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1.  Beginning Sound Isolation: The ability to isolate the beginning sound of a word is the point of readiness for learning the alphabet letter-sounds. Example: the first soud you hear in dog, the spoken word is /d/.

2.  Introduction to the Alphabetic Principle:  The ability to identify the beginning sound of when the letter is associated with a picture or object. The child uses phonemic awareness to understand, identify, learn, and remember letter-sounds. Example: a picture of a hammer and h, the student recognizes the picture of a hammer and it begins with the /h/ sound.

3.  Letter Mastery: Through games and activities in a repetitive fashion, the child is able to master a specific sequence of letters. He learns them by sound, not by name. (Names come later.) We want the child to become a great letter reader. Struggling readers are almost never fluent and confident in letter recognition. The child masters letter sounds in clusters (without letters that look alike.)

4.  Blending and Segmenting:  Level 1: 3 sounds. The student must be able to listen to 3 sounds spoken to him/her by an adult. (Example: /c/..../a/...../t/) and blend those sound into a word he/she knows (cat).  Eventually the child is able to segment a word with a given picture into sounds. Another example is a picture of a fish and the student is able to sound out  /f/ /i/ /sh/. (3 sounds) Student can push coins or chips to show they are able to segment the sounds. Segmentation is the most important beginning reading skill.