All languages are made of sounds and this is an important part of children’s early learning and play. Managing these sound bits will help for kindergarten readiness and later learning to read. Did you know that babies cry with an accent? Already at birth the brain has made some important connections for language sounds.
The word pirate starts with the letter P but the sound of P is more like “puh”. It’s a great word for having fun with sounds. What else starts with this same sound? Pants, pig, purple, parents. Some children may be able to name things on their own that start with the same sound; other children may need a parent or caregiver to supply a word and ask if they start the same. For example, we can ask kids, “Do pink and pirate start with the same sound? How about pirate and green? What do you wear that starts ‘puh’? Pants. Do we eat anything that starts ‘puh’? Pickles, perhaps, popcorn? Do pirates wear something that starts ‘puh’? A patch or a parrot!
Play also starts with the letter p and it’s fun to play with words and sounds. For younger kids, we can just say several words in a row, even some that do not start with that sound and see if they play along, like “Put your powl in the pink and we’ll pash your pands.” (Put your bowl in the sink and we’ll wash your hands.) When they catch on, kids think this is really funny. Older kids can try to do this themselves.
Language is made of tiny bits of sounds and these are put together like puzzles, but in all different ways. Figuring out these sound pieces is called phonological awareness and it’s an important skill for learning to read. As a rough guide about 80% of 5 year olds have some basic skills such as rhyming and initial sounds. For younger children, developing this awareness needs lots of language time. Can you and your pirate play some word games today?