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, and build the letter with Play-Doh, 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, and 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, and me.

  • Word Parts (prefixes, suffixes, roots)

Additional Online Resources