Literacy Center Activities: Sound & Letter Matching

Photo Source: Samantha Grundy

Phonics can be difficult to master, but is essential for building successful readers. Elaine Engerdahl, experienced early childhood educator and creator of the site KinderPlans, suggests using the following activities in your learning center to help students with this tough topic.

Sort By Sound

Provide students with pictures of various objects. Invite them to sort these pictures into piles by sound. The goal is not to confuse or overwhelm your students so work on no more than three sounds at a time. For advanced learners, consider providing only those pictures that begin with the letter "t", "s", and "o" sounds and have students sort the objects into the three sound groups or, for a less complicated task, have students make only two piles from the pictures (e.g. pictures that begin with the letter "t" sound and pictures that do not begin with the letter "t" sound).

Match Pictures To Letters

Similar to the first activity, provide students with picture cutouts and a columned paper with letter headings. Invite students to match each picture to the letter sound they begin with (e.g. the picture of the tree would be matched to the column with the "T" heading, the octopus would be matched to the column with the "O" heading, etc.). Again, you can adjust this activity to the skill level of your students. Advanced students can work with several sounds at a time, while less advanced students can practice identifying one particular sound at a time.

Phonics Memory Game & Student Collaboration

Have students work in pairs to match pictures to letters or sort pictures into groups based on letter sound, then invite students to take turns playing a memory game. As one student closes their eyes, have their partner take away one of the pictures. Have the other student open their eyes and try to guess which picture has been removed.

For more explanation and other great early childhood resources, be sure to visit Engerdahl's website and blog!