Fall themed pre-reading activity

Learning and hearing letter sounds is an important pre-reading skill for kids! This leaf themed letter sounds activity helps kids to learn in a fun way!

When kids are young, one of the first things we need to teach them is to listen for word parts and sounds. This should be done in playful ways as they play and explore language! This can be done through songs, chants, rhymes, and playful activities.

Phonemic awareness, which is the ability to hear the individual sounds (phonemes) in words, is critical for kids to learn in order to be successful readers and writers.

“Phonemic awareness is necessary for success in learning to read and write.” – Marie Clay

As you read books that play around with language, kids can build a strong base for their learning.

We love books that explore language in a fun way. For our Fall themed letter sounds activity, we read We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger which has some great repetition for kids.

How can we help kids develop simple pre-reading skills like hearing letter sounds?

Make a Simple Letter Sounds Activity

Letter sounds can be explored in fun and playful ways! This quick activity gets kids moving and learning while they explore letter sounds.

Here’s what you’ll need for this easy to set up leaf themed activity:

  • big white paper
  • markers
  • Sharpie
  • colored construction paper (Fall themed)
  • scissors

How do you set up a simple letter sounds activity?

You won’t believe how easy this is to set up.

  1. Select a few letter sounds that you want to focus on. We started with m, s, a, e (long e), t, and r. *
  2. Write the letters for those sounds on a piece of big paper.
  3. Cut out leaves from the colored paper.
  4. Write matching letters on the colored leaves.
  5. Hide the colored leaves around your house (semi-visible).

*It can be tempting to try and work on all of the sounds in the whole alphabet, but that can be really overwhelming for kids. Pick a few to start with. In the reading program that we use, we start with m, s, a and then move to e (long e), t and r, which is why we started with those letters first.

Now you’re ready to play our leaf letter sounds game!

Playing games like this is one way for kids to build phonemic awareness.

How can you teach kids phonemic awareness?

Since phonemic awareness is the ability to hear the individual sounds in words, playing with language is how you can teach it to kids!

Here are some ways that you can play with sounds:

  • Read books that involve language and word play, like rhyming books and poems.
  • Learn songs, chants, and rhymes.
  • Clap syllables.
  • Sort pictures by beginning/ending sounds, rhyming sounds, or number of parts (syllables)
  • Play language games to help kids listen to letter sounds.

Play the leaf letter sounds game!

To play this game, hide the leaves around the room.

Once your child finds a leaf, have them say the letter sound while they match the leaf to the correct letter. They can place the leaf on top of the letter to cover it.

Narrate for kids that are just learning sounds by saying, “Wow, you found the “e” sound, and you placed it on top of the “e.” Nice work.”

You can also say, “I see a leaf that makes the /m/ sound, can you put it on top of the sound it matches with?”

Over time, kids will say the letter sounds quickly as they match them without any support.

Teaching phonemic awareness skills doesn’t have to be complicated! Introducing kids to playful letter sounds activities is just one way! Here are two more fun pre-reading letter sounds activities:

This animal themed letter sounds matching activity by No Time for Flashcards is a great pre-reading activity!

We also love this rock letters alphabet activity shared by Days with Grey that can also be adapted to teach letter sounds. It helped motivate us to try our leaf themed sounds activity today!

Do you have any other favorite letter sounds activities that your kids love? Tell us about them in the comments.