Understanding sounds in words is super important for developing readers and writers. When students have an understanding that words are made up of sounds, they are able to transfer this knowledge to their reading and writing. But before you jump into phonics (correlating sounds with written letters), your students need a firm understanding on phonemic awareness. This means they are aware that words are made up of sounds!
First things first...beginning sounds! It's easiest to teach beginning sounds, because well, they come in the beginning! Some kids have a hard time hearing sounds at the end of words, and middle sounds are often hard to differentiate! Teaching students to find beginning sounds in words is super fun with these resources!
To start, we practice sorting pictures by listening to the beginning sounds in the words.
The students pick a card, name the picture and figure out which picture has the same beginning sound. This resource comes with 3 pictures for each letter in the alphabet, but I find it best to limit this activity to only 4-5 letters at once. Too many letters and it becomes more frustrating than fun!
This is a really great independent activity, but I would also encourage you to have your students say the sounds aloud. As you can see in this picture, the "alligator" is in the /c/ column. The student said it was a "crocodile" which is why it's in that column! So even though it wasn't the picture that was intended, he still was able to distinguish the correct sound. For bell, he called it a "school bell" and decided it was a /c/ sound. This was a great way to informally assess your students and see what sounds they need help with.
Another fun activity are these clip-it cards. Your students will clip the picture that has the same beginning sound as the large picture. The clothespins are also great for developing fine motor muscles in little fingers!
We also love working on our first sound fluency using this activity! Roll the dice and say the first sound for each picture as quickly as you can! As a modification for your students that are still working on first sound fluency, you say the name of the picture and they tell you the first sound they hear.
This printable has your students color the pictures with the same beginning sound.
Once your students are ready to move on from the phonemic awareness practice, they can start matching pictures to letters. These clip it cards come with both upper and lower-case letters.
This time, your students will match the letter that matches the beginning sound.
There's also a couple cut and paste activities that are great practice!
"What's in my Backpack"? is fun because the students get to cut out the letters and glue them down to match!
In this cut and paste activity, they glue down the pictures to match each letter. Once they are able, they can also start matching sounds to each picture and write out the word.
I hope these ideas were helpful! If you would like to use these in your classroom, you can find them in my TpT shop!