Teaching the Letter Z Phonics Sound
The letter Z makes a /z/ sound, similar to a buzzing sound. Say "ZZZ". It is a voiced consonant sound because it recruits the vocal cords to make the sound - it is made by the vibrations in the vocal cords. If you compare the /z/ sound to the /s/ sound - both take the same mouth position - you'll find that the /s/ sound is unvoiced, where it is very much a hissing type of sound with no sound made by your throat. The /z/ sound is a buzzing type of sound, coming from the throat.
Try it: put your fingers on your throat and...
- make a hissing sound and say /sssss/
- make a buzzing sound and say /zzzzz/
What do you notice when you make the /s/ sound? How about the /z/ sound?
That's correct, you don't feel any vibration around your throat area when you make the /s/ sound, but a lot of vibration when making the /z/ sound. This is the major difference between voiced and unvoiced sounds.
Z is a voiced sound, and here are some example words:
BUZZ - /b/ /u/ /z/
ZAP - /z/ /a/ /p/
Learning Activity for /z/
- Print the letter "Z" on a piece of paper, and also make printouts for the following words:
- Show the letter Z to your child and demonstrate how to make the proper /z/ consonant sound
- Let your child practice making the /z/ sound
- Read the above Z words with some emphasis placed on the /z/ sound in each word
- Phoneme identification activity: ask your child to identify all the /z/ sounds in each of the above words.
- Phoneme substitution:
- Replace the /a/ sound in ZAP with the /i/ sound, and what does it become? (ZIP)
- Now what if we replaced the /b/ sound in BUZZ with the /F/ sound? (FUZZ)
- Phoneme addition and deletion:
- If we add the /m/ sound to the end of ZOO, what word is it now? (ZOOM)
- If we remove the /er/ sound in BUZZER, what word does it become? (BUZZ)
- Work on the letter Z worksheet provided below.
- Pop quiz: point to letter Z and ask "what sound does this make?"
Letter Z Worksheets