Are you looking for a fun activity to help kids sound out words? My preschooler loved these!
(This post contains affiliate links.)
Over the past year, I’ve been doing a lot of pre-reading activities with my Four (almost five). We’ve read pocket chart sentences, used my voice to print packs to learn concept of word, and are even starting a simple reading curriculum for preschoolers.
He’s got concepts of print down.
He’s starting to learn simple sight words.
But sounding out words? That’s a tough one.
I created this activity without an expectation that my son would be ready for it. Imagine my surprise when it was just the thing he needed to get sounding out to “click!” Woo hoo!
To play, simply print the word building mat and a set of cards and pictures. Each page in the download has five pictures and five beginning letters or blends for a particular word family.
Help your child read the name of the word family. “Aaaad. Ad.” Next, he puts it in the red box (see above).
Have your child choose a letter, put it in the left box, and read the new word. “Ssss…ad. Sssaaad. Sad.”
Finally, he finds the picture that goes with the word and places it on the bottom sign.
When done, your child can place the letter and picture in two piles above the mat. Then he starts over with a new word.
When you’re done with one word family, try another one.
My son did really well with the short a and short o word families. When I pulled out the short i word families, he quickly became frustrated. We put the activity aside for the day, but I’m looking forward to trying it again when he’s ready.
Tips for preparing and using this printable
- Laminate for durability. (This is our favorite home laminator.)
- After you laminate each page, cut apart the letter cards and pictures. Bind each set together with a rubber band, and store all the sets in a quart or gallon size freezer bag.
- Depending on your child’s ability, do just a few sets at a time. If you sense frustration, be careful not to push too hard. Stop early if necessary.
- Start with the easiest word families. In my experience, kids learn word families best in this order: short a, short o, short i, short e, and short u.
- When your child can build the words on the mat quite easily, set the mat and pictures aside. Pull out a word family set and build a word, such as “cat.” Quickly place a new letter card at the beginning of the word ending. How quickly can your child read bat, hat, and mat?
- Try some of my other early reading printables to help your child grasp “sounding it out.” Browse my free printables page or purchase bundle packs pictured at the end of this post.
Try these bundle packs for more practice sounding out words.
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