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Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading
Ages: 4-7   Grades: PreK-2         

Build skills students need to become proficient readers with an evidence-based, systematic progression of lessons.    


  • Learn to associate sounds and letters
  • Develop awareness of rhymes and sound segments
  • Divide words into segments
  • Add and delete sound segments
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The 125 one- and two-page lessons help students connect letters with sounds and improve early reading achievement.  The lessons are organized into five skill areas in order of development.  Each skill area begins with picture-supported lessons and progresses to listening tasks without pictures.  Determine student progress with a pre- and posttest for every unit.  The scope and sequence of lessons are:


  • identify rhymes
  • supply rhyming words with and without cues
  • play games and sing songs to practice saying words that rhyme

Beginning and Ending Sounds

  • identify sounds at the beginning and end of words
  • produce words that begin with the same sound as target words
  • play games and sing songs to practice saying words with the same sounds

Segmenting and Blending

  • segment the syllables in words
  • blend syllables into words
  • segment the phonemes in words
  • blend phonemes into words

Putting Sounds Together with Letters

  • learn that letters represent phonemes
  • use letters of the alphabet to make words

Copyright © 1993

190 pages, pretests/posttests
  • ASHA (2001) states that speech-language pathologists play an integral role in identifying children who are at risk of developing reading disorders and providing intervention on oral speech and language skills, including phonological awareness skills.  Direct intervention in the preschool years may reduce later reading and spelling difficulties.
  • Training in phonological awareness is critical to reading success, and manipulating phonemes in words is highly effective across all literary domains and outcomes (NRP, 2000).
  • Tasks that require students to manipulate spoken units larger than phonemes are simpler for beginners than tasks requiring phoneme manipulation.  Instruction often begins by teaching children to manipulate larger units and includes such activities as rhyming, breaking sentences into words, and breaking words into syllables (NRP, 2000).
  • Blending and segmenting skills must be present in order to decode unfamiliar words.  Thus, in order to improve decoding, a student must have a foundation of these skills (Schuele & Boudreau, 2008).
  • Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness and phonetic decoding skills produces stronger reading growth in children with phonological weaknesses than do approaches that do not teach these skills explicitly (Torgesen, 2000).

Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2001). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists with respect to reading and writing in children and adolescents [Position Statement]. Retrieved January 21, 2010, from

National Reading Panel (NRP). (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implication for reading instruction – Reports of the subgroups. Retrieved January 21, 2010, from

Schuele, C.M., & Boudreau, D. (2008). Phonological awareness intervention: Beyond the basics. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 39, 3-20.

Torgesen, J.K. (2000). Individual differences in response to early interventions in reading: The lingering problem of treatment resisters. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 15, 55-64.


Hugh Catts, Tina Williamson


Hugh W. Catts, Ph.D, CCC-SP, is an associate professor in the department of speech-language-hearing at the University of Kansas.  He teaches course in communicative disorders and language learning disabilities.  His research and clinical interests concern the relationship between oral and written language disorders.  He is currently involved in the early identification and remediation of language-based reading disabilities.

Tina Williamson, M.A., CCC, is a speech-language pathologist working in the public school system.  Since graduating from Augustana College, she received her master's degree from the University of Kansas and presently works with children ages birth to five in Kansas City, Kansas.  She has a particular interest in the relationship between reading and the development of language.


The alphabet is a wondrous invention, perhaps the greatest of all times.  This writing system allows one who is fluent in spoken language to quickly become fluent in written language.  By representing the speech sounds in spoken words, the alphabet enables the reader to translate printed words into their spoken equivalents.  Spoken equivalents can then be recognized in much the same way that speech is recognized.

Using an alphabet is different from understanding and producing speech in at least one important way.  This difference concerns how aware one needs to be of the sounds of language.  Spoken language does not require a conscious awareness of the speech sounds in words.  Speech is produced and understood automatically, with little conscious attention given to speech sounds.  An alphabetic language, on the other hand, requires explicit speech sound awareness.  Because the alphabet represents speech sounds, the beginning reader must become aware of these sounds in order to understand how the alphabet works.

Awareness of speech sounds is not always easy for young children.  There is considerable variability between young children in their speech sound awareness.  This variability appears to be a major determinant of how quickly and easily children learn to read an alphabetic language.

Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading is designed to help young children become aware of the speech sounds in words and how the alphabet represents these sounds.

Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading is divided into five sections:

  • Speech Sound Awareness is a list of references that offer practice in sound repetition and sound play.  These materials can be used with young children or those with very limited phonological awareness as an introduction to the sounds of language.
  • Rhyme more explicitly draws children's attention to the sounds of rhyming words.  Materials in this section require children to make judgments about rhymes and produce rhyming words.  Rhyming games and songs are included to help children become aware of rhyme in a fun, interactive way.
  • Beginning and Ending Sounds draws children's attention to the beginning and ending sounds of words.  Activities require children to make judgments about the sounds in words and to produce words with the same beginning sounds.  Sound games and songs are also included to help children learn about the sounds in words.
  • Segmenting and Blending teaches children to segment and blend the sounds in words.  Segmentation and blending are introduced first for syllables and then for phonemes.
  • Putting Sounds Together with Words introduces an abbreviated alphabet to teach children how letters are used to represent the sounds of words.

Pretests and posttests are included for several sections of this book to help determine children's speech sound awareness.

Not all children will need to start at the beginning of this program or complete all of the activities at each level.  Some children may only require limited exposure to these materials in order to gain the necessary speech sound awareness to read an alphabetic language.  On the other hand, some children will need much repetition of these materials in order to acquire speech sound awareness.

Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading is intended to be used as a supplement to more comprehensive reading programs.  Although speech sound awareness is the key to understanding the alphabet, there is much more to skilled reading than alphabetic knowledge.  Skilled readers can use the alphabet to recognize words, but more importantly, they understand the meaning of what they read.  Therefore, reading instruction must also provide children with the skills and opportunities to learn to comprehend what they read.

Studies have shown that readers who have problems acquiring phonological awareness can benefit from systematic training in phonological awareness.  Studies have shown that these children can be taught to become more aware of speech sounds and that this awareness can have a direct effect on their early reading achievement.  Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading is an outgrowth of this research.  Many of the techniques employed in these training studies have been incorporated into Sounds Abound Listening, Rhyming, and Reading.

Hugh and Tina