Learn All Year Long
Read for My Summer
Beat the summer heat with engaging activities from ReadWriteThink.org.
ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
Taking a Sound Hike
|Grades||K – 2|
|Activity Time||Three 30-minute sessions|
- I'm a Reading Star Chart
- Paper and pencil or pen
- Crayons, markers, or colored pencils
- Dr. Seuss's Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? or a similar picture book that focuses on sound words
- Example Sound Words
- Tape recorder to record sounds heard on a sound hike or on the Internet (optional)
Before beginning this activity, visit the Sounds of the World's Animals site and browse through the information for several animals. Notice that there is no one way to spell or say the sounds that animals make. Nor is there a single correct way to spell or say the sounds of machines or people. As your child writes down sound words, don't worry about "right" and "wrong" spellings or pronunciations.
Discussing Sound Words
- Read Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? to the child. Allow time for discussion of the book and to answer any questions students have. Note that you can read the book several days before you discuss sound words together if you like.
- Once you've read and discussed the book and marked it on the I'm a Reading Star Chart, explain that you're going to read the book again and look for examples of sound words.
- Hold the book so that the child can see the page, and read the first page of Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You?
- Point out the sound words on the first page as you read. Encourage the child to repeat the sound words with you.
- As you read the book, ask the child to help you find the sound words. Read them aloud together.
- Once you've read through the book, read through the List of Sound Words together. Encourage the child to identify people, animals, or other things that make each sound. Emphasize that there is no one correct answer. In fact, the same sound word might describe sounds made by several different things.
- Ask the child to think about sounds wherever you are and add any new sound words to the list. For instance, you might think about these sounds to get started:
- Does the fan or air conditioner make a noise?
- What about the sound when you open a window or door?
- Is there a sound when you drag a chair across the floor?
Taking a Sound Hike
- Once you've explored sound words together, head out on a sound hike together. You might explore a building, the yard outside, a near-by park, a store, or even the library... any place that you'd like to go together. If you're unable to take a sound hike (or if you'd like to do a practice hike at the computer before heading outside), use this ReadWriteThink video sound hike.
- Take along a pen or pencil and paper. A clipboard or something sturdy to write on is also a good idea. The List of Sound Words may also be useful. If desired, carry an audio recorder (like a tape recorder or an iPod with microphone) along, and record any sounds you hear so that you can replay them later.
- As you explore the area you've chosen, listen for specific sounds. When you hear something particular interesting, stop and record the information. With the child, write down what you heard and sound words that described the sound. Here are some examples to demonstrate the details the child should record:
What You Heard Sound Words Barn Owl hoo hoo Thunder BOOM Fountain at the Park gurgle, gurgle
- At the end of your hike, review the list of words together. Encourage the child to read the sound words to you. Add or change information on the list if the child wants to revise the details.
- If desired, reread Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? (or the sound book you have chosen) and look for sound words in the book that are similar to those you found together on the sound hike.
- Save the list of sounds for the next activity.
Composing a Sound Book
- Review the list of words you gathered during your sound hike. As in earlier sessions, encourage the child to read the sound words to you.
- Ask the child to help you write your own book, using the sound words from your hike.
- Point out the structure used in Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? by reading several pages that show some of the repeating structures from the book:
- He can go like (the thing that made the sound) (sound words).
- He can go like (the thing that made the sound) He can go (sound words).
- Choose a new title. Begin with either the child's name or a word referring to both of you. Ask the child to choose a sound word from the hike for the title. The child might choose the favorite sound, an important sound, or simply the first sound from the hike.
- Move on to the body of the book. The child can choose favorite sounds from the hike and make pages for each sound. Use the sentences from Mr. Brown Can MOO! Can You? as the basic pattern for the pages.
- Have the child decorate the pages with drawings using crayons, markers, colored pencils, or other art supplies.
- Don't forget to make front and back covers for the book as well!
- Once the book is complete, staple the pages to create a binding.
- Place the book with other books that the child reads. Reread the result of your sound hike whenever the child wants to revisit the sounds.
- Make Book Covers Online-Add another session to the activity, and use the online Book Cover Creator to create a cover for the book together. Visit the Book Cover CreatorTool page to learn how the tool works, and check that your computer has the necessary Flash plug-in installed. Once you've prepared, have the student work with you at the computer to choose templates for the front and back cover and add the related details. Be sure to allow enough time to complete your covers in a sitting since work cannot be saved with the tool.
- Repeat Your Sound Hike-Return to the location where your sound hike took place, carrying the child's book along. Read through the pages of the book in the location and listen for the sounds. As an alternative, visit the place at a different time of day or different time of the year. Ask the child to listen for new sounds and write a sequel to your book.
- Start Your Own Sound Hike Series-Once the child understands the idea of sound words, you can take a sound hike anywhere. You don't even need to plan since all you need are paper and pencil. When you visit new places together, record sounds that you hear. When your visit is over, compare the sounds from the new place to the sounds in the child's sound hike book. The child might create additional pages or another book that illustrate sounds from your new hikes.
- Listen for Sounds Everywhere-Invite the child to listen for sounds and write down sound words anywhere. You don't have to be out on a walk to gather sound words. Write down sounds you hear on a bus ride, noises you hear together while playing outside, or sounds you hear together while taking a bath! Anything goes! The child can create additional pages or books. Or give the child a notebook dedicated to sounds and invite the child to record sound words all summer long.
Discussion is a natural way for children and teens to express or explain what they already know or what they are learning. When possible, let children and teens lead the direction of a discussion. Ask questions that lead to an extended response (“What do you think about…?” or “Why do you think…?”) rather than questions that might result in a yes or no or a simple answer.