The Story Before “I wrote Sukey!”


“I wrote Sukey!” The proud exclamation of a little one knowing, “I can do it!”  She is three and she is empowered with basic letter-sound associations, able to express her thoughts – one word or three –  from her mind to the world. Sooner than one might think, it will be words from another mind to her mind, as she discovers turning chains of sounds into words.




Before she wrote with her hand, she built words with Souns letters, stretching each word into its pieces like taking apart a puzzle, analyzing to hear the sounds she recognized (and teaching her baby doll how to “write”). “Look what I did!” is the sound of confidence.





When she began Souns she was one. Between one and three there was only play, sometimes intentional and sometimes not. Learning letter sounds has been natural, just like learning about water and sand and the wind. The skin, the ears, the eyes, the mouth, and the nose are all teachers. Four of those five senses are engaged through Souns – inviting exploration and learning. I find myself saying repeatedly, “Can it be this simple?” What if it is?





“This is your /o/!” … and another journey begins! Playing to learn!

And We Clapped!

sukeyclap10-13 copy

A fuzzy image often goes hand in hand with a dancing heart!

“I wanted to write clap,” she said with a big smile! My daughter was so excited to share with her dad that she wrote “clap” with her baby….”and we clapped!” she exclaimed, as she clapped the baby doll’s hands.

Intentional play! Have fun learning letter sounds first. Then, with Souns, building words phonetically – by listening to sounds spoken and finding the letters that represents the sounds –  comes much before sounding  words out phonetically. The steps for Souns are at Play to learn!

It Is So Much Fun To KNOW!





From ongoing Linkedin discussion, well worth visiting.


To add to the discussion, I would like to share an experience this past week with a young child of three who has learned her letter-sounds as incidentally as she learned the doll or cup she was playing with at the time of this observation. She was role playing and was teaching her doll how to build the word “cup” by teaching her to listen to the letters in the word. I have had many say why teach a child letter sounds when they should be playing with dolls and cups and I find great frustration at not being able to explain successfully that the child was playing with knowledge she had of the world around her. She was so happy with what she “knew” about the world. She knows cups, dolls, and letter-sounds. After all, how many cups and baby dolls does a child see in a day compared to the number of printed letters. If the system could shift just a bit…with moms, dads, and caregivers sharing /m/ and /s/ as mmm and sss instead of letter-names offered at the same time as letter-sounds, we would find children building critical associations between what they heard people say and the letter-sounds that represent what their ears hear. I know I am the developer of the Souns program and this could be seen as a marketing moment…but I was a teacher of three decades before Souns and it is the child who led me to the logic of it. It is the child who wants real tools and if we could just offer the most useful tool – letter-sound associations – there would be no need for Souns or 70% of the intervention programs exhibited in conference halls. Rant over! 

Thank you for your ears and your hearts and your talents and your permission to share. Those little minds are ready and we are not ready for them.