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Teach Your Child About Sounds

By: Colorín Colorado (2007)

Starting at age three or four, children can usually play rhyming and other sound games. Being able to hear the different sounds in words is an important step for your child.

Here are some ways you can teach your child about sounds:

Play with your child's name

Play around with the sounds in your child's name. Ask him or her to say words that begin with the same sound – like José, jugar, jabón.

Say tongue twisters

Tongue twisters are a fun way to practice sounds. Here are some you can try:

Cómelo, Cosme
Cómelo, Cosme,
cómelo con limón,
cómelo con melón
y con melocotón.

Compadre
Compadre, cómpreme un coco.
Compadre, coco no compro,
que el que poco coco come,
poco coco compra.
Yo, como poco coco como
poco coco compro.

Tres tristes tigres
Tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo,
en tres tristes trastos en un trigal.
En tres tristes trastos en un trigal,
tres tristes tigres tragaban trigo.

¿Cuántos cuentos?
Cuando cuentes cuentos,
cuenta cuántos cuentas,
porque cuando cuentas cuentos,
nunca sabes cuántos cuentos cuentas.

Read, read, read

Whether you're riding the bus or waiting at the doctor's office, bring children's books with you to read. For suggestions on ways to read together, see Fun and Effective Ways to Read with Children.

Practice vowel sounds

Here are some rhymes to say to practice vowel sounds:

A

Mi gatita enferma está,
No sé si se curará,
O si al fin se morirá,
mi gatita enferma está.

E

A mí me gusta el café
No sé si lo tomaré,
o si, al fin, lo dejaré,
a mí me gusta el café.

I

Mi sombrerito perdí,
Con un lazo de carmesí,
y un ramito de alhelí,
mi sombrerito perdí.

O

Tengo un bonito reloj,
Mi papá me lo compró,
y ayer tarde se paró,
tengo un bonito reloj.

U

Ayer cantaba el cucú,
En el árbol de bambú,
¿Dime si lo oiste tú?
Ayer cantaba el cucú.

Say rhymes with your child

  • Say a word such as gato and ask your child to think of a word that rhymes with it (such as pato). Try pata and lata or chico and rico. Rhyme together whenever you can!
  • When you say a rhyme, stop before you get to the last rhyming word. Ask your child to fill in the blank. You could say, "Bate, bate, chocolate, tu nariz de _____."
  • Use your child's toys to practice rhyming. Pretend the toy says something like:

    "My name is Marco. I like words that rhyme with my name. I am going to say some words and I want you to tell me if they rhyme with Marco. Ready?"

    "Does barco rhyme with Marco?"

    "Does pelota rhyme with Marco?"

    "Does charco rhyme with Marco?"

    Wait for your child to answer each question, yes or no.