Several parents at the Great HomeSchool Conference talked to me about theirs and their child's frustration when they were working on specific skills such as letter sounds or sounds of chunks of letters (th, ph, tion, ea, etc...). When I asked them to tell me more about how they were instructing these skills, I found almost across the board that they were just working on them by themselves, in other words in isolation from anything meaningful to the child. To be honest, most kids have no reason to care why letters have certain sounds. But if you teach them that a letter has a specific sound and it's used in the word _______ (fill in something your child knows and LIKES that has the sound in it that you are trying to teach), then the learning will have much more of a chance to stick because it suddenly becomes relevant to that child. For me, I would love to learn what sound ch makes and that it is in the word CHOCOLATE! Toss the premade alphabet cards that have the letter and a picture (A-apple, B-ball, C-cat, and so on, you get the idea) and instead make your own. It's not to be economical, it's to be relevant. HAve your child decide which picture best represents for him/her what the sound is. For one little guy I know, T is for Thomas Train, and his picture on the card is of Thomas. Another one is a B card that has Billy, a picture of his little friend on it. Now every time he needs a hint about the sound that B makes, the parent pulls out the B card and the connected learning kicks in so that he can say, "Oh, buh."