Teaching the letter sounds is one of the earliest literacy skills we teach our students – and a very important one, at that! It is so crucial that our students have these sounds down in order to build a strong foundation for reading and writing. However, sometimes it can get a little tedious trying to teach all the different sounds. If you’re stuck in an letter-sounds rut, you might be wondering how to teach the alphabet sounds in more fun and creative ways. Here are a few games you can use to make teaching this skill more engaging for your students.
1. Play "I Spy" - Sounds Edition!
Here’s a super simple, no-prep game you can play with your students to help practice letter sounds. To play, simply say, “I spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound _____.” Students will then search around the room for an item or word that begins with that sound. As students point out items/words for each sound, say the words out loud as a class, emphasizing the sound. This will give students good practice identifying the sounds the words begin with.
For an extra challenge, take it beyond just beginning sounds! Simply call out a sound and have students identify an object or word that contains that sound anywhere in it. Then, say the words out loud and identify where in each word the particular sound is.
2. Beginning Sounds Bingo
Bingo is a classic game that students always love. One of the best things about bingo is that it’s so versatile – you can play it with just about any topic! Letter sounds are no different. You can easily create a game of beginning sounds bingo using a free online bingo generator like this one. Simply use the generator to insert various pictures of items on the bingo card. Generate enough cards for each of your students – the generator will automatically shuffle the pictures so each card features a unique order. Print your cards and pass out to each student. Call out a beginning sound, and students must cover the picture on their card that has that beginning sound.
Alternatively, if you want to more specifically focus on the sound(s) each letter of the alphabet makes, you can put the letters A-Z on the board instead of pictures. Call out each letter sound, and students will cover the letter on their board that makes that sound. The first student to get 5 in a row wins!
3. I Have, Who Has?
I Have, Who Has? is another versatile game that works great for your young students learning alphabet sounds! This game is so simple – all you need are some cards with various letters written on them. Hand out a card with a letter to each student. As the teacher, call out a letter sound by saying “Who has [letter sound]?” The student who has the letter that makes the sound should stand up and say, “I have [letter sound].” Repeat until all the cards have been done.
This game is great because it gives students practice with identifying the sound(s) each letter makes. Alternatively, you can use this game to practice beginning sounds of words by giving students cards with pictures of items instead. Students must identify the sound the item on their card begins with.
4. Clip Cards and Hole Punch Activities
If you’re looking for games that can easily be incorporated into a learning center, clip cards and hole punch activities are a great option! Both of these types of activities require a set of cards for students to practice letter sounds with. The cards should include one of the following (or a mix of both):
*One image and several letters, including the letter that the item in the image start with
*One letter and several images, including an image that starts with that card’s letter
Students will go through the cards and either punch a hole or clip a clothespin on the correct image or letter. If desired, you can make these self checking by placing a dot or other mark on the back side of the card where the clip/hole should go. To save you some time making the cards yourself, check out these pre-made clip cards and hole punch activities that you can print off instead!
5. Letter Sound Stomp
Here’s a fun game to get your students out of their seats! Write letters nice and big on paper plates or sheets of paper and lay the out on your classroom floor. You may want to include multiple copies of each letter if you are using this game with a large group of students. Call out a letter sound and have students search the floor and stomp on the correct letter when they find it. For an extra challenge, you can also ask students to say a word that starts with that letter sound as they stomp. This game is very low-prep and takes just a few minutes to play! A great activity for a transition or a short brain break when your kids are getting a little restless.