When our little friends come back this fall, I know one of the first things we will be teaching and/or reviewing is beginning sounds. Phonics and phonemic awareness make up the foundation of reading. Practicing these two things builds stronger readers! With so many engaging ways to teach this skill and let students practice, I wanted to share just a few of my favorite beginning sound activities.
- Use an alphabet chart as suggested by Fountas & Pinnell to help students associate a sound to a letter. For each individual student or group who needed this extra support, we would chant the chart each day “/a/ /a/ apple” “/b/ /b/ bear” and touch each picture. At the beginning of the year, we would do this whole group every day! It takes less than two minutes and really helps build connections with what a beginning sound is. You can find one for FREE HERE.
- Use hands-on activities to sort and match beginning sound pictures and letters. I want to share the Beginning Sound Activities Cut and Paste I created this to support this exact skill. In a previous post you can find HERE, I shared lots of details on what to expect with this activity. These activities are quick and easy, and your students will get the hang of them quickly. You can also staple all of the pages together to make a quick book for students to continue to practice with on their own!
- Play a beginning sound matching memory game. Using any memory game or set of picture flashcards, students flip two cards over at the same time and say the pictures on the cards. If they both begin with the same sound (cat, car), then the student gets to keep the pair of cards. If you play this during guided reading, I would suggest trying to keep it to five to seven sets for time’s sake. If you play with a student one-on-one (or a volunteer was going to play with a student), make about ten pairs for the student to play with. This is a quick game to set up with nothing much to make ahead! Just be sure there are pairs of pictures with the same beginning sounds.
- Play Beginning Sound Bingo. You can use a regular alphabet bingo mat. Instead of calling out a letter, say a word or show a picture to the students. They will cover up the letter that the word/picture starts with. If you don’t have the actual game, divide up a dry erase board into six to eight boxes. Randomly write a letter in each box, and you’ll be set to play! You could also use the game boards from Level B Word Work.
- Practice sorting stickers by beginning sounds (and take it up a notch!). Besides just sorting pictures and stickers, you can make it more hands-on to practice fine motor skills, too. I would stick stickers on clothespins and write letters on a sentence strip. Then, the students would clip the clothespin onto the correct corresponding letter on the sentence strip. This could be set up in a snap, and the kids loved sorting this way.
- Get creative with oral practice of identifying a beginning sound. One way I found to sneak in extra practice was to say things like “If your name starts like ‘hippo’, you may line up.” The students would have to figure out the initial sound to see if their name started with that letter, too. This is a GREAT way to work on a little phonemic awareness!
Identifying beginning sounds and matching the sounds to a letter is such a critical piece of reading. Whether it’s during guided reading or 1-1 practice with a student, getting this skill down will help with more challenging parts of phonemic awareness and reading readiness skills.
If you are looking for more beginning sound activities, you can snag these Beginning Sound Activities Cut and Paste and these Beginning Sound Clip Cards to get you started or add to your routine. You can use these during guided reading, morning work, or literacy centers. Your little learners will love it!