Learn All Year Long
ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
Practice Letters and Sounds Using Online Games
- Set of alphabet cards or index cards with one letter per card
- Large sheet of paper
- Computer with Internet access and printer
- Uh-Oh! Cards
- Online ABC Match game
Depending on the age and ability level of the child you are working with, you may need to help with some of these activities so that he or she recognizes the letters of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Make changes to these activities to meet the needs of the child and to focus on the skills that need practice.
Activities 1 and 2 can be done with one or more children.
Activity 1: Letter Hide-and-Seek
To prepare for this activity, get some alphabet cards. You can buy them or make them using index cards, one letter per card. Depending on how well the child knows the alphabet, cards can include just the uppercase or lowercase versions of the letters or both upper- and lowercase. Hide the cards around the room, if possible, near items that begin with each letter (e.g., the letter l next to a lamp, the letter r sticking out from under the rug).
|1.||Tell the child that you have hidden 26 alphabet cards and that it is his or her job to find them and put them in order. Share that some cards may be hidden near objects that begin with that letter.
|2.||Have the child bring you the cards as they are found. Ask what object each card was near that begins with the letter on the card. (For letter cards hidden not associated with an object in the room, ask the child to think of a word that begins with that letter. Help if needed, making sure to place the stress on the first letter sound in the word.)
|3.||Lay the cards in the order they are found on a large sheet of paper. When all 26 cards are found, have the child put them in order. Tape them to the sheet of paper and hang them on the wall.
|4.||Once the letters are in order, ask the child to say their names and the sounds they make.
Activity 2: Alphabet Uh-Oh!
To prepare for this activity, print the Uh-Oh! Cards, cut them out, and place them in a bag.
|1.||Take turns with the child drawing out a card. Whoever draws a card can say the letter name, the sound it makes, or a word that starts with that letter.
|2.||If the player is correct, he or she keeps the card. If the player draws an Uh-Oh! Card, he or she must put all the letter cards back in the bag. The Uh-Oh! Card can be put aside and is out of play.
|3.||Play until all of the letter cards are out of the bag. The player with the most cards wins.
Activity 3: ABC Match
Have the child play the online ABC Match game. He or she can turn over one letter and one picture card per turn, trying to match the picture with its correct beginning letter. Use the Learn Mode if the child is having difficulty and needs extra help from you in making the matches. The Play Mode lets the child play against a timer and offers a fun challenge. Turn on the sound on your computer to hear the names of the pictures.
If you cannot play the ABC Match game online, print and cut out the cards to play an offline version. Lay all the cards face down (pictures grouped on one side and letters grouped on the other) and take turns turning over two cards, trying to find a letter and picture that match. The winner is the one with the most matches.
Visit the ABC Match page for more information about using this tool.
Knowing that spoken words are made up of individual sounds (also called phonemes). This knowledge is not something children need to learn how to speak and understand a language, but it is important for learning how to read.