Learning how to read means learning lots of intertwining skills – like beginning sounds.
Here is my list of my top teaching printables and favorite free resources that I used this year in my guided reading groups.
Let me share why I use them and how you can use them in your classroom too.
How and why I use these
I use these materials with small groups of students (4-6) who demonstrate a similar reading level with generally similar reading strategies and skills.
Sometimes I will pull just one or two students from a group to work on a specific part of a skill before calling the rest of the group to come over and join us. If they really aren’t getting something, I try to give them extra attention in this manner and then adjust the time spent with the whole group accordingly.
I use more games and activities as warm-ups or for the actual lessons so I can observe, redirect and then give them incredibly focused practice that we can then apply to a book or lesson the next time we gather.
Now let’s get to the free printables that work on:
- beginning sounds isolation
- beginning sounds identification
- beginning sounds production
You’ll want to follow the links for each activity so that you can go download them from their original creators to use.
Camping beginning sounds cards
I use this camping theme beginning sounds in two parts.
I make the “worksheet” into a dry-erase sheet by putting it into a plastic sleeve or laminating it.
I use the cards for students who can isolate the beginning sound, but can’t yet connect which letter it is. To have only four letters to choose from, instead of the entire alphabet, is helpful for these students.
We also use the cards – but instead of clipping a clothespin onto the correct letter, we cover it with a bingo chip or another manipulative.
Strategy Tip: Keep an alphabet chart handy for reference so they can reference the beginning sounds in order to find a match if they have difficulty isolating/connecting it to a letter. This is the beginning reading strategy “Get Your Mouth Ready” They use the alphabet chart as their background knowledge/schema to draw from.
Beginning sounds letter paths
This simple gameboard is just right for working on a handful of beginning letter sounds at a time.
Print the beginning sound paths and the picture word cards. Students draw a card, say the word aloud, and produce the beginning sound. Then they move their marker onto the matching letter on the gameboard.
They don’t get lost it in the “game” aspect – they can simply focus on the skill but it still feels like a game.
It is a great game for students to play in pairs so you can listen in and check-in on student progress!
Bingo is so classic. And while I’m not always a fan of it in the classroom, I think it works well for working on beginning sounds as a small group.
This beginning sound bingo is also great for reinforcing vocabulary.
There are many boxes in these cards, so you may need to give additional support to kinders who struggle with both the skill and vocabulary.
There are a couple of versions I found of this game:
- Bingo Cards 1 (a,m,n,p,s,t)
- Bingo Cards 2 (o,d,f,h)
- Bingo Cards 3 (e,b,c,g,r)
- Bingo Cards 4 (i,j,k,l,w,x)
- Bingo Cards 5 (u,q,v,y,z)
I’ve found that with most students we only need to play a round or two before I’ve really identified who can do this skill independently and who needs more practice.
Beginning sound worksheets
I pretty much loathe worksheets, but I like this resource for it’s simplicity.
This beginning sound freebie worksheet set has good, simplistic pictures and only focuses on four different beginning sounds at a time.
Here are some additional ways you can use a worksheet set like this:
First, you can use it to make bracelets for students to wear, For every three beginning sounds that they write correctly, they earn a new “bracelet.”
You could also chop them into little eency-weency-tiny books. These little flipbooks are great for repetition and can be read to classroom stuffed animals.
Set a visual timer and let students write one answer on a worksheet in a dry-erase sleeve and pass it in a circle to the next person to complete the next answer. Then repeat until the worksheet is done. Work as a team to beat the clock.
If you use it as a worksheet, have students tally the number each time the beginning sound appears by drawing dot points at the top of the worksheet. Which letter has the most beginning sounds on the page?
Let’s wrap it up
I hope that you can use one or some of these beginning sound activities with your kinders in small groups.
They helped me really focus in on teaching, using, and hearing beginning sounds with my kindergarten students that needed it most.
Ready for more resources to use in your guided reading groups? Check out these 6 Alphabet Identification Activities.
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