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Letter sound recognition

Sound Letter Recognition

If you are like me, you might have ASSUMED that your first graders know all of their sounds coming into first.  I quickly found that this was NOT the case.  The gal I student taught under used sound letter recognition worksheets at the beginning of the year, and so I continued the tradition… UNTIL… I moved out of first for four years, and when I went back – everything was GONE!  The teachers that stayed in first stopped using, and threw them ALL away!  Whomp Whomp!    I was a bit upset when I found out, but I should have kept a copy if they were that important to me.  In their defense, the set that we were using was all from the ditto machine – so needless to say – the copies were pretty bad.  So I guess I’m glad I had to create a new set! These are a LIFESAVER!  Here’s how it works:

Letter formation

This has just been added – this is a ppt/google slide that you can present on your whiteboard.  Click on present, and then click on the letter that you want to show your students how to form.  There’s an animated gif of each letter (capital and lowercase) for you to go over before they start on their worksheets.  See video…

Letter sound recognition

Activities for letter sound recognition

I make a packet of each letter before school starts (one for each student). The first page is the page we go over to practice how to form the letter.  You can start with any letter, but I do have a list that I use that coincides with our curriculum.

  • Introduce the letter M
  • Make the sound of the letter M
  • Come up with all the words we can think of that start with that sound
  • Project on the board the capital letter – show students how to form the letter using the arrows
  • Then have them AIR WRITE the letter M.  They put their pretend pencil up in the air and draw out the letter
  • Next have them trace the capital letter M on their page with their ERASER from their pencil
  • After they do that, then have them trace the three Ms at the bottom, and then write three of their BEST capital M’s.  Walk around and check their work.  Be a stickler for this – if they didn’t do it correctly, patiently erase and have them do it again (you’ll thank me later)
  • Then you can do the same thing with the lower case m.

Guided Practice for teaching letter sound recognition

Next will be the guided practice section.  I have everyone turn to the 2nd page.

  • We discuss some more words that they can think of that start with the letter M
  • Tell them that they will listen to the picture called out, and they will circle the picture if it begins with the M sound
  • For this activity, once we are done, I have them take out a crayon and stand by their desk
  • When I say switch – they move to another desk
  • Then I call on a student and ask them what the picture is and if we should have colored it
  • If the page that they are looking at has it correct, they leave it alone
  • If the student should have circled it, and didn’t, they circle it with their crayon (we go over what we should and should not do on a friend’s sheet).
    • Why do I do this?  Great question… remember – this is the beginning of first grade.  We are not only making sure that students know their sounds, but we are also trying to get our students acclimated to our classroom.  We do a lot of moving around, and so this is the perfect time to practice classroom procedures.  Walking, not running… being kind to our friends, etc. There have been certain times (certain groups of students) where I didn’t do this – learn your class – this might not work for them.  If that’s the case, you can have them check their own work.
  • Once we finish going over this sheet – they move back to their desk and look over their page
  • Then I have them turn to the next sheet
Letter sound recognition
Letter sound recognition

Letter Sound Recognition assessment sheet

At this point, students should have a pretty good understanding of the letter we are practicing.  For this page, I ask each student to follow along as I call out the words.  Pencils are DOWN.  This is great practice to our seat work that we will start doing once we start centers.

  • I call out each picture, I say the name, then they say it with me.
  • Next I call on two friends who want to try to say the names of all of the pictures on the page
  • Then I have them take out their privacy tent (which is something we use on a daily basis – so I need for them to practice using this).
  • Once they take out their tent, I explain that they are going to write the capital and lowercase letter M if the picture begins with that sound.  Then I tell them to begin.
  • I walk around the classroom watching students work on this page
  • As they finish, they raise their hand, but they also go on to the fourth page (the coloring page) while I walk around and check each students work.
  • I am checking for two things:
    • Making sure they put the Mm’s where they belong
    • And letter formation (if they were sloppy or just need extra help, I will erase it for them and use a highlighter for them to trace the correct formation)
  • As I’m checking work, students are coloring on the fourth page

Coloring Page

This is the fourth page that is used to keep them “occupied” as I check work.  Remember… this is still the first few weeks of school, so helping them realize that they need to keep busy and working at all times is super important.  I’m not a HUGE fan for coloring sheets that don’t really have an academic focus, but for the first few weeks, it helps.

I’m actually hoping to add some color-by-code sheets to go along with this activity.  Stay tuned!laughing

It’s been added – SEE BELOW! 

Letter sound recognition
Sound Letter Recogntion
Letter sound recognition

Homework sheets

The last page for the letter is a homework sheet that goes home on the night we practice the letter.  We don’t do a letter on Fridays, so these homework sheets only go home Monday – Thursday.  On Friday, I have some type of assessment to make sure students are retaining the sounds that we covered so far.

Some of my teacher friends found this too time consuming at the beginning of the year – but let me just say… they HELP!  Not only with sounds, but also with letter formation.  I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Shanon… how do you get your students to write so beautifully?”  I promise, it’s because I take the time at the beginning of the year to focus on this skill.

If you don’t have the time to make your own, here’s my resource.  Enjoy!

If you are looking for flashcards for phonics, check out my blog post here.

Letter sound recognition

other resources

Here are a few other resources that we’ve added to help practice these skills. 

Activities for letter formation
Activities for letter formation
Letter sound recognition