Letter and sound recognition are essential skills that are required when learning how to read. These skills entail being able to identify the sounds that each letter of the alphabet represents and the letters that are used to represent these sounds. Whether you're a teacher or a parent, present children with engaging and entertaining activities to keep them interested and promote greater comprehension of these skills.

Tactile Letters

Have kids create tactile letters to help improve their understanding of the sounds that letters make. Print a large block upper and lower case letter on a piece of construction paper. After discussing the sound that the letter makes, provide kids with magazines, scissors and glue. Instruct them to search through the magazines for pictures of items that begin with the specified sound, cut them out and glue them onto the letter. For instance, if they are working on the letter C, they may cut out images of cats, cookies and cars.

What Letter?

Kids distinguish the letter that a particular item begins with in this activity. On index cards, print out the letters of the alphabet that you would like to reinforce and lay them on the ground. On another set of index cards, print out pictures that begin with the letters you are trying to reinforce and attach them to the cards. Have kids sort through the pictures and match the picture to the correct letter. For example, they would match a picture of an apple to the letter A and a picture of a balloon to the letter B.

Fishing for Letters

Kids go fishing for letters in this activity. Create a fishing pole by tying a magnet to the end of a length of yarn and the other end of the yarn to a wooden dowel. Scatter magnet letters on the ground -- several of the same letters if more than one child will be participating in the activity. After you state a word, children use the fishing pole to "catch" the magnet letter that the word you stated begins with. For example, if you said the word "fish," children would try to catch the letter F.

Pudding Letters

In this activity, kids not only practice letter-sound recognition, but they also practice their writing skills. Fill the bottom of paper plates with pudding and give one to each child. When you say a sound, kids write the letter that the sound makes in the pudding. If you said the /f/ sound, kids would write the letter F. To erase the letter and prepare for the next one, they simply rub the pudding to create a smooth surface. This activity also works with shaving cream.

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