Altogether, it’s difficult to overstate how important it is that children learn the letter sounds. With both reading and language, this skill is the foundation for a lifetime of success. In order to have a great start in the subject of reading and language, students first need to learn letter sounds. Letter sounds are the first principle of phonics. With these building blocks, children can go on to become great readers and writers. In order to make learning letter sounds fun and simple, try these games and activities to help learn letter sounds for kindergarten students.
1. Letter Sounds Race
To begin with, place a basket of letter magnets opposite any magnetic surface—magnet board, the fridge, or easel. Next, have a student or team of students stand near the magnet board. Then pronounce a letter sound, have them run to the letter magnets, and pick out the corresponding letter. Afterward, they can place it on the magnet board to win the race. Additionally, you can help them learn new letter sounds by asking them to find and place the letter. Then, ask them to pronounce the letter sound. This will help them identify the connection between kindergarten letters and sounds.
2. Letter Sound Song Writing
If there’s one thing that kindergarteners love more than singing, then it’s making up their own songs. Use a simple, recognizable tune that your students are familiar with. Then, start with a simple verse of your own creation, using “A is for” and then pick a word that begins with the letter A. You may even make up a simple hand gesture to indicate the word in question. Next, give each student a chance to come up with their own letter-sound verse for the song. With each new verse, sing the whole song together as a class. Overall, you’ll have a new letter sounds song that demonstrates the sound of each letter. Also, you can make up a silly dance to go with it or record it for future use.
3. Phonic Photo Scavenger Hunt
Have your kindergarten class create a photo album, either physical or digital, with a photo of an item for every letter sound. For example, “a” for anthill to “z” for zoo. They can do this as an individual project, small group work, or as a whole class. This is a great way to get practice for letter sounds from a to z. As a matter of fact, this can be done again and again to learn new sounds like “ch” or “sh.” Then, once the photo albums are complete, they can be used in the classroom as learning aids. Additionally, they make great visual aids to help connect the alphabet with sounds for kindergarten.
4. Erase The Sound
Your little artist will love this simple and visually-stimulating kindergarten letter-sound game. To begin with, draw a picture on a whiteboard or chalkboard and name individual letters. Then, have students identify and erase items in the picture that start with that letter. For example, you might draw a snowman with a hat for “h,” buttons for “b” and carrot for “c.” Also, you could reverse the roles of artist and eraser, once they see how it’s done. This is great for both creative thinking and letter-sound recognition. In addition, it is easy to adapt to new subjects. For example, you might use this activity with a picture of a dinosaur when learning about dinosaurs as a scientific subject. Also, you could also theme it after special holidays, events, or seasons of the year.
5. Worksheet Matching
Using letter sounds for kindergarten worksheets can be a challenge. The spoken element of letter sounds makes it difficult to translate into written communication. However, a great way for students to practice is by doing a cutting and matching worksheet. Firstly, start with a sheet of simple pictures that indicate items with various different starting letters. Then, on a separate paper, have the letters that correspond with those starting sounds. Students can cut out the pictures and glue them next to the letter that matches. It will be great fine motor skills and cognitive thinking practice while they learn their letter sounds!
6. Mystery Bag
In this tactile activity, you’ll place three objects within a bag, like a ball, a bug, and a button for the letter “b”. Then, have students name each item, and guess the “mystery letter” that unites all of the objects. When students become better at this game, you can increase the difficulty by using both starting and ending sounds. When working with a small or large group, you can have them fill a bag for the others with objects around the classroom to have the others guess.
7. Smack The Letter
Kindergarteners will love getting to use a flyswatter to hit the letters you write on sticky notes and pronounce them for them to identify. In fact, you can pick the letter sounds they most need to work on. In order to give this activity a fun, competitive element, you can make it into a race. For example, two or three children can play for points to see who can reach 10 first. In addition, it can be played tournament-style if you’re working with a larger group.
8. I-Spy Discovery Bottle
Fill a large juice bottle with a variety of small items that start with various letters, using rice or sand as a filler for the remaining space. In order to play, use an alphabet deck or phonics clip cards to pick a letter and have a student shake the bottle and hunt for the item with the corresponding beginning letter. Overall, this is a great small group activity that students can play independently. It’s a great pick for center time or as an early finisher activity.
Of course, by creating many opportunities for students to learn their letter sounds, you help them build strong literacy foundational skills. Then, with time, patience, and practice, they can master their phonics and be ready for reading and writing real words. Additionally, with so many fun and exciting activities with which to learn, they’ll have an absolute blast in kindergarten.
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