Learning to tell sounds apart is a key literacy skill in the Early Years and a first step in being able to read and write.
As parents and teachers we do this orally - helping our children distinguish between sounds like 'd is for dog, c is for cat'. Being able to tell sounds apart in this way is called sound discrimination.
Learning beginning letter sounds is the next step to linking a child's oral language skills to written language - what they see and will attempt to write themselves. It is extremely important that, as adults, we model the correct pronunciation of the letter sounds.
Saying the wrong sounds for each letter, sounding out words (segmenting and blending) extremely difficult for young children. Examples of this are:
‘muh’ instead of ‘m’ – try to sound-out the word ‘manner’, when the initial sound is ‘muh’ and not ‘m’.
‘buh’ instead of ‘b’ – try to sound-out the word ‘banana’, when the initial sound is ‘buh’ and not ‘b’.
‘tuh’ instead of ‘t’ – try to sound-out the word ‘tennis’, when the initial sound is ‘tuh’ and not ‘t’.
It is more difficult to ‘unteach’ the wrong sounds, once learnt.