Colin is pretty good at sounding out words, but I’ve noticed that he has a lot of trouble telling the difference between lower-case b and d. He usually has to guess.
Today a sorcerer visited our house to leave a magic path of letters on the sidewalk. You could only navigate the path successfully if you followed the rule – for example, “you can only step on a letter that says /b/.” The sorcerer coated incorrect letters with glue, so that if a person stepped on them they were stuck fast until someone else pulled them loose with a lot of heaving and difficulty. Then they were swung around in a big arc, back to the beginning.
The first round, he got stuck in the glue a lot. The next round, a little better. Then I went through according to his rule, and he was in charge of telling me when I made a mistake. He got steadily better and better, and we mixed in different rules, until finally he mastered the Super-Special Bonus Round, in which you have to step on one letter in each row and say the sound it makes before you move on.
We did a similar thing with math when Alex was in kindergarten, mixing up problems that added up to six vs. seven. It’s a great game for anything you need to practice telling apart.