Reading experts call the ability to identify the separate sounds in spoken words phonemic awareness*. For many children, practicing the ability to recognize sounds in words can make a big difference in how fast they learn to read.
Your child can practice phonemic awareness by doing things that he or she may already love to do: listening to and reciting songs, nursery rhymes, and other poems. Songs and poems tend to use words that have the same middle and ending sounds but different beginning sounds, like corn and horn. Songs and poems also use words that have the same beginning sounds but different ending sounds, as in the "b" sounds in Little Boy Blue and the "m" sounds in Little Miss Muffet.
Phonemic awareness development at ABCmouse.com is supported by hundreds of songs and rhymes plus games and puzzles to help children practice recognizing the sounds in words. Several examples are presented below.
ABCmouse.com also offers a collection of original and fun-to-read beginning readers, which were each written to emphasize a particular word ending sound, like the –an word ending sound in the words can, man, and pan. These stories can be used for phonics learning, but they can also be used as read-aloud stories, just to give your child practice in noticing how some word ending sounds are the same.
*Another, more general, term sometimes used by language learning experts is phonological awareness. This refers to the ability not only to recognize the individual sounds in words (the phonemes), but also to identify the syllables in a word, to identify the words within a sentence, and to recognize when words rhyme. Phonemic awareness—the ability to recognize and identify phonemes--is one kind of phonological awareness, and is strongly related to the ability to sound out words when learning to read.