The sounds of speech

The chart below can help you in learning the correct sounds of letters. Click here to listen to the pronunciation of each letter sound.

Phoneme

Spelling
(Initial Position)

Spelling
(Final Position)

Examples

/p/

p

p

pick, hop

/b/

b

b

bid, knob

/t/

t

t, bt, ed

tap, doubt, flipped

/d/

d

d

deck, bad

/k/

c, k, ch

k, ck

can't, kick, crook, lock

/g/

g, gu, gh

gue, gg

give, bag, guitar, plague, ghost, egg

/m/

m

m, mb, mn

map, jam, limb, hymn

/n/

n, kn, gn

n, gn

neck, pen, knick, sign, gnat

/ng/

--

ng

sing

/f/

f, ph

f, ff, ph, gh

fate, leaf, photo, off, graph, enough

/v/

v

ve

vote, give

/th/

th

the

thank, math

/TH/

th

the

this, bathe

/s/

s, c, ps

ce, se, ss, s

sick, mice, center, base, psychology, bliss, bus

/z/

z

se, ze, zz, s, z

zap, please, sneeze, buzz, has, whiz

/sh/

sh, s

sh

shoe, rash, sure

/zh/

si (medial position)
s (medial position)
z (medial position)

--

vision, treasure, azure

/ch/

ch

ch

chick, batch

/j/

j, g

ge, dge

juice, gauge, giant, dodge

/y/

y

--

yell

/hw/

wh

--

what

/w/

w

--

warm

/h/

h, wh

--

house, who

/l/

l

ll

look, fell

/r/

r, wr

r

rake, far, wrong







Phoneme

Spelling

Examples

/a-/

a_e, ai, ay, ea, ei, ey, eigh

late, bait, say, steak, veil, they, sleigh

/e-/

e, ee, ea, y, ie, e_e, ey, i_e, ei

me, feet, bead, many, field, these, key, machine, receive

/i-/

i_e, y, i, ie, igh, ye

time, try, mild, pie, high, lye

/o-/

o, o_e, oa, ow, oe, ou, ew

so, hope, coat, low, toe, soul, sew

/a/

a, a_e

sat, have

/e/

e, ea, ai, a

pet, head, said, many

/i/

i, y, e, i_e, ee, ui

six, gym, pretty, give, been, build

/o/

o, a

log, watch

/u/

u, o, o_e, ou

but, ton, love, young

/?/

a, e, i, o, u

alone, system, easily, gallop, circus

/r/

ur, ir, er, or

turn, girl, her, work

/r/

ar

car

/r/

or, our, ar

or, four, war

/aw/

aw, au, a[l], a[ll], ou

saw, cause, walk, ball, cough

/oi/, /oy/

oi, oy

boil, toy

/ou/, /ow/

ou, ow

cloud, now

/o-o-/, (yo-o-)

oo, u, ue, ew, u_e, o, ou

hoot, ruby (cute), blue (fuel), new, tube, do, soup

/o(o(/

oo, u, o, ou

book, put, wolf, would



Adapted from: Moats, L., CORE Sourcebook.

Further reading

What is Reading? Decoding and the Jabberwocky's Song
In this article, Sebestian Wren asks the question, "What is 'reading?'" The term is used generically and almost arbitrarily to describe many different behaviors by both man and machine, so what do we mean when we talk about "the ability to read?"


To play this clip, you'll need a copy of the free RealOne Player. Most computers already have it installed, or you can download it now.



First Year Teacher was a pilot project of Reading Rockets, which is service of WETA, Washington D.C.'s flagship public television station. Funding for First Year Teacher was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs; The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; and The Overbrook Foundation.

© 2004 WETA