Family Resources for Early Literacy


This is the ability to match a sound (phoneme) to the letter or letters that make the sound (grapheme).

At Home Activities

  • Talk about what sounds are made by which letters.

  • Point out letters and print in books. Say what those letters are called and tell your child what sounds they make.

  • Match the letter to the sound

    • Ask your child to tell you what letter makes a certain sound. You can use this video by Jack Hartmann.

  • (What letter makes the /b/ sound?) Write the letter, build the letter with Playdoh, Legos, pasta noodles, etc.

  • Do letter sorts with your child sorting for uppercase and lowercase letters using letter tiles, magnetic letters, or letters written on index cards. Have your child cut out letters from magazines/newspapers to sort.

  • Make an alphabet book using pictures from old magazines and catalogs. Have your child write the letter at the top. Help your child label the picture and read the words.

  • Ask your child to match the letters in his/her name to the sounds in his/her name.

  • “Alphabet Ball” - Call out a letter and have your child respond with a word that begins with that letter. Bounce the ball to your child and he/she calls out a letter and you respond.

  • Write letters on pieces of paper and put them in a paper bag. Let your child reach in and take out letters. Have your child say the sounds that match the letters.

  • Have your child practice letter recognition with this game using an alphabet arc.

  • Writing words - Many children love to send and receive notes, and writing is a great way to reinforce phonics skills. Send your child notes in his/her backpack or place notes on the pillow. Have a relative or friend send a letter or email to your child. Whenever your child receives a note, have him/her write back. Don't be concerned about spelling. Instead, have your child sound out the words to the best of his/her ability.

  • Labeling words - When reading with your child, keep Post-it notes handy and have your child choose one picture in the book and label the picture on a Post- it. (For example, a picture of a ball – write the word “ball”.) Put the note in the book to read each time you come to that page.

    • Long and Short Vowel Sounds Game

  • Your child will have high frequency words (meaning words that occur often in print, such as “the” “and” etc.), sometimes called sight words or red words, they’re working on in class. Go on a “red word hunt” in a book and discuss how those words are spelled.

  • Practicing words with pictures - Choose pictures from a magazine or catalog. Say the name of the picture, have your child say the sound that the picture begins with and the name of that letter.

  • Hunting for words - Choose a letter and have your child hunt for five items beginning with that letter sound. As each object is found, help your child write the word on a list. For example, if the target sound is /m/, the child might find and write mop, mat, mom, map, me.

  • Word Parts (prefixes, suffixes, roots)

Additional Online Resources