Hands-On Learning Games: How to Teach Consonant Sounds

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Learning letters need not be a painful process where your child is drilled on letter sounds. This is a game that not only teaches your child the consonant sounds, but also helps them learn how to recognize sounds as they naturally occur in words.

Materials:

  • Sturdy paper or cardboard-one piece is enough for four letters
  • Objects or pictures of objects beginning with each consonant sound ( be careful NOT to choose a word with a blend. For example, book instead of bread). You can glue the pictures on cardboard or laminate them for durability and to make it easier for your child to pick up.

How to Make:

  • Fold each paper in half.
  • Now fold the same paper in half again, so that you have four sections.
  • Cut the paper into four sections, and print four letters on each section.
  • Laminate or cover with clear contact paper for durability.  
  • Glue the pictures on small pieces of cardboard about half the size of each letter. On the back of each picture write the sound that it starts with.

How to Play:

Stage 1

  1. Choose two letters that look and sound different. Place them in front of your child.
  2. Point to one and say, “This is “S”. This is “B .” Make sure to tell your child the sound the letter makes, NOT the letter name. Many children get confused between letter names and letter sounds, and so it is better to teach the letter names at a later stage. You should also teach the hard consonant sounds first: c for cat, not c(s) for circle.
  3. Ask your child, “Show me the “S.”  Show me the “B.” If your child gets confused, simply tell them the correct answer.

If your child has trouble remembering the letter sounds, don’t spend time drilling him on it over and over again. Children (and adults too) learn and remember better when there is a space between learning periods.

Come back to the letters a few hours later; even if it takes your child a few days to remember each set, she will still be finished in only a few weeks.

Stage 2

Once your child knows at least two letters, you can introduce the object pictures.

  1. Choose two letters. Place each one level with each other, with a bit of a distance between them.
  2. Take the pictures of objects that go with those sounds, and mix them up in a pile to the left of the letters.
  3. Choose one, asking your child to tell you what it is. Model sounding out the words, stretching out the sound of the first letter. Then place that picture under the corresponding letter.
  4. Do one more, and then let your child try it out. Show her how to check her work when she is done, by flipping over the picture.

TIP: Stay with your child the first few times she plays this game; she will need help stretching out the first sound.

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