Monday, February 28, 2011

letter sounds game

Today we played with letter sounds at school.  When teaching letters and the beginnings of reading, it can be hard to keep it developmentally appropriate and hard to make it fun and stress free.  After the children are able to recognize letters, and when they begin to stretch out words to recognize the letter sounds in them, they are ready (in my mind) for this game.  For this game I set out a few letters with easily identifiable sounds- today we worked on "L, H, G, C, B, and T," I set out a whole bunch of pictures representing words that start with those letters.  I also set out sheets of paper with those letters on it.

Usually this game is best played by two or three children at a time who have similar phonological abilities.  I start by saying "lets play a game. I wonder if we can work together to figure out what letter these things start with?"  The children go one at a time:  each child picks a picture, says what it is, and puts it on the letter they think that word begins with.  If they pick the "leaf" picture and put it on a paper like "g" I say what the word would be if it started with g - "geaf,"  h- "heaf,"  etc, until they find the right one.  Most children at this point know what letter these things start with at least 75% of the time, but will intentionally put it on the correct letter last so that they can hear all the sounds- they think the wrong words are funny.  Within a few turns they will start saying what the word would be along with me "galloon," "halloon," "lalloon," and so on.  This gives them an environment to play and experiment with letters without worrying about being "wrong,"  but at the same time reviews/teaches letter sounds.
To make sure this isn't just an exercise of memorizing which pictures go where, if we do it again, I change the pictures and/ or the letters.  I am very careful not to do this until they are at a certain level, but if doing it with children who have lesser aptitude, it may be beneficial to do only two or three letters at a time.


  1. great game! I used to do this with my 1st graders as a great review game that they could play independently (I would check it when they were done). Now I have started doing this with my 5 year old and am amazed at how much she enjoys it.

    You are correct in pointing out that it's best to keep it to a few letters and when working with younger ones - try not to use sounds that are too similar. If it's too hard to distinguish - it will be frustrating not fun.

    I am now following & can't wait to see what else you have in store!


  2. What a great way to review sounds!

  3. You are so right about preventing frustration... I find it important to carefully observe their skills in a "no pressure" setting before doing activities like this to make sure they are ready for it!

  4. I love it. I am looking for games like this to play with my twin almost four yr olds boys. Thanks!