November 29, 2023

Today we are talking about difference between continuous and stop sound.

In this blog and video series, I compare pairs of literacy terms to help you teach your students.

All videos and posts in this series can be found by clicking on one of the images at the very bottom of this post.

Continuous and stop sounds: The difference

First let’s talk about continuous sounds. As the name suggests, these are sounds (or phonemes) that can be stretched or lengthened.

Some examples of continuous sounds are /f/, /m/ and /s/. Note that all these sounds can be stretched as long as you breathe.

Other examples of continuous sounds include the sounds represented by these letters: f, h, j, l, m, n, r, s, v, y, and of. All of their sounds can be stretched or lengthened.

Something else to keep in mind is that all vowel sounds are continuous sounds.

Stop the soundson the other hand, are sounds that CANNOT be stretched or lengthened.

This is because the airflow is blocked and then released, so the sounds are short and fast.

Some examples of stop sounds are /b/, /t/ and /k/. Notice all these sounds are No elongated.

One of the dangers of stop sounds is that we can try to lengthen them by adding /uh/ (or schwa) to the end. This leads us to distort sounds like: /buh/, /tuh/ and /kuh/, which we No want.

Other examples of stop sounds would include the sounds represented by these letters: b, c, d, g, k, p, and t. All their sounds are quick and short.

The text in this blog post is the text from my video.
Watch the full video on my YouTube channel.

Continuous and Stopping Sounds: Why Does It Matter?

Now that we know about continuous sounds and trace sounds, why does it matter? And while I’m sure whole books could be written about this, here’s one reason knowing the difference helps.

Answer? Mixing sounds to read words! In general, continuous sounds can help our beginning or struggling readers blend the sounds together more easily.

human - learning about continuous and trace sounds

Take the word for example man. Because m, and ANDand n all represent continuous sounds, sounding or sounding like a word man can be easy for beginning readers as they can blend the sounds together.

The sounds collide or “bleed” into each other because the voice never stops: /mmmm/-/aaaaaa/-/nnnnn/

mat - learning continuous and trace sounds

The word like mat it’s a little trickier because the /t/ at the end is a stop, but the continuous sounds of the first two letters make it easy. Just remember not to distort the last sound by adding a schwa. {We don’t want /tuh/.}

bat - recognition of continuous and trace sounds

Let’s compare the use of continuous sounds in blending with the use of stops with a word bat.

Bat starts with a stop sound. So instead of being able to run straight into /a/, students may be tempted to elongate bthus by corruption to /buh/.

Bat it can sound like /buh/ -/aaaa/-/t/ or even worse /buh/-/aaa/-/tuh/, leading students to think it’s a different word altogether.

If you would like some more tips and tricks to help children pronounce words, I encourage you to visit my blog post, We help children sound out words.

Enjoy the tutorial!

More posts in this series so far…

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