Matching Beginning Sounds


  • To provide the experience of listening to and matching initial sounds in words
  • To perceive sounds and initial phonemes
  • To begin associating sounds and words

Self-adhesive notes and marker

listen     sound
letter first
same different

Literature Suggestion
Read Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg, or any book featuring animals that children can name.

  • Review Can I Keep Him? by Steven Kellogg.
  • Help children say the name and beginning sound of the name of each animal that Arnold wanted to keep (dog /d/, kitten /k/, python /p/).
  • Invite children to think of a first name for each animal that starts with the same sound as the animal name. Examples: Dixie Dog, Kenny Kitten (also accept Cuddly Kitten), and Patty Python.


  • Explain that you are going to play a listening and matching game.
  • Tell children that they will point to things in the room that start with the same sound as the beginning sound in their names.
  • Go through the following sequence:
    • Ask a volunteer to say his or her first name. (Example: Lisa)
    • Repeat the child's name and the first sound. (Lisa; The first sound in Lisa's name is /l/.)
    • Ask the child to look around the room for something that begins with /l/. Write the word for the object the child selects on a sticky note and ask the child to put the note on the object.
    • After the child places the note, repeat the child's name and the name of the object with the same initial sound.
    • Repeat the game with other children.

Pick an initial sound (such as /p/) and invite the children to find as many objects as possible in the room that start with that sound. (Examples: paper, puppets, picture) Have children repeat the initial sound aloud as they search.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child says the initial sound clearly and finds an object that has the same initial sound as his/her name.
  • In Process - Child has difficulty saying the initial sound and finding an object that has the same initial sound, but can do so with some help.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child does not yet say the initial sound of his/her name or find an object with the same initial sound.

Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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