This post is part of my ‘Reading with Dyslexia’ series. The first in the series is all about SOUNDS.

Keep in touch to access the full reading series that will be uploaded here over the next few weeks.




Learning to read is an essential life-skill.  Reading fluently, with good understanding, has a tremendous impact on your child’s progress at school and their later future.

Reading for dyslexic children can be very difficult. Getting sounds, phonics and words into their long-term memory is not an easy task. However, my experience has shown me that using alternative techniques, and with support at home, dyslexic children can and will master the ability to read.

When my children were growing up, although they loved stories, reading became a scary monster. Even getting them to read small words was impossible. I could visibly see their panic rise when they had to confront the words. However, with a few changes to how we approached the task, my children (and I) learnt to love reading together again.

My ‘Reading with Dyslexia’ series is a step-by-step guide to support your children with reading at home. Part One in the series is ‘sounds’.


Before you do anything else when it comes to teaching your child to read, ‘sounds’ need to be learned.  Often dyslexic children do not process all the sounds in words correctly, which impacts their reading and spelling progress.  This is not always obvious to parents or teachers.  Also, bear in mind that even if your child knows their phonics, they may still be experiencing difficulty with their phonological awareness. Intervention in this area has proven to be incredibly useful! 


1. Get your child to read and pronounce every sound (phonically) in the alphabet

Make sure all of the sounds in the alphabet are in their long-term memory and can be retrieved automatically before you move on. This can be done very only with alphabet letters (lower case) or alphabet picture cards. 

Alphabet Lotto app picture 1Alphabet Lotto app picture 2

2. Once your child can say the sounds, see if they can relate the sounds to words

Say a word and ask them to tell you what sounds make up the words, e.g. MOP, CAT, DIG, and PEN.  Then ask them to tell you the first, middle and last sound in a word.   You could also show them a picture or point to an object and ask them to say the last sound that makes up that word.  Keep working on these until they’re mastered. Try out other simple words to keep the exercise interesting.

(Remember this is all about sounds so your child will not be looking at actual words).

3. Next work on syllables. Ask your child to clap and sound out the syllables across a variety of words, such as






Then ask them to tell you the first, second, third or last sounds in these words.   E.g. point to a watermelon and ask your child “what is the second sound in watermelon?”  Make sure they’re getting all the vowel sounds correct as this is often tricky.  If they make a mistake, repeat the syllable and exaggerate the exact sound – ask them to repeat it back to you.  It may take a few times to get it right. Reinforcement is significant.

4. Alliteration - finding words with the same starting sound

It’s essential to be able to find words that have the same starting sound when it comes to reading.  Say a word or point to a picture and ask your child to give you a few words that sound the same.  E.g. look to a dog and ask for words that start with the same sound as a dog.

5. Finally, the ability to rhyme will help their understanding of sounds

Say a word and ask your child to tell you other words that rhyme or sound the same.



It’s vital that learning is fun – even more so with dyslexic children to play to their visual-memory strengths. Here are some games you can play with your child to help them grasp the above steps.

1. Eye spy with my little eye

We always loved playing eye spy in the car. It also stopped moans from the back seat!

Play “eye spy with my little eye, something beginning with the sound…” while driving to and from school, or while in the car on days out. Once your child has got good at naming objects beginning with a letter, make it more challenging and switch the game to “ending with the sound…”

2. Orchard Alphabet Lotto and Match & Spell Game

Orchard games, Alphabet Lotto and Match & Spell, are fantastic for helping your child learn in a different environment to school. We’ve always used them in my house. They provide great entertainment. You can buy many Orchard games second-hand on local-community selling sites such as eBay and Facebay too.

3. Silly rhyme time

Nursery rhymes are great at helping children hear what sounds rhyme and what sounds don’t. Your child will probably, however, get to an age where nursery rhymes aren’t as engaging. When you get here, it’s time to make up your own!  Sing silly rhymes at home and while out and about. Ask your child to join in and make up their own. The more ridiculous, the better. They’ll love the game and have no idea they’re learning.

4. BrainBox games

I love Brain Box’s website as it has some fabulous games like Syllable Swop and Sound Snap. Both games will help develop sounds skills.

5. Apps

There are brilliant apps to help with sound appreciation.  My favourites are:

App picture 3App picture 3

6. Websites

Some educational websites have games on them for supporting sounds. is a favourite of mine to help with developing letter-sound links.

Drop me a note if you’d like more tips to support your child with reading.

Keep in touch for the next post in my Reading with Dyslexia series. Step two is HIGH-FREQUENCY WORDS.

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