Learning Letters and Sounds:

Learning Letters and Sounds:
Simple and Fun Ways to Reinforce Letter &
Sound Knowledge with Your Child
There are numerous ways you can reinforce letter and sound knowledge in
day to day activities with your child. These simple and fun activities can
significantly impact your child’s ability to recognize & name letters and
identify their sounds.
*At breakfast, ask your child to point to a particular letter on the cereal
box. (Can you show me a “b” on the cereal box? What sound does that
*While in the car, ask your child to tell you the letter a road sign start
with? (Do you see that red sign right there? What letter does that word
start with?)
*Talk about words. Ask your child, “What sound does mom start with?
What letter makes that sound?”
*Write letters in the sand, in a steamed up mirror, in the snow, or in
shaving cream spread on the kitchen counter.
*Look for and point out words that start the same. (“Look, McDonald’s
starts with /m/ like mom.”)
*After reading a book, ask your child to “point to the letter that makes
the /b/ sound”
*Play a letter/sound memory or go fish game. Cut 3x5” note cards in half
and write each of the letters you want to focus on two cards. Turn the
cards upside down and take turns turning over two cards, looking for a
match. Play focusing on letter names (each player must say the name of
the letter of each card he/she turns over) or letter sounds (each player
must say the sound the letter makes on each card he/she turns over.)
Another variation would be to say a word that starts with the sound of
the card you turn over (if you turn over an “f” you could say “fox” or
*Ask your child to show you a letter he/she knows on the front of this
book/magazine/newspaper/food package? You can do this in the grocery
store, in the waiting room at the doctor, or while waiting in the check-out
*Check out alphabet books from the library.
*Practice stretching our words together, encouraging your child to write
using invented spelling. (Invented spelling is when children listen for the
sounds they hear in a word and write down these sounds. Words are not
spelled conventionally and this is okay! This is what we expect of emerging
writers!) Encourage your child to write grocery lists, birthday cards,
letters, signs for home (keep out sign for room, etc.)
*Make a list of things found around the house that begin with a particular
letter. Encourage your child to stretch out the words and write using
invented spelling.
*Make up a silly sentences or tongue twisters of words beginning with the
letter. For example, “Pink pigs play with purple ponies.”
*Make an “Alphabet Checkers” game. Purchase a checker set. On the
checkerboard, write upper and lower case letters in a random pattern
with a white paint pen. Teach your child the rules of playing checkers,
except add one more rule; before they make a move, they must name the
letter in the space to which they are moving.
*Make an “Alphabet Twister” game. Purchase a twister game. Write
letters of the alphabet with a marker on the plastic mat. Play twister like
normal, except they must say the letter in the circle where they wish to
put their hand or foot.
*Make “Alphabet Dominoes.” Make a set of dominoes out of 3”x5” index
cards. Divide each card in half with a black magic marker and write an
upper or lower case letter on each half. Use each upper and lower case
letter only once. To play your child will start with one domino and look
through the pile to find the domino that matches the letter on the
beginning domino. Children will be matching upper and lower case letters.
Continue play until all of the dominoes have been used.
*Go for a Name Hunt! Give your child a stack of magazines, scissors and
glue. Help him look through the magazines and cut out the letters that
are in his name. Let him glue the letters in order onto a blank sheet of
paper. He can also do this for other family members’ names.
*Enjoy some alphabet soup for lunch. Use your favorite soup recipe and
add alphabet shaped pasta for an extra treat. Have your child name a
different letter before taking each bite.
*Build names using “Alphabets” cereal
*Zap is a great game that can be adapted for any skill. It can be used for
sight words, letters, or sounds. It’s a wonderful alternative to flashcards.
To play zap you will need several popsicle sticks and a cup. On each stick,
write a letter on the end. On 1-2 sticks, write the word “ZAP.” Put all the
sticks into the cup with the writing side down. The first player will pull
out a stick. She must say the sound that the letter makes. If she names
it correctly, she gets to keep the stick. If she does not, the stick goes
back into the cup. The next player will then do the same. If a player pulls
out a “zap stick” she must put all of the sticks she’s collected, along with
the zap stick, back into the cup. The first player to earn 10 sticks wins.
There are many variations on this game that you can try as well!
*Use index cards, rather than Popsicle sticks, and take the top card off
the pile each time, rather than pulling a stick.
*Depending on how many sticks are in the cup, modify the number of
sticks needed to win. You can modify the number of zap sticks as well.
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