activities, games, and songs
Created by April Larremore
Graphics by DJ Inkers and Thistlegirl Designs
RHYME AWARENESS ACTIVITIES
Identify Words that Rhyme
1. Matching Pictures
Find pairs of pictures that rhyme. Place one set of pictures in a
container and all of the rhyming pairs in another container. Have the
children draw out two pictures (one from each container) and ask them if
the two words rhyme. If they don‟t, continue pulling out pictures from the
second container until the child finds a matching rhyme. Continue with all
2. Which One Does Not Belong?
Show three consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) pictures/words (e.g., “cat,
log, dog”). Tell the children, “Two of these words rhyme, one does not
rhyme. Can you tell me which one does not rhyme with the others?”
Draw a hopscotch board on the floor with masking tape, or with chalk if
you‟re outdoors. Tape or place pictures in each square. Have the child
toss a beanbag on a square, hop to that square and then say what‟s in the
picture. You read another word (sometimes a rhyming word, sometimes not)
and ask the child if it rhymes or not. If they answer correctly, they get
another turn. If you have a group of children, have them take turns.
4. Mark the Match
Using the worksheet provided, have the child focus on one row of pictures.
Using the KEY, say a word that rhymes with one of the pictures and ask the
child to mark the one that it rhymes with (e.g. pictures of “pen, bell,
and cat.” Say the word “hat” and the child correctly puts a marker chip on
5. Rhyming Word Sit Down
Have the children walk around in a big circle taking one step at a time
while a rhyming word is said by the teacher. When the teacher says a word
that doesn‟t rhyme, the children sit down.
6. Sing “A-Hunting We Will Go”
~ A-Hunting We Will Go
~ A-Hunting We Will Go
~ We‟ll catch a fox
~ And put him in a box
~ A-hunting we will go
After the rhyme has been learned, ask the children to pick out the rhyming
words. Encourage them to think of other animal names that they could use
in their rhymes. Some examples might be frog-log, pig-dig, cat-mat, goat-
boat, fish-dish, snake-lake, whale-sale, bear-chair. For each new animal,
create a new verse:
~ We‟ll catch a whale
~ And put him up for sale
~ We‟ll catch a bear
~ And put him in a chair
7. Willaby Wallaby
In this game, the teacher sings and uses the students‟ names to complete
~ Willaby Wallaby Wusan,
~ An elephant sat on Susan.
~ Willaby Wallaby Wark
~ An elephant sat on Mark.
-Tip: As the children catch on to the rhyming pattern, they can generate
the rhyme using other names.
8. Squirrel in a Tree
One child is “it” and wears a picture of a fox. Her job is to catch a
squirrel that is not in its tree. The rest of the children are divided
into two groups. Half of the group are trees and are given pictures of
things that rhyme with another picture that is worn by the other half of
the group, the squirrels. The trees are stay put in various parts of the
room and the squirrels must find their matching tree before the fox
catches them. The leader starts the game by saying, “The fox is coming,
you should go to your tree!” The squirrels begin to run and then the
leader says, “The fox is here!” The fox then runs to catch any squirrel
not in a tree. If she catches one, that squirrel is the fox for the next
game. Trees become squirrels and vice-versa and the game is played again.
- Tip: Use clothespins to attach pictures to shirts.
9. Couplet Rhymes
Select songs that use couplets, such as the traditional song “This Old
Man,” to make the rhymes more obvious to the children. After singing two
lines, have the children identify the rhyming pair of words. As an
extension of this activity, these words can be printed on index cards (1-
10) with corresponding pictures from the song. Have the children match the
rhyming pairs of cards.
~ This old man, he played one,
~ He played knick-knack on my thumb.
~ With a knick-knack paddy-whack,
~ Give a dog a bone.
~ This old man came rolling home.
~ Two, shoe ~ Seven, „til eleven
~ Three, knee ~ Eight, gate
~ Four, door ~ Nine, spine
~ Five, hive ~ Ten, once again
~ Six, sticks
Produce Words that Rhyme
1. Nursery Rhyme Time
Have the children listen to and recite nursery rhymes. Talk about the
rhyming words and how they sound the same. Mention that they rhyme because
the ends of the words sound the same. After the children are familiar with
a particular nursery rhyme, recite the rhyme but leave off the rhyming
word. Have the children fill in the missing word.
- For words to common nursery rhymes, go to:
2. Active Reading
Read stories with rhymes. Talk about the rhyming words and how they sound
the same. Mention that they rhyme because the ends of the words sound the
same. Recite the rhymes yourself, leaving off the rhyming word. Have the
children fill in the missing word.
- For a list of books, go to:
3. Engine and Caboose
Introduce the concept of producing rhyming words with train engines and
caboose pictures or objects. Explain that when you make rhyming words, the
caboose will always stay the same but the engines will be different. Pick
a sound for the caboose (e.g., “at”) and place many different engines in
front to make rhyming words (e.g., h-, m-, c-).
4. “I Spy”
Start the activity by sitting with the children in a large circle. Provide
the children with a sentence containing two rhyming words, e.g. “I spy a
chair and a bear.” The first object name is something in the room and the
second object name doesn‟t have to be visible in the room. Have the child
on your right create her own “I Spy” sentence. You may want to place
objects around the room that are easy to rhyme so you can point them out
to the children if they need suggestions.
5. Mystery Objects
Place several small objects in a covered basket. The teacher reaches into
the basket and says, “It starts with /f/ and rhymes with „dish.‟ The
children raise their hands when they know what the mystery object is. The
teacher continues to pull mystery objects out and give rhyming clues. As
the children become more experienced, they may be able to give the clues
to their peers.
- hat (cat) - bear (hair)
- mug (rug) - soap (rope)
- key (bee) - candle (handle)
- pen (hen) - frog (dog)
6. Fill in the Blank
Choose a book that contains many rhyming words in it and read it to the
children. When you get to the end of the sentence, pause and have the
children raise their hands and give the correct rhyming word to complete
the sentence. Offer opportunities for the children to make up silly
sentences using other words that rhyme but don‟t make sense. Continue with
the rest of the book until all the children have had opportunities to
7. Rhyming Musical Chairs
Playing child-oriented music, play a variation of “Musical Chairs.” Line
up chairs for all of the children except one. Start the music and instruct
the children to walk around the chairs in a single file line for a few
seconds. When the music is paused, all the children scramble to sit in a
chair. Whoever is left without a chair draws a picture card from a
container and says it aloud. She then makes up a word that rhymes with
that word and gets to restart the music.
8. Sing Along
~ I know two words that rhyme,
~ I can say them all the time,
~ _________ and ___________
~ I know two words that rhyme.
9. Sing Along II
Sing “We Can Rhyme” to the tune of “Three Blind Mice.”
~ We can rhyme. We can rhyme.
~ Listen to the words. Listen to the words.
~ ______ rhymes with ______ and ______
~ ______ rhymes with ______ and ______
~ ______ rhymes with ______ and ______
~ We can rhyme. We can rhyme.
Choose your own words to fill in the spaces. Students may choose rhyming
words (pictures) that you provide or, when they are more experienced,
provide their own words.
10. Beanbag Toss
Lay picture cards out on the floor. Have each child throw a beanbag onto
one of the cards. Generate, or come up with as many rhyming words (or non-
sense words) as you can for each picture.
11. “Did You Ever See?”
Sing the following lyrics to the tune “If You‟re Happy and You Know It.”
~ Did you ever see a (cat) in a (hat)?
~ Did you ever see a (cat) in a (hat)?
~ No, I never, no, I never, no, I never, no I never,
~ No, I never saw a (cat) in a (hat).
Repeat with duck/truck, dog/log, ring/swing, rake/cake, or any other
rhyming pairs. After singing these verses, challenge the children to come
up with their own rhyming pairs to create new verses.
These teacher recommended books have more than one rime but are very good
for building the first stage of phonemic awareness: rhyming.
10 Little Dinosaurs by Pattie Schnetzler, ISBN 0-939251-74-4
A Beach Day by Douglas Florian
A Beautiful Feast For a Big King Cat by John Archambault, ISBN 0-06-
A Crow Named Joe by Peter Eyvindson, ISBN 0-921827-17-2
Africa Calling : Nighttime Falling by Daniel Adlerman
A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein
A House Is A House For Me by Mary Ann Hoberman
All God's Critters Got a Place in the Choir by Bill Staines
A Summer Day by Douglas Florian
A Winter Day by Douglas Florian
Baby Beluga by Raffi
Barn Dance by Bill Martin, Jr., ISBN 0-8050-0799-7
Barnyard Banter by Denise Fleming
Bears, Bears, Everywhere by Luella Connelly
Beside The Bay by Sheila White Samton
Better Not Get Wet, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom, ISBN 0-590-45420-
BINGO by Rosemary Wells, ISBN 0-590-02913-4
Bugs by Nancy Winslow Parker and Joan Richards Wright
Buzz Said the Bee by W. Lewison
Catch a Little Fox by Fortunata
Cats and Robbers by J. Wahl
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., ISBN 0-671-67949-x
Chicken Soup With Rice by Maurice Sendak, ISBN 0-590-44572-3
Cinderella Chant by Cochrane & Gallaghen, ISBN 0-921253-14-1
Color by Ruth Heller
Crocodile Beat by Gail Jorgensen, ISBN 0-689-71881-0-4-3
Crunchy Munchy by Brenda Parkes
Dark Cloud Strong Breeze by Susan Patron
Dennis and the Fantastic Forest by Adrian Raeside
Dinosaur Chase by C. Otto
Double Trouble by Andrew Clements; ISBN 0-590-96599-9
Don't Forget the Bacon by Pat Hutchins, ISBN 0-688-08-743-4
Down by the Bay by Raffi
Down by the Bay by Nadine Bernard Westcott
Do Your Ears Hang Low by Pamela Cote, ISBN 0-590-20305-3
Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
Early Morning in the Barn by Nancy Tafuri, ISBN 0-688-11710-4
Every Thing Grows by Raffi, ISBN 0-517-57275-3
Fiddle-I-Fee by Melissa Sweet, ISBN 0-590-03825-7
Fire! Fire! said Mrs. McGuire by Bill Martin, Jr.
Five Ugly Monsters by Tedd Arnold
Flap Your Wings and Try by Charlotte Pomerantz
Four Fierce Kittens by Joyce Dunbar
Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss
Fun With Colors by Lauren Pashuk
Gifts by Jo Ellen Bogart
Good Friday by Arch Books
Great Day for Up by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Have You Seen Birds? by Joanne Oppenheim, ISBN 0-590-71577-1
Have You Seen Bugs? by Joanne Oppenheim and Ron Broda, ISBN 0-590-24322-5
Hello, Cat You Need a Hat by Rita G. Gelman
Henny Penny by Paul Galdone
Henny Penny by H. Werner, ISBN 0-590-73159-9
Here Are My Hands by Bill Martin, Jr.
Hickory, Dickory, Dock by Robin Muller
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss, ISBN 0-394-80029-x
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss, ISBN 0-394-80079-8
How Do You Say It Today, Jesse Bear? by Nancy White Carlstrom, ISBN 0-590-
How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss, ISBN 0-394-80079-6
Hush Little Baby by Zemach
I Bought My Love A Tabby Cat by Colin West
I Can Fly by Ruth Krauss
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! by Dr. Seuss
I Can’t Said the Ant by P. Cameron
If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss
If You're Not From the Prairie by David Bouchard
I'm Looking for my Hat by Arthur Speer
I'm Tyrannosaurus by Jean Marzollo, ISBN 0-590-44641-x
Inside a Barn in the Country by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
I Love You, Good Night by J. Buller and S. Schade
In My Backyard by John De Vries
Inside a Barn in the Country by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
In the Small, Small Pond by Denise Fleming, ISBN 0-590-22309-7
In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming, ISBN 0-590-46104-4
I Said to Sam by Gwen Molnar, ISBN 0-590-71367-1
Is it Time? by Marilyn Janovitz
Is Your Mama A Llama? by Deborah Guarino
Itch! Itch! by Annie-Jo
It's About Time, Jesse Bear by Nancy White Carlstrom, ISBN 0-590-45421-8
Jake Baked The Cake by B.G. Hennessy
Jennifer Pockets by Jan McPherson
Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom, ISBN 0-590-
Jesus Enters Jerusalem by Arch Books
Jillian Jiggs to the Rescue by Phoebe Gilman
Jingle Bell Mice published by WhistleStop and illustrated by Lisa McCue
Johnny Crow's Garden by Leslie Brooke
Joseph and His Brothers by Arch Books
Kermit the Hermit by Bill Peet
Lunch by Denise Fleming, ISBN 0-590-46765-4
Maybe You Should Fly a Jet! by Theo LeSieg
Mice Squeak, We Speak by Tomie De Paola, ISBN 0-590-38666-2
Miss Mabel's Table by Deborah Chandra
Monster Beach by Betty Paraskevas
Moose on the Loose by C. P. Ochs
Mop Top by Don Freeman
Moses Supposes His Toeses Are Roses by N. Patz
Mother Hubbard's Christmas by John O' Brien
Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You? by Dr. Seuss
My Friend Bear by Jez Alborough
Never Take A Pig To Lunch by Nadine Bernard Westedt, ISBN 0-439-04022-1
Night House Bright House by M. Wellington
Oh, The Thinks You Can Think! by Dr. Seuss
One Bear, One Dog by Paul Stickland
Old Black Fly by Jim Aylesworth
Old Devil Wind by Bill Martin, Jr., ISBN 0-15-201384-0
One Duck Stuck by Phyllis Root
Old Mother Hubbard and Her Wonderful Dog by James Marshall
One Grey Mouse by Katherine Burton
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss
One Hundred Hungry Ants by Elinor J. Pinczes
One Wide River To Cross by Barbara Emberley
Our Brat Cat by Dick Punnett
Over In The Meadow by Ezra Jack Keats
Over In The Meadow by John M. Langstaff
Over On The Farm by Gwenda Turner
People in Your Neighborhood by Jeffrey Moss
Pigs a Plenty, Pigs Galore by David McPhail, ISBN 0-590-48883-x
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Eric Carle, ISBN 0-590-45409-
Rattle Bone Rock by Sylvia Andrews, ISBN 0-06-023451-2
Red Cat, White Cat by Peter Mandel
Rise and Shine by Nancy White Carlstrom
Rosie and the Rustlers by Roy Gerrard
Sam's Pizza by David Pelham
Sam's Sandwich by David Pelham
Scary, Scary Halloween by Eve Bunting
Seven Little Rabbits by John Becker, ISBN 0-590-41197-7
Shake My Sillies Out by Raffi, ISBN 0-517-56647-8
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw, ISBN 0-395-41105-x
Sheep on a Ship by Nancy Shaw
Sheep in a Shop by Nancy Shaw, ISBN 0-395-53681-2
She'll Be Coming Around the Mountain by Emily Coplon, Doris Orgel, and
Ellen Shecter, ISBN 0-553-37340-4
Shoes by Elizabeth Winthrop
Silly Sally by Audrey Wood
Sitting on The Farm by Bob King
Six Six Sheep by Joanna Cole, ISBN 0-590-47783-8
Sleep Book by Dr. Seuss
Soldier, Soldier, Won't You Marry Me? by John M. Langstaff
Spaghetti! Spaghetti! by Jack Prelutsky
Spider on the Floor by Raffi, ISBN 517-59464-1
Squeeze a Sneeze by Bill Morrison
Sun is Falling, Night is Calling by L. Leuck
Sun Sand Sea Sail by Nicki Weiss
Sun Song by Jean Marzollo
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear by J. Marzollo
Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear by Michael Hague, ISBN 0-590-48/045-6
Ten Cats Have Hats by Jean Marzollo
Ten Little Mice by Joyce Dunbar, ISBN 0-15-200601-2
Ten Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul Stickland, ISBN 0-525-45905-7
The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag
The Barn Party by Nancy Tafuri, ISBN 0-688-04617-7
The Berenstain Bears and the Ghost of the Forest by Stan and Jan
The Braggin' Dragon by Bill Martin, Jr., ISBN 0-590-221779
The Bugs Go Marching by Rozanne Lanczak Williams
The Carousel at Scarborough by Barry Smith, ISBN 0-85793-724-4
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss, ISBN 0-394-80001-x
The Cows in the Corn by James Young
The Crayon Counting Book by Pam Munoz Ryan and Jerry Pallotta
The Easter Day Surprise by Arch Books
The Easter Women by Arch Books
The Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base
The Fairies by William Allingham
The Farmer In The Dell by Diane Zuromskis
The Fat Cat by Jack Kent, ISBN 0-590-02174-5
The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss
The Fox Went Out on a Chilly Night by Peter Spier, ISBN 0-385-01065-6
The Friendly Beasts by Tomie dePaola
The Giraffe Made Her Laugh by Rozanne Lanczak Williams
The Green Grass Grows All Around by Hilde Hoffman
The Huron Carol by Father Jean de Brebeuf, illustrated by Frances
Tyrrell, ISBN 0-88619-280-3
The Itsy Bitsy Spider by Iza Trapani
The Jolly Christmas Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
The Jolly Pocket Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, ISBN 0-433-3942-x
The Jolly Postman by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, ISBN 0-434-92515-2
The Judge by Harve Zemach, ISBN 79-87209
The Lady with the Alligator Purse by Nadine Bernard Westcott
The Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
The Little Overcoat by Yetta Tracktman Goodman
The Little Pig That Learned to Jig by Alan Trussell-Cullen
The Mother's Day Mice by Eve Bunting
The Mouse Before Christmas by Michael Garland
The Mouse That Jack Built by Cyndy Szekeres
The Napping House by Audrey Wood, ISBN 0-15-256708-9
The New Baby Calf illustrated by Barbara Reid, ISBN 0-590-71405-8
The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore
The Party by Barbara Reid, ISBN 0-590-12385-8
There Once Was a Puffin by F. Jaques
There's A COW In The Road by Reeve Lindbergh
There's a Monster in the Tree by Rozanne Lanczak Williams
There's a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Simms Taback
The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt
The Teddy Bears' Christmas by Jimmy Kennedy
The Teddy Bears' Picnic by Jimmy Kennedy; Prue TheoBalds, ISBN 0-216-
The Thing That Bothered Farmer Brown by Teri Sloat
The Wheels on the Bus by Maryann Kovalski, ISBN 0-92110-92-1
The Wiggly Jiggly Line by Pauline Cartwright
The Zoo at Night by M. Robinson
This Is The Bear And The Picnic Lunch by Sarah Hayes
This is the Way by Anne Dalton, ISBN 0-590-45893-0
This Old House by Karen Ackerman
Time for Bed by Mem Fox
Time for Sleep by Denise Fleming, ISBN 0-590-00525-1
Tingalayo by Raffi, Kate Duke, ISBN 0-517-56926-4
To Market, To Market by Anne Miranda
Tog the Dog by C. Hawkins and J. Hawkins
Train Song by Diane Siebert
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star by Iza Trapani
Two by Two by Barbara Reid, ISBN 0-590-74407-0
Two Too Many by Jo Ellen Bogart
Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast by Jack Prelutsky, ISBN 0-590-42491-2
We're Making Breakfast for Mother by Shirley Neitzel
Wheel's on the Bus by Sylvie Kanotorovitz Wickstrom, ISBN 0-517-57645-7
When Cows Come Home by David L. Harrison
Where's My Teddy? by Jez Alborough
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox, ISBN 0-15-200787-3
Who is Tapping at My Window? by A. G. Deming
Wings on Things by Marc Brown
Wombat Stew by Marcia K. Vaughan
You Push, I Ride by Abby Levine
Identify the Beginning Sound of Words
1. Hot Potato
The children will all sit in a circle on the floor. Provide them with a
small basket with simple picture cards in it. Begin passing the basket
around when music starts playing. After a few seconds, stop the music.
Have the child who is holding the basket reach in and pull out a picture.
The child says the name of the picture and then says the beginning sound
of that word. Continue until all the children have had a chance to name a
2. Tongue Twisters
Give each child an egg carton and several dried beans. Instruct them to
place a bean in an egg carton compartment each time they hear a certain
sound at the beginning of a word. Make up several sentences which contain
the same first sound (e.g. “My mother married a mad movie star” would call
for 5 beans). Use several different sounds and different lengths of
sentences. Repeat sentences as needed so all children are successful.
3. “I’m Going on a Trip”
Play a variation of the “I‟m going on a trip” game by only taking items
that begin with a certain sound. Have one child start by saying, “I‟m
going on a trip and I‟m taking a dog.” The child next to him in the circle
says, “I‟m going on a trip and I‟m taking a dog and a doctor. Continue
around the circle until the children run out of ideas or someone forgets,
and then start a new sequence with a different beginning sound.
4. “Simon Says”
Play a variation of “Simon Says” by having the children stand in a long
line with the “finish line” marked several feet ahead of them. Write down
3 words on each of several note cards before the game, some that all start
with the same sound and some that don‟t. The teacher picks up a card and
says “Simon says, man, moon, and mine all start with the /m/ sound.” If
the children agree, they can step forward one step. If the teacher reads
words that don‟t all start the same and the children recognize that, they
also get to move forward. Occasionally, the teacher will read the words
without saying “Simon says” first and then those children that move have
to take a step backwards. Continue until all children have crossed the
5. Hungry for K’s
Tell the children, “We are on a special diet – we can only eat things that
start with the /k/ sound.” Fill up a lunch box with objects that begin
with /k/ (e.g., carrots, corn, cucumbers, ketchup, etc.). To make it
interesting, add other objects that start with /k/ but you wouldn‟t
necessarily eat (e.g., cards, cat, cow, key). “Throw out” any spoiled
items (i.e., objects that don‟t start with the special /k/ sound).
6. Sound Soup
Tell the children, “Today we‟ll be making Sound Soup - all the ingredients
must begin with the /s/ sound.” Fill the bowl with items such as salt,
spaghetti, and strawberries. Add in some non-food items for fun (e.g.,
straws, socks, and sleeping bags). For additional fun and practice, have
the children stir the soup.
7. Thumbs Up
Choose a sound and tell the children what it is. Begin listing off words
that contain and don‟t contain your chosen target sound. Have the children
put their thumbs up if the word begins with the special sound and thumbs
down if the word does not begin with the sound.
8. Sorting Mail
Have three envelopes with a target sound printed on the outside of each.
Have the children draw a picture from a pile and put it in the envelope
with the same beginning sound. If you are working with the same number of
children as envelopes, assign each child to collect the “mail” that goes
in their envelope.
9. Sound Bingo Game (for groups)
Using the materials provided here, give each child a bingo card. Before
playing, review all of the pictures on the Bingo cards by saying the name
of the picture and the sound that the word starts with. The teacher will
call off the selections by the first sound in the word or picture. The
sounds included are: /d, b, k, w, m, p, l, g, f/. The children will then
identify which picture begins with that sound. For example, the teacher
will call off the sound “kuh” and the children will cover the “king” with
a chip or marker. As the children place markers on the pictures, they can
call out “Bingo” when they have a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line
of words that have been covered. The first child who covers four pictures
horizontally, vertically, or diagonally is the winner.
10. Alphabet Search
Find items/pictures in a catalog/magazine that begin with different sounds
of the alphabet. Glue or draw the items on a paper that has that letter of
the alphabet/sound at the top. This could be the child‟s very own alphabet
11. “Let’s Label the House!”
Make labels using index cards. Write a different sound on each card. Have
the children draw the sound out of a bag and then find something in the
house/classroom that begins with that sound. When they find an object,
tape the sound to the item.
12. I Spy
Say the poem, “I spy with my little eye, something that begins with the
____ sound.” (Put a sound in the blank.) Have the child guess what you may
be looking at. After the child discovers what you‟ve spied, they can try
to fool you by spying an item. This activity also works great in the car
Identify the Ending Sound of Words
1. Which One Doesn’t Belong?
Provide the children with a worksheet with several rows of pictures on it,
3 in each row. Two of the pictures have words that end in the same sound
and one doesn‟t. Give the children the worksheet and several plastic
markers/chips and have them block out the one in each row that doesn‟t end
like the other two (e.g. pig/log/cat and they would block out the cat
picture). When finished, they can go back and make up silly sentences with
the two pictures remaining in each row (e.g. “The pig tripped over the
log” and share it with the class).
Make a Bingo board with a mixture of pictures of objects that end with the
same sound and some that don‟t. Give the children the boards and plastic
markers and call out the picture names one at a time. The children can
only place markers on those pictures that have the targeted final sound.
As the children place markers on the pictures, they can call out “Bingo”
when they have a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of words that end
with the same sound.
(If you do not have time to make your own, go to the link below to create
the cards. These cards will not have “Bingos” with pictures that have the
same last sound all in the same row. With these, when a child gets a
“Bingo,” have her name off the picture and the last sound in that word. )
- To create your own B-I-N-G-O cards by selecting a category or theme, go
3. Hot Potato
Have the children line up in two lines. Give each child at the beginning
of the line a beanbag. Start playing some favorite music and have the
children all face forward and pass the beanbag to the person behind them
alternating between over their heads and between their legs. When the
music stops the clinician names a picture from a basket and the person in
each line holding the beanbag tells the class what the last sound in that
word is. The music starts again and the game continues until all have had
a chance to respond.
4. Teacher’s Helpers
Select three children from the group to stand in front of the class. Give
two of them small white pieces of paper and give the third child a larger
red piece of paper. Tell the children that they are going to help sound
out some words that all have 3 sounds in them. Begin by saying a word like
„Sam‟. When you say the /s/, have the first child hold up a small white
paper, the /a/ child also holds up a small white paper, and when the last
sound, the /m/ is said, the child holds the large red paper high above his
head. Direct the children‟s attention to the last sound of the words in
additional three-sound words.
5. Sing Along
Sing to: “London Bridge is Falling Down”
~ What‟s the last sound that you hear?
~ That you hear, that you hear?
~ What‟s the last sound that you hear?
~ In dog, dog, dog?
~ /g/ is the sound that I hear,
~ That I hear, that I hear.
~ /g/ is the sound that I hear
~ At the end of dog.
Identify the Middle Sound of Words
1. Meet in the Middle
Collect sets of three pictures or objects that have the same middle sounds
(e.g. pig/fish/king; hand/cat/lamb; sock/mop/pot; bell/men/pet). Tell the
children that you are going to try to sort all of the pictures into the
right boxes based on the sound that comes in the middle of the word. Help
the children begin sorting them into small boxes with a vowel sound taped
to the outside. When sorting is complete, take all the cards out from each
box and review the words and their middle sounds.
2. Say it Loud
Ask three children to be your assistants in the front of the group. The
child on the group‟s left crouches down on her hands and knees. The middle
child stands tall and the child on the right is on her hands and knees.
When you say a three-sound word like „bell‟ have the first child say the
/b/ in a very quiet voice, the second child says the middle sound loudly
and the third child says her sound very quiet. Emphasize the middle sounds
of several words.
3. Name that Sound
Explain to the children that you are going to play a game with sounds and
you need them to listen carefully. Say three words that have the same
middle sound (e.g. game/lake/paint; soap/nose/goat; hat/rap/Sam). If they
can identify the middle sound correctly, they can call on the next child
after the next three words are said.
Using ten pairs of cards with familiar 3-sound pictures on them, shuffle
the cards, turn them over in a 4X5 grid and play a game of Memory with the
cards. As each card is turned over, the child will tell you the middle
sound of each word and try to find its match. Play continues until all
matches have been found. Review the words and emphasize the middle sounds.
5. On the Farm
Sing the song, “Old McDonald Had a Farm.” In the song, call attention to
the animals or objects on the farm. For example, when singing “Old
McDonald had a “cat,” ask the child to identify the sound they hear in the
middle of the word “cat.” Use simple words such as cat, pig, dog, duck,
goose, mouse, etc.
Segment Sentences into Words
1. Counting Words
Tell the children, “We are going to count words.” Using blocks or other
objects with many pieces, have the children build a tower according to how
many words are in the phrase.
-Tip: When generating phrases, try to use phrases relevant to the children
and their environment. For example, “Jenny‟s wearing blue today,” or “Alex
likes to play soccer.” These sentences will help keep their attention on
2. Words are Parts
Have three children stand side-by-side in front of the room with the
teacher. The teacher will read a three worded phrase. When the first word
is read, the first child will jump and so on for the other two words.
Begin by pointing to each child when it is their turn to jump. When facing
the three children, have the child on the left start first. This will
allow the class to see the left to right motions of reading print.)
3. Words are Parts II
Read short phrases to the children. When you have finished reading, have
the children clap the amount of words or parts that phrase had.
4. Collage of Words
Using a magazine or newspaper, have the child identify any words that they
can. If they are unsure of how to find a word, show them that the spaces
between words tell us where one word ends and another one begins. Have
them cut out words and glue or tape them on a piece of construction paper
to create a collage of words.
5. Scrambled Sentences
Using the materials provided here, cut each sentence strip into words, yet
keep each sentence in its own pile. Read the sentence aloud to the child,
and then have the child rearrange the words/pictures to make the sentence.
Once the child has placed the words/pictures in the correct order, have
them read the sentence to you.
6. Sentence Match Up
Using the materials provided here, give each child a picture card to
represent a word in a phrase. The teacher will call out the words, asking
the child with that card to stand up. Once all the cards are called for
that phrase, have the children go to the front of the room and stand in
order from left to right. As the children and teacher read the cards
together, have the children hold up their card as it is read.
7. Roll Along Words
Sit on the floor across from the child. The teacher will say a phrase, and
then the child and teacher will repeat the phrase while rolling a ball
back and forth on each word. For example, with the phrase “I love to
laugh,” the teacher and child will repeat as follows: “I” (roll ball to
child), “love” (child rolls ball back), “to” (roll ball back to child),
“laugh” (child rolls ball back).
-Tip: If working with a group of children, have them take turns rolling
the ball between all of them.
8. Game Board Fun
Choose any game board that has spaces to move. Using phrases or sentences,
read one for each child at a time. Have the child decide how many words
their phrase or sentence had. This number is the number of spaces they can
move on the game board. Continue playing until someone reaches the end!
9. Hunting & Hiking for Words
Choose a set of footprints from the materials provided here. Choose animal
footprints for hunting, or human footprints for hiking. Tell the child
that you are going down the “word trail.” Reading a phrase or sentence,
have the child take one step for each word that was read in the sentence.
After they have taken their steps, have them tell you how many words were
in their sentence.
-Tip: For groups of children, give each child a set of footprints to
follow. Whoever finishes the trail first wins the hike or catches their
Segment Words into Syllables
1. Words Have Parts
Using the materials provided, introduce a car, semi-truck, and train to
the children (you may want to hang the pictures up). Show the children
that a car has one part, a semi-truck has two parts (cab and bed), and the
train has three or more parts (engine, box car, and caboose). Tell the
children that words have parts too. Using words or pictures, assist the
children in deciding how many parts each word or picture has. Place each
word or picture with the corresponding vehicle.
-Tip: Mount each vehicle on the inside of a manila folder and laminate.
Place Velcro pieces around the vehicle and on the back side of each
word/picture. Have the children Velcro the pieces to the correct folder.
2. Name Game
Write all of the children‟s names on index cards and place in a basket.
Sit in a circle and pass the basket from one child to the next when the
music begins. When the music stops, whoever is holding the basket pulls
out a card and reads the child‟s name on the card. The class repeats the
name and claps out the number of syllables or parts as they say the name
(e.g. Mor-gan has 2 claps, Em-i-ly has 3). Continue with the music until
all names have been pulled from the basket.
- Tip: When instructing the children, it may be easier to describe
syllables as the different parts of the word. Be sure to give them
3. Syllable Haircut
Using the materials provided, cut out the words into strips. Tape the
strips to a baby dolls head (bald babies work best!). Tell the children
they will be giving the dolls haircuts. To make sure they have the right
length, they must cut the word in half, dividing it into two syllables
(doghouse would then be cut between the word dog and house). Tell the
children they have to cut the long word to make two short words.
4. Line Time
Using four pieces of construction paper, number each paper 1-4. Tape them
to the floor near the door to the room. As the children are lining up for
their next class or activity, tell them that they are going to line up by
the number of syllables or parts they have in their names. As you call
each child forward, have him listen carefully to the number of syllables
or parts in their names and stand on the corresponding paper. As other
children come forward have them form lines behind the first child. Choose
one of the lines to go first down the hall. For variation, try using last
names, middle names, or mother‟s names.
5. Drumming to the Beat
Give each child a foil pie plate and a marker. Have a list of several
objects within a category (e.g., animals, food, clothing, etc). As you
read each name, have the children beat out the syllables on the pie plate
with the marker and have one child tell you how many beats or parts they
counted. Try it again to make sure all the children are hitting the pie
plate the correct number of times.
6. Sorting Treasure
Have the children start out sitting in a circle. Set out 4 lunch boxes
decorated to look like treasure chests on a table near the group. The
children will be given 30 seconds to find several pictures placed around
the room (all pictures will be objects that have 1, 2, 3, or 4 syllables
in their names). The children will come back to their circle and decide
how many syllables are in each word and then take them to the treasure
chests where they are sorted into the right chest. The teacher then opens
up each treasure chest and the whole class checks to see how they did. Any
cards that were placed in the wrong box are set aside and sorted
7. Syllables Song
Have the children go through the motions of touching, in order, their
“Head, shoulders, knees and toes” to syllables. The children will touch
each body part to different syllables in a word you say. For example, if
you say the word “elephant” (3 syllables), your child would touch his head
“el,” his shoulders “e,” and his waist “phant.” Go in the following order:
head, shoulders, waist, knees, toes, and back. That way there are enough
body parts for a multi-syllable word.
8. Sing: “Hickity Tickity Bumble-Bee”
Teach the children the simple song below:
~ Hickity tickity bumble-bee, will you say your name for me? BZZZZ!
Sing the song together (works well in large groups) and on the “Bzzzz,”
the teacher points to a child. That child says her name and the class
“claps out” the syllables in the child‟s name. While singing, pat the
syllables or parts on the legs. Repeat until all children have said their
- Extension- Have the children identify the number of syllables in each
- Extension- Can adapt to segment phonemes or sounds in words, identify
initial and final phonemes or sounds.
Segment Words into Sounds
1. 1-2-3 Sounds
Using masking tape, mark one or more 3X1 rectangles on the floor. Provide
the children with a container that holds several pictures of 3-sound words
(e.g. dog, cat, lick, car, etc). Demonstrate for the children how you can
separate the word into its 3 parts and hop in each section of the
rectangle as you say each sound. Have the children each take a turn, then
leave the cards nearby and let them practice whenever they cross over the
rectangle during the day.
With the children standing, instruct them to listen as you call out words
and their sounds. When the first sound is introduced, have the children
place their hands on their head. When the second sound is made, the
children will place their hands on their hips. As the last sound in the
word is made, the children will touch their feet. Use several words
containing three sounds until the children consistently identify them.
Instruct the children to form a large circle and hold hands. One child
will be selected to stand in the middle of the circle. Play music and
instruct the children to move clockwise until you stop the music. At this
time the child in the middle will draw a picture card and break the word
into its three sounds. That child can then choose the next child to be in
the middle and trade places with them.
4. Objects for Sounds
With the children seated at tables, give each child five objects such as
markers, blocks or Legos. Have each child line up their objects in front
of them. While reading a book to the children, occasionally stop and call
attention to a word containing one to five sounds. Repeat the word and ask
the children to push forward an object to represent each sound in the word
(e.g., d-o-g=3 objects). For each child that had difficulties, have them
try again while you repeat the word.
Using pictures of objects provided here, cut each picture into the number
of parts indicated (e.g., “saw” will be cut into two parts as the word has
two sounds) turning them into puzzles. Give each child their own set of
“puzzles.” Begin with words containing two sounds such as “saw, shoe, and
zoo.” Have the children tell you the first sound and second sound in the
word as they take the puzzle pieces apart. After the children have
completed words with two sounds, provide them with the words that contain
three sounds. Be sure to explain to the children that some sounds may have
two letters. One example is the “sh” in “shoe,” it contains two letters,
but together they make the sound “shhhh.”
-Tip: Laminate the puzzle pieces to use again later.
6. Sound Sing Along
Using the verses provided here, add in various words containing two to
three sounds. Sing the song to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel.”
For words containing two sounds, sing:
“What are the sounds you hear in day?
What are the sounds in day?
How many sounds do you hear in day?
What sounds have you heard?”
“/d/ is the first sound in day.
/a/ is sound number two.
I hear two sounds in day.
Day has two sounds, it‟s true.”
For words containing three sounds, sing:
“What are the sounds you hear in net?
What are the sounds in net?
How many sounds are in net?
What sounds have you heard?
“/n/ is the first sound in net.
/e/ is sound number two.
/t/ is the last sound in net.
Net has three sounds, it‟s true.”
Blend Syllables into Words
1. Come Together
Collect objects from the classroom that are named with words containing
two or more syllables. Give each child two to four blocks depending on the
amount of syllables the words you chose have. Break each word into its
syllables will representing each one with a block. Repeat the syllables
again, saying them somewhat faster while moving the blocks closer to each
other. Continue until the blocks are touching and the word is connected.
2. Rolling Along
Have two children sit in rolling office chairs in front of the group.
Present the children with a word containing two syllables. Say each
syllable as you touch a child‟s head, placing a definite pause between the
syllables. Repeat the word with a smaller pause while pushing the chairs
closer together. Ask the children to identify the word. When the word is
identified, push the two chairs together.
3. Marshmallow Trains
Provide the children with several large marshmallows and toothpicks.
Instruct the children to push the toothpicks into the sides of the
marshmallows. Before giving the children a word, tell them how many
marshmallows they will need for this turn. Place each marshmallow a few
inches apart. As you say each syllable, touch each marshmallow with a
definite pause in between. As you continue to say the word with smaller
pauses, move the marshmallows closer together. When the children can
identify the word, their marshmallows can connect and make a “train.”
4. Mystery Card/Object
Place a set of picture cards or small objects in a bag. Have the
children take turns drawing an item from the bag; you may choose to have
them keep the card or object hidden from the others. Have the child say
the word in its syllables while the others guess what the word is. When
the word is guessed correctly, the item is shown.
5. Shopping List
Create a grocery shopping list, telling the children each item in
syllables (e.g., ice-cream, ba-na-nas). Have the children identify the
word, then write it on the board. You may choose to have the child who
identifies the word write it on the board.
6. Reading in Syllables
Choose a familiar story, rhyme or poem to read to the children. Choose
words within the reading to say in syllables. Have the children complete
the word before you move on. For example you could read, “She saw a black
/c-a-t/ looking at her. You could then follow with a question, “What was
looking at her?”
Blend Sounds into Words
1. Come Together
Have three children stand at a distance to each other in front of the
group. Explain to them that they will each represent a sound in a word.
Say a three-sound word such as “r-e-d,” placing a definite break between
the sounds. Before guessing the word, instruct the children to move closer
together as you say the word again. When the correct word is given, have
the children move so that they are touching sides.
2. Bumper Blocks
Provide each child with three blocks. Explain to the children that
they‟ will be building words with them. Say a three-sound word (e.g., f-u-
n) with a definite break between the sounds and point to each block as you
say the sound. Repeat the sounds, moving the blocks closer to each other.
Repeat the sounds one last time while pushing the blocks together
completely. Have the children practice with their own blocks as you
provide them with more words that contain three sounds. Using the
materials provided, you may choose to have the children take turns drawing
the next word/picture card.
3. Beanbag Toss
Sew strips of Velcro to the edges of three beanbags. Each beanbag will
represent a sound in a three-sound word. Demonstrate to the children by
saying the three sounds while referring to each beanbag. Follow with the
complete word while simultaneously linking the beanbags together. Continue
with different words and have the children raise their hands to guess the
word. The child that answers can then have a chance to throw the beanbags
through an opening in a cardboard target.
4. Role Call
This activity can be used to take roll call or to dismiss the children
to center time or any other task. Explain to the children that you will be
calling them by saying their name in its parts. The names are then said
with definite breaks between the sounds. When a child hears her name, she
is asked to stand and say her name in the parts and then as a whole word.
5. Scene It
Provide each child with paper and drawing utensils. Explain to them that
you will be naming several things for them to draw on their paper. With a
list of objects, say each objects name broken down into its sounds. The
children will then identify what object you named by blending the sounds
into the word. Scenic themes are provided here.
6. I S-P-Y
Play the familiar game “I Spy” with a different twist. For example,
using the names of objects in the room, tell the children “I spy a p-e-n”
and see if they can guess what it is. If the children are able to segment
words, have them take turns choosing things to spy.
7. Transition Time
Use this activity when the child transitions between activities. This
song is great for groups of children as well. Sing to the tune of “The
“What Time Is It?”
Do you know what time it is,
What time it is, what time it is,?
Do you know what time it is
When we /r/ /ea/ /d/?
Yes we read at ______o‟clock
At ¬______ o‟clock, at ______ o‟clock.
Yes we read at ______o‟clock.
We tell time!
Additional Verses: Replace activities (e.g., read) with a new activity
that child or group does during the day. Separate the sounds in the word
for the child to blend together.
Delete Syllables from Words
1. Word Breakdown
Explain to the children that they will be taking apart big words to make
another small word. Provide the children with multi-syllable words and a
chunk of hotdog shaped play-dough. Begin the activity by demonstrating the
cutting up of words such as hotdog and airplane. Say the word while
holding the chunk of play-dough, then break the play-dough in two pieces.
Each piece will represent a syllable. Point out the small word left after
you have broken the play-dough. Be sure to keep the children on their toes
by alternating between the first word and the last word when the big word
is broken down.
2. Syllable Haircut
Explain to the children that they will be making words shorter by giving
them a haircut. Using the materials provided here, cut out each word into
a strip. Apply these strips to a dolls head with the “-ing” ending at the
bottom of the strip. Demonstrate by holding up a strip and reading the
word aloud, then cut off the “ing” part, letting it drop to the floor.
Explain to the children that there is a word left after the “-ing” is cut
off as you have only taken off a part of the word.
3. Silly Words
Provide each child with four connecter pieces of a toy or game (e.g.,
Legos, pop-beads, trains). These connected pieces will represent each
syllable in a four syllable word. Take off the first or last connector
piece while also removing the first or last syllable of the word (e.g.,
kindergarten (4 syllables) becomes kindergar (3 syllables) when you take
off the last connector piece). Other words to use are provided here.
4. People in Action
Using the materials provided here, show the children pictures of people
doing things. Have the children take turns guessing what the person is. As
an extension, you could ask them which one they would like to be. When the
children have identified the person, ask them what the word would be if
you took the “-er” off.
Substitute Syllables in Words
1. Word Creation
Using the materials provided, present each compound word to the
children. Cut them into two parts as you go, laying them in a pile. When
all the words are cut, have the children pick up two strips to make a
silly word. As an extension, the children can draw a picture of what their
object would look like.
2. Name Game
Sitting at a table, provide the group with some small blocks (one red
block and several blue blocks). Designate the one red block as
representing the word “bat” and the rest to represent the syllables in the
children‟s names. Line the blocks to represent the first child‟s name
(e.g., Madison=3 blocks). Show the children that each block represents a
syllable in her name. Then, have the red block replace a blue block and
change her name to “BATison” or “MadiBAT.” Go through each child‟s name
and then focus on objects around the room.
3. Snack Talk
At snack time, choose a special syllable to use. All of the snacks (and
conversations about them) have to contain that syllable at the beginning
of each word. For example, if the snack was apple juice and graham
crackers, they could be zoo-ple juice and graham zoo-kers. Encourage the
children to talk in this new “language” during the entire snack time.
Initiate several questions and conversations about the snacks to give them
4. Silly Syllable Songs
Try activity number three with one of the children‟s favorite sing-a-
long songs. Change keys words in the song by substituting the “zoo”
syllable (or any other syllable) for the first syllable in the original
Delete Sounds from Words
1. First Drop Off
Cut out the pictures provided here and place them in a basket. Have a
child draw out a picture and name it. That child can then call on another
child to tell the group what that word sounds like when you remove the
first sound of the word (e.g., “cat” becomes “at”). That child can then
draw the next picture, name it, and then call on another child.
2. Cotton Cups
Provide each child with 10 cotton balls and a plastic cup. While reading
a book to the group, occasionally leave off the first sound of some of the
words. When the children notice this, they are to quietly place a cotton
ball into their cup. Take a break to discuss what sound was left off, and
then continue the story. When all the cotton balls are gone, make sure
every child filled their cup.
3. First and Last Drop Off
Using the materials provided here or your own, give each child a picture
of an object. Ask each child to first name the object, say it again
without its first sound, and then say it again without its last sound
(e.g., pin/in/pi). If one of their deleted sound words is a real word they
can turn in their card for another one and earn one point (e.g., in).
Continue until all of the children have at least five points.
4. Name Change Game
Make nametags for the children, removing the first sound in their names.
When the children arrive, they must find their nametag among the others on
a table. Be sure to wear a nametag with your name changed as well.
Encourage the children to wear their nametags and refer to each other by
that name for the rest of the day.
Substitute Sounds in Words
1. Sound Focus
Using the materials provided here, cut out the words and place them in a
basket. Be sure to use one set of words at a time. Have a child draw out a
card to read to the other children. Have the children take turns changing
each word by taking off the first sound and exchanging it for the sound
2. Letter Play
Assign each child to represent a letter; it may be helpful to provide
them with a piece of paper with their letter. Choose the children to stand
in front of the group to spell out a word (e.g., cat). After the group has
identified the word, have the child representing the letter “s” replace
the child representing the letter “c.” The new word would then be “sat.”
3. New MacDonald
Inform the children that they will be singing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm”
but in a new way. When singing the “E-I-E-I-O,” substitute some of the
parts with other sounds (e.g., O-E-O-E-Ah). Encourage the children to make
up other verses by substituting different sounds.
4. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” Substitution
Sing the first verse of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” in the traditional
way. For additional verses, change the initial sounds of key words within
the verse to the same sound. For example, for “b” sing:
Bow, bow, bow your boat
Bently down the beam.
Berrily, berrily, berrily, berrily,
Bife is but a beam.
5. Sound Reverse
Using words with three sounds, have the children reverse the first and
last sounds (e.g., ten/net). Provide the children with three blocks to
represent the three sounds. You may want to write the word on the board
and call on a child to reverse the letters and read the new word.
6. Name Play
Engage the children in choosing a special letter for the song. Sing the
following to the tune of “If You‟re Happy and You Know It.” Continue until
all the children's names have been used. For variation, you may want to
switch the special letter when switching to another name.
If you change the /k/ in Kerri to a /b/,
If you change the /k/ in Kerri to a /b/,
Then Kerri turns into Berri,
If you change the /k/ in Kerri to a /b/.
Songs that build phonological awareness
Phonological awareness activities
Units with activities and masters
Reading Rockets- Phonological Information
Simple Phonemic Awareness Activities