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Continuous Vs. Stop Sounds

Updated: Mar 12, 2023

This post is designed for parents, tutors or teachers who are working with kids who are struggling to read words like pig, dog or bat.

If your child is struggling with CVC words (words that follow a consonant, vowels, consonant pattern), then the first thing I would suggest is try VC words (words that follow the vowel consonant pattern).

With that being said, a little know-how about how different sounds are made, can also be really helpful in terms of how we teach children to blend sounds together to read a word.

Continuous Sounds

If your child is having success with those VC words, I'd suggest switching your word list to words that have only continuous sounds as the first letter. Continuous sounds are sounds you can say for more than a moment without adding a different sound (i.e. m, n, f, sh). These are sounds that you can actually stretch or sing. Vowels are also considered continuous sounds.

Stop Sounds

The opposite is a stop sounds. Stop sounds are phonemes that conclude with a puff of air (i.e. b, d, p). These sounds when spoken in isolation require the speaker to add a very small schwa sound (/u/). These sounds are more difficult for beginner readers to blend together. As a result, if your child is struggling, do not use a word list that has them as the first letter (i.e. bat, dad, pan)

When your child has mastered those continuous start sounds, it's time to teach those stop sounds. By far my absolute favorite way to teach beginning stop sounds is by doing body-coda blending. It makes so much sense!

Body-Coda Blending

Body coda blending, has your child say the consonant sound and the vowel sound together (for example: /ba/ + /t/ = /bat/).

It completely eliminates the need for the child to delete the schwa sound and it is amazing! When I first tried it with a student, I was amazed at how well it works. I sincerely wish more teachers, tutors and parents knew about and used this strategy and it's application for stop sounds.

Onset-Rime Blending

Fun fact: The sister-strategy for body-coda blending is much more well known... onset-rime. It is the strategy that is utilized when teachers do word families. The first sound is said in isolation followed by the rime (for example: /c/ + /at/ = cat).

If your child is still struggling to grasp CVC words, we have a plethora of games, activities and strategies that we implement during our tutoring sessions. We would love to help support your family!

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