10 Activities for Teaching and Practicing Letters and Sounds

So it’s late November and we have just a few first graders who have not yet mastered their letters and sounds.  For these little firsties, we needed to readjust their intervention plan and bump it up a knotch in terms of intensity.  It’s always difficult to find time in a jam-packed school day, but mastering letters and sounds is really important and must take priority right now.  One way to add intervention time is to teach volunteers and/or the child’s parent in how to teach and practice letters and sounds.   Having the right activities available and directions for correctly using the activities is really important.  I’ve collected 10 of my most favorite activities for teaching letters and sounds and gathered them in a teaching bag with the directions for each activity.  The alphabet bags can either be used at home or at school.

It all begins with assessment.  Before beginning with the alphabet bags, it is important that you know which sounds your student knows and does not know.   If you do not have an assessment that you already administer at school, feel free to download the Make, Take & Teach Letters and Sounds assessment.  I’ve included progress monitoring charts so that you can track your student’s progress.

Click the following link to download the FREE assessment with progress monitoring charts Letter Sound Assessment

The following pdf contains the directions for each activity as well as a time recording sheet to keep track of the practice sessions.  Be sure to write the upper- and lowercase letters that the student missed at the top of the form as these letters will be used in the teaching activities.

Click the following link to download the free directions for using this kit Learning Letters and Sounds

Each practice session will begin with the letter flashcards.  Specific directions for this review are listed on the pdf above.  To make the flashcards, you’ll simply need to cut along the dotted line.

Click the following link to download FREE letter flashcards Small Flashcards- Alphabet

Following the flashcard review, have your student choose one of the six teaching activities.  (1) I printed the unknown letters from the Dough Letters activity to use with the Play Doh, but you can also use the free Multi-Sensory cards for this activity if you choose.  (2) Bendaroos are wax covered sticks often found in the arts and crafts or toy section in large chain stores such as Walmart.  You can purchase those in any size.  I typically purchase a large box and place about 20 in a baggie for each student.  (3) Craft sand can be purchased at Walmart.  Simply put sand on a paper plate and have the student write the letters in the sand.  (4 and 5) Dry erase boards and small Magnadoodles can be purchased in a dollar store. (6) Plastic screens can be purchased in the arts and crafts needle work section of Walmart or a similar store.  Specific directions for the volunteer or parent are on the pdf.


Click the following link to download FREE multi-sensory letter cards Multi-Sensory Letters

If you’d like to use the Dough Letters for the Play-Doh, click HERE.  Helpful hint:  I used only the unknown letters and covered the page with contact paper so it would be easy to use multiple times.

After the direct teaching activity, have your student choose one of the 5 letter/sound games.  My all time favorite activity for practicing letters (and sight words too) is (7) Fiddle Sticks.  To make this activity write a letter with a black Sharpie marker at the end of a large craft stick (you’ll need about 50 sticks).  On one stick color the tip red or, in this case, I put a snowflake on the stick to match the cup.  Directions for playing this game are on the pdf above.

The (8) ABC Turtle game is a fun game for practicing letters and sounds.  This activity can be downloaded for free from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

ABC Turtle.001

Click HERE to download the FREE ABC Turtle game.

To make the (9) Make A Word activity you will need 3 wooden blocks.  I use 1″x1″ blocks.  Using a black Sharpie marker, write the following letters on the first block:  g, r, d, m, j and p.  Again using the black marker, write the following letters on second block: f, c, b, h, t and s.  Using either a blue or red Sharpie marker, write the following letters on the third block:  a, e, i, o, u and a.  Again, directions for this activity are on the “Learning Letters and Sounds” pdf.

Make A Word Templateblogpic2

Click the following link to download this free template Make A Word Template

The (10) ABC Order and (11) Making Words activity from the Cookie Sheet Activities file complete the alphabet bag!  Okay, so my math is a bit off.  I guess there are 11 alphabet activities in the bag.  For these activities you’ll need magnetic letters and I often place the templates and the letters on a cookie sheet.  You can find magnetic letters at the dollar store, but I purchase mine through Banks School Supply as I like the size and shape of the letters (picky, I know).



Click HERE to download this file from my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

I’m hoping that this little alphabet bag will quickly help those first graders master their letters and sounds!  Hope you, too, find it helpful with your students.




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  1. says

    Good afternoon,
    My name is Abby and I help to run a website which offers hundreds of free Early Years and Key Stage 1 teaching resources called Early Learning HQ (www.earlylearninghq.org.uk).

    The Letters and Sounds programme is a very important topic during the early years and we have lots of resources relating to this topic here: http://www.earlylearninghq.org.uk/literacy/letters-sounds/. Would you mind having a look at them to see what you think? If you have any ideas for different resources we could make then please let me know and I will make them for you.

    Perhaps if you like the resources then you would consider linking to our page so other parents and teachers can find them as well? We make all the resources in a very small team in Swansea and it would be nice to share them with more people.

    Many thanks,

    • Julie says

      I’m working on one right now for sight words and hopefully will have that posted within a week or two. I’ll work on math after that. Thanks for the idea.

  2. Jen says

    hi there, Im downloading some of your ideas here. They are great….The fiddle sticks game though you said could be downloaded from a PDF above and I cant find it anyhwere. Can you send me in the right direction please.

  3. says

    Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?

    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

  4. Keisha says

    Thank you so much for all of your hard work and ideas. I am volunteering in an English as and Additional Language class. You have provided some awesome ideas and we are grateful!

  5. Krystal Zollinger says

    Thanks for all the great ideas and freebies too!
    I am using some of these ideas as I help some Albanian children learn English.

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