Letter-Sound Knowledge


Ability of child to see a letter (i.e., "s") or letter combination (i.e., "sh") and identify its common sound (i.e., /s/ or /sh/, respectively)

Common Indicators

How do I know if learning letter-sound knowledge is the child's most pressing need?

  • Child attempts to decode unfamiliar words using the sound-symbol relationships, but too often is stumped or makes a letter-sound error that impedes decoding efforts
  • Child knows so few letter-sounds that even the concept of the alphabetic principle is difficult to grasp
  • Particular consonant or short vowel sounds consistently impede decoding efforts

Relevant Strategies

For diagnostic purposes, we describe the types of phonics knowledge children need as either being just basic letter-sound knowledge (one sound per spelling, i.e., /ă/ or /ch/) or advanced phonics knowledge (one sound but multiple spellings, i.e., the /ō/ in "show," "boat," "toe," "most," and "note").

Which TRI strategies most efficiently target a student's need memorize more letter-sounds?

  • Segmenting Words when the child has few or no letter-sounds memorized already
  • Change One Sound when the child has at least a few letter-sounds already memorized
  • Read, Write, & Say when the child has a few or more letter-sounds already memorized
  • All other TRI Word Work strategies continue to support a child's developing letter-sound knowledge, yet the above 3 strategies are intended to be used when acquiring basic letter-sound knowledge is the student's most pressing need.
  • (If a child's most pressing need is for advanced phonics knowledge, click on that element on the Word Identification model.)