Beginning Letter Sound Sorts
For emergent readers, beginning letter sorts will be with picture cards. The teacher will pick 2-4 letters and provide picture cards to model the beginning letter sound. Using a familiar text or a theme that students are studying can be helpful as well. I have created a beginning letter sound sort that is a part of my apple unit in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. I'm using this as an example of how to teach beginning letter sounds.
Direct the children on how to sort words bringing attention to the beginning sound. For example, say, "m-m-moon" and elongate the "mmm" as you place the word, drawing attention to the beginning sound.
Use pictures that are clear and will match the child's vocabulary. If a picture is confusing to a child or they consistently call it the wrong word during a sort, take it out of the pile. The apple set has six clear pictures for each of the four consonants above.
Model the sort, have the child try it independently, and have the child check the sort.
Beginning Consonant Blend SortsWhen studying beginning sounds, students will eventually encounter blends in their reading and writing. These are words like snake, frog, and blue. Blends can be sorted into 3 groups:
s blendssn, sm, st, sk
r blendsbr, dr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr
l blendsbl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl
Begin by comparing blends to single consonant sounds. Then move to contrasting groups of blends. Finally, let children match the beginning blend picture to the written beginning blend. These sorts can be done in the same way as sorting consonant blends. Chose the blends to teach by looking at the child's reading and writing.
Free Printable: Apple Beginning Blends Word WorkI've created a free printable for children to review beginning consonant blends. They can "pick" the picture card and put in the correctly labeled blend basket. This is also a good informal assessment to see if children have any knowledge of beginning blends. You can download this Word Work Activity for Beginning Consonant Blends in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store for FREE!
Children are usually ready to control consonant blends at the same time they are ready for word families. For more information about word families, including a free printable, check out What are Word Families?