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Exploring all sounds: Fun ideas to kickstart your spelling lessons

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Exploring all sounds: Fun ideas to kickstart your spelling lessons

Sound Waves Spelling 22/2/17


A sound exploration session is the perfect way to tune students’ ears and eyes to recognise phonemes (sounds) and focus on graphemes (letter/s). Before you introduce the week’s focus phoneme, conduct a quick and easy whole-class activity that explores a variety of sounds. Use this time to revise past sounds, or introduce sounds that may not be explicitly taught until later in the year.

Here are some of our favourite activities for exploring sounds.

Warm up with a song
Sing along to the Echo the Sounds song

This fun song with a catchy tune really gets the class motivated. Students echo the sounds to a slow happy beat, practising pronunciation of the 43 phonemes as a class.

Move along to the Chants and Actions

Performing the Sound Waves Spelling Chants and Actions is a fun activity that will reinforce the phonemes. It can also be used to introduce students to phonemes that haven’t been studied yet in their weekly units.

A simple activity using the Chants and Actions is for one person to say the start of a chant and for the rest of the class to respond with the phoneme and the action. For example, you say, ‘Shiny Shell,’ and the students say, ‘ shell,’ in time with the action of shining a shell.

Play a game
Play Name Sounds Elimination

This is a quick, simple game that gets the whole class involved. Ask the class to stand, then say a sound or point to a Sound Box on the Sound Waves Spelling Teaching Charts. Any students who have this sound in their first name are eliminated and sit down. Continue until only one student, the winner, remains.

Play I Spy

A new twist on the traditional game of ‘I Spy’ that will have your students exploring phonemes everywhere! Play the game with sounds instead of letters. You can make this game as easy or as difficult as you like, for example:

  • I spy something beginning with house.
  • I spy something ending with tiger.
  • I spy something that contains bee but doesn’t contain the letter e.
Play Hangman

Another traditional game with a Sound Waves Spelling spin that works really well as a warm up. Choose several words, or create a sentence of words, that contain the same sound. Once all letters have been revealed, have students identify the common sound in the words. For example, ‘The heavy egg we had for breakfast was very fresh.’ (for egg)

Why not use these games to introduce the Sound of the Week? Make one of the answers in the game include the week’s focus sound or have students identify a common sound in the answers.

Tell us your favourite weekly warm-up activity for your Sound Waves Spelling lessons. Share your ideas on social media and tag us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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