THE IMPORTANCE OF CORRECT PRONUNCIATION Students who don’t pronounce sounds correctly will have trouble “hearing” how sounds blend together to form words (NRP 2000, 2-104). /kuh/ + /a/ + /tuh/ does not make the word /cat/. It sounds more like: kuhatuh. Students who pronounce sounds correctly avoid this difficulty.
Teach your students the proper pronunciation of each sound. Make sure they are not adding a “voice” to an unvoiced consonant, or an additional vowel or schwa when they don’t need to. We urge teachers to practice the sounds carefully with a partner, so an objective “ear” can listen and offer constructive criticism when necessary. Our Pronunciation Guide provides sound files so teachers can hear how each sound should be pronounced and share it with their students. We also provide short video clips detailing how each sound is formed (courtesy of Rachel’s English).
REGIONAL DIFFERENCES Teachers come from different parts of the country and therefore pronounce words and sounds differently. Students sometimes receive mixed messages regarding the pronunciation of sounds. To minimize confusion, we recommend that reading instructors within an institution strive for a uniform pronunciation of sounds.