These beginning sound activities are the first steps in reading instruction. Even better: they’re fun!
What Are Beginning Sound Activities?
Beginning sound activities involve seeing, hearing, and decoding the initial sound in a word.
For example, you can see, hear, and decode the short sound of “a” in:
They are perfect to pair with learning the sounds of the letters.
You don’t need to wait to teach beginning sound activities; this can be the first step in reading instruction.
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The Best Way to Teach Beginning Sounds
The best way to teach beginning sounds is through multisensory activities. Use hearing, touch, movement, and visual cues.
You start by teaching kids to recognize the letters.
You can teach the letter names (all 26) and then the letter sounds.
Or you can teach the letter name and most common sound together, and then you can move through the alphabet.
Beginning Sound Activities
Try one, two, or all of these beginning sound activities to jump-start the reading ability of your kids.
Beginning Sound Bingo
Make a bingo game with just the alphabet letters on it.
You can make and print your bingo cards at sites like this one.
You can limit your bingo card to specific letters or include a 5 x 5 grid and put in 25 different letters.
To play Beginning Sound Bingo, say a word and have the child mark the letters of the initial sound.
Alternatively, you can hold up an object and have the child figure out the word’s initial sound.
Hand Clap Game
Brainstorm starting sounds with a handclap game.
First, pick a letter (for example, “m”)
Clap your hands five times; then point to someone and say a word that starts with that sound.
Every time you clap, say the sound of “m.”
For example, “m-m-m-m-m-movie.”
Then it is the next person’s turn to come up with another “m” word.
Play until you can’t think of any more words that start with “m.” Then move on to a new letter.
Remember that young children have limited vocabulary, so celebrate if they can think of a word or two.
Real-Life Spot It
Fill a tray with objects like stuffed animals, toys, and household items.
Hold up a letter card (this can be as simple as an index card) or a foam letter.
See if the child can find an object that starts with that sound.
Draw four pictures on a whiteboard. (If the child loves to draw, he can draw them. Just tell him what to draw.)
Then write four letters on the board (choose the initial letters of each picture word).
See if the child can match the picture to its initial letter.
End by writing the word underneath the picture so the child can see it printed.
Songs and Videos
Songs (often with videos) are memorable ways to learn beginning letter sounds.
Here are some excellent choices from YouTube:
“The Letter Factory Song” features the letters saying their own sounds. This video is an excellent precursor to beginning sound activities.
“The ABC Phonics Song” has two words for each letter.
“Phonics Song 2” has a word and letter association for each alphabet letter.
Label It + “I Spy”
You can walk around the room and label the names of the things in the room.
Clearly print the name of the item on an index card.
Then you can play a seek-and-find activity for items in the room. “I spy with my little eye, something that begins with the letter ‘p.'”
You can reinforce beginning sound activities with a traditional workbook approach.
This beginning sounds workbook is printed in color to hold the attention of young learners.
Alphabet Books That Teach Beginning Sounds
Alphabet books are a highly visual and memorable way to teach letters and sounds together.
Here are some top picks:
This Lois Ehlert book prints the names of the fruits and vegetables next to a bold and beautiful picture.
Kids can learn the beginning sounds of words from apple to kohlrabi.
The genius of this book is the rhyming text, making it easy for kids to memorize the sounds of the letters.
Not only does this book have a word and picture for each letter of the alphabet, but it also contains fun facts!
Beginning Sound Activities Kids Will Love
Kids will love these active and multisensory beginning sounds activities as long as you work on them consistently but in short bursts.
Kids have a limited attention span.
By doing some appealing beginning sound activities for a short period of time each day, kids will quickly learn to spot, hear, and decode the initial sound in a word.