A Beginning Sound Card Matching Game April 12 2010

While visiting a first-grade classroom recently, I saw this activity as part of a Literacy Center. I thought it was a clever use of materials that are probably already in your classroom.

The Beginning Sound Card was laid comfortably in a regular-sized cookie sheet on a desk between two students. Each student playing had a sandwich-sized plastic bag that contained magnetic letters, all 26 of the alphabet per bag.

Since they were partnered up, the students at this center took turns drawing a letter out of the baggie and placing the letter where it belonged on the Beginning Sound Card. Because the card was nestled on a metal cookie sheet, the magnetic letters stayed put.

I found that students were using the ABC song whenever they found themselves stuck on a letter, as well as using the pictures and corresponding sounds on the card to guide them toward the correct match. This would be an ideal individual activity in addition to partner work.

If you  have magnetic white boards, attach the Beginning Sound Cards to those instead of cookie sheets using a couple of pieces of tape.

Here are some extensions to use with these materials as students progress in letter and sound recognition.


Instead of using only lowercase letters in this activity, use uppercase letters for a change. This will help your students recognize the difference between capital and lowercase letters in the alphabet as well as help them connect the sounds to those letters. For more of a challenge, put a mixture of uppercase and lowercase magnetic letters into a bag for students to draw out and place in the correct spots on the Beginning Sound Card.

Blocking Out

The Beginning Sound Cards come in packs of five or ten, which offers more flexibility and opportunity for reading and writing skill-building and activities. As students become more confident completing this letter matching activity on the cards, take some of the Beginning Sound Cards and block out letters using colored tape or dark sticky notes. Your students will then have a fun way to sharpen their letter and sound skills.

Incorporating Words

Extend this activity by focusing on blends and digraphs, using these Beginning Blend/Digraph Sound Cards. Students can still use magnetic letters to practice matching the sounds with the letters, or your kids can use these sorting cards which include words and pictures that incorporate blends and digraph patterns. If you decide to use the sorting cards, however, you'll need to use adhesive magnets or velcro to make them so they attach, or simply have them not attach at all.

This Beginning Sound game, no matter how you have your students use it, is a fun and easy way for kids to practice early literacy skills in your classroom.