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Expert answer

You can do a lot to help your child practice. One way is to use modeling to introduce these skills. As you read to your child, sound out some of the words before you say them completely. Also, you can make a game to practice blending. Give your child a picture (e.g. a cat) and have him sound out the name while placing marbles, drawing marks, or tapping their fingers for each of the individual sounds in the word (e.g., /c/…/a/…/t/ is composed of 3 sounds, thus the child would use 3 marbles, marks, or taps.) You can also practice counting syllables by clapping or using your fingers to tap out the number of different sounds, or phonemes, in a word.

Once he can do this, have him practice sliding the sounds together. Check out the following segment of our Launching Young Readers series which models this very skill:

As your child continues to develop as a reader, the best thing you can do as a parent is to support him and give him many opportunities to practice.

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