One sure way to improve your students’ spelling accuracy is by using a technique that reinforces the alphabetic principle through matching the sound of the letter (phoneme) to the written form of the letter (grapheme). Our students use this highly effective, multisensory approach to spelling both phonetically irregular and decodable words. Using this method, students learn to identify the discrete sounds in a word and correctly write (match) the corresponding letters. This process is part of a structured literacy approach to reading and writing.
Why is Sound to Letter Matching So Powerful?
Sound to letter matching reinforces the alphabetic principle and takes the guesswork out of spelling. This multisensory technique is designed to reinforce students’ understanding of specific syllable patterns and leads to more accurate spelling. Spelling and reading are reciprocal skills. This means, as students learn to match the sounds of the letters to the printed form to spell phonetically regular and irregular words correctly, this understanding carries over into their reading. As students spell with accuracy, they will be more likely to read with accuracy.
How Does Sound to Letter Matching Work?
Each box of the grid represents one SOUND. A sound may be represented by one or more letters or graphemes. Before spelling the word, the teacher says the word, students repeat the word, then they say (tap) the individual sounds. As each sound is articulated, students slide a chip into the corresponding box. If sliding chips is too cumbersome, students may draw a dot in the corner of each box. Students then write the corresponding letter(s) or grapheme(s), in each box. This process helps students match sounds to letters. It is a powerful method for all students and particularly so for students with dyslexia and dysgraphia.
The following resource will help solidify your students’ understanding of the syllable types. With consistent use, students’ spelling will improve. While this activity was previously only recommended for phonetically regular words, current research suggests that it is also effective for phonetically irregular words. If you’re interested in how to integrate this strategy into your classroom practices, our resources include detailed lesson plans that adhere to structured literacy and the science of reading.