Professional Development

August 25, 2018

Beginning Sound Activities

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. 

These 6 beginning sound activities are easy to implement and engaging for students! Taking the time to focus on this skill will help build a strong foundation for both reading and writing.

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 grab this free alphabet chart when you enter your name and email address below!

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!These beginning sound cut and paste activities are a great way to easily assess student's knowledge of beginning sounds. Use them as morning work, in a work station, or even as an intervention activity.

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.This simple beginning sounds activity can be done with any flash cards you have! Play a game of memory with them by matching the beginning sounds of the pictures!

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 Kindergarten Word Work Set 2.Use this simple ABC bingo board and make it into a beginning sounds bingo! Read more about this beginning sound activity on the blog!

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.

Make this simple beginning sound activity by writing letters on a sentence strip and placing stickers on clothespins. Your students will then clip the correct beginning sound!

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!This simple beginning sound activity is great for squeezing in when you have a few minutes to spare! Read about other beginning sound activities on the blog!

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!

These 6 beginning sound activities are easy to implement and engaging for students! Taking the time to focus on this skill will help build a strong foundation for both reading and writing.

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Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? This FREE guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your students love and that are easy to implement for teachers.  Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, you’ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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