Phonological awareness is a key foundational skill in early education. Hearing the sounds in words is the first step toward recognizing that our written language includes letters that represent those sounds. In addition to alphabet letter recognition preschool worksheets, beginning sounds activities are an important part of reading instruction.
Alphabet activities for preschool and kindergarten should not only focus on letter recognition, but also on the letter sounds that we hear in words. I created the Alphabet Sound Recognition Sorts Students as a fun, hands-on way to practice phonemic awareness skills! The print-and-go pages allow you to do just that, while the color pages could be laminated and used at the literacy center all year long.
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Learning Beginning Sounds With Pictures and Sorting
HOW TO TEACH THE ALPHABET TO PRESCHOOLERS AND KINDERGARTENERS
TEACHING BEGINNING SOUNDS TAKES LOT OF PRACTICE WITH HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS. KIDS CAN JUMP RIGHT INTO BEGINNING SOUNDS WITHOUT MASTER OF NAMING THE LETTERS OF THE ALPHABET.
Learning the alphabet is multi-faceted. Kids must learn to visually discriminate and name uppercase an lowercase letters. They also need to eventually learn the sounds that letters make. Eventually they’ll delve into alphabetical order.
In addition to those things, children should be instructed to listen and pull out individual sounds in words. That part is called phonological awareness. It’s the idea that words are made up of multiple sounds and we put them together. Since it happens orally, alphabet worksheets aren’t the best way to practice.
Plus, manipulating cards in a sort like this one works fine motor skills!
Learning to recognize the beginning sounds in words leads to focusing on the ending sound, the middle sound, and then eventually producing words that rhyme because the ending sounds are the same.
In conjunction with alphabet matching games and free alphabet printables, kids need learning activities that focus only on oral sounds. Help kids by posing questions before/during/after the beginning sound sorts:
- What sound do you hear at the beginning?
- Can you stretch that sound out or is it a “stop” sound?
- Can you think of another word that begins with that sound?
- What letters makes that sound? Is it made with straight lines or curved or both?
What Can Children Learn While Sorting Picture Cards By Sound?
LETTER SORTING BY SOUND
SORTING BY BEGINNING SOUND TAKES A LOT OF REPITITION AND PRACTICE. WHEN KIDS ENTER PRESCHOOL OR KINDERGARTEN, THEY TYPICALLY HAVEN’T DONE THIS BEFORE AND NEED LOTS OF PRACTICE.
I included two versions in the sorting pack: Full Color or Black and White: Print & Go pages and 26 Picture Sorts in both color and black and white.
The engaging pictures in the sorts will promote several important foundational literacy skills:
- Sound discrimination
- Sound segmenting
- Letter/sound correspondence
Why Is It Important For Kids To Identify Beginning Sounds?
Phonemic awareness is one of the foundational skills for learning to read. When children can identify the sounds in words, they have an easier time learning to decode and apply phonics rules, as well as learn sight words later on.
How to Make the Beginning Sounds Sorts
To Prep for a Learning Center:
Print in color and laminate for a center. Simply laminate the whole page and then cut out the pictures at the bottom. Store in an envelope or baggie for use in your word work centers.
You can also attach Velcro dots to the back of the picture cards and the sorting cards to help learning “stick.”
Print in black and white to use as morning work, take-home or a fast-finisher activity. You can also use it as a center if you prefer.
To Prep for Individual Use:
Print & Go! These coordinating pages are black and white for quick printing and use. Simply print as many as you need for quick individual student activities.
Please note: In this set the vowels have four short vowel beginning sounds and four long vowel beginning sounds. This is due to clip art limitations. If you choose to not use the long vowels, simply cut of the bottom portion of the page as they are all on the lower part of the pictures.
Our Favorite Alphabet Books For Kids:
We can’t live without these!
Once your child’s creativity is sparked with this fun activity, take it a step further with these engaging resources:
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I Spy LettersLetters to Live By: An Alphabet Book with IntentionThe Alphabet Book (Pictureback(R))A New Alphabet for Humanity Children’s Book: A Children’s Book of Alphabet Words to Inspire Compassion, Kindness and PositivityEating the AlphabetAlphabet Mystery
You can also use the sorting mats to teach letter recognition. Mix up the cards, pick one, and have the child identify the sound AND the letter it begins with. They can also find the corresponding magnetic letter.
Letter matching memory games go hand-in-hand with learning to recognize beginning sounds. When you’re ready to check for understanding, you can use a letter recognition worksheet for preschool.
Play a Game
Kids can play a partner game using the picture cards. They take turns drawing a picture, identifying the word and beginning sound, and switch.