Teaching phonics - the basics

Making sounds

When you say ‘sounds’, be careful not to distort the sound by enunciating in an exaggerated way. As we mentioned before, it is especially important to avoid adding an extra ‘uh’ (technically called a ‘schwa’ sound) to the consonant; try to say ‘c’, ‘rrr’ and ‘t’ rather than ‘cuh’, ‘ruh’ and ‘tuh’.

Some sounds are running sounds like aaaa, rrrrrrrrr, lllllllllllll, mmmmmm, nnnnnnnn and sssssss and are fairly easy to articulate without the intrusive ‘schwa’, but c, t, b, p, g are much harder and are notoriously vulnerable to over-articulation or vocalizing a vowel at the end. The sound that ‘c’  makes can, with care, run on. Other consonants, however, especially those known as the plosives (e.g. b and p) are much trickier. Sometimes it helps to separate a sound by rapidly repeating it in its briefest form – b b b b b.

Over-enunciation of isolated sounds interferes with children’s understanding of how to blend sounds, segment sounds and listen for sounds.