July 24, 2018
by Catherine Crider

Lesson plan

A-Z Beginning Sounds

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Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the A-Z Scavenger Hunt pre-lesson.
EL Adjustments
Grade Subject
Do you need extra help for EL students? Try the A-Z Scavenger Hunt pre-lesson.

Students will be able to identify the sound that different letters make at the beginning of words.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Call students together.
  • Read In a People House by Dr. Seuss. Before reading the story, use sticky notes to cover up the first letters in many of the words. While reading, encourage students to use the pictures to identify what word will come next and isolate the beginning sounds. After students have done this, reveal the letter from under the sticky note that is making the sound.
(10 minutes)
  • Tell students that they just identified the beginning sounds of words in a book!
  • Next, take time to sing the alphabet and point out each letter on an alphabet chart. Have students identify each letter on the chart one at a time, and as a group practice the sound each letter makes.
  • Have students take turns coming up to the front of the classroom to form a letter of the alphabet with their body. Have their peers identify the letter and the sound it makes.
(5 minutes)
  • Using the chalkboard/whiteboard, demonstrate to students isolating the first letter of your name and write the first letter in the center of the board. Ask students to come up and draw pictures of other things that also start with this first letter around the letter.
  • Pass out pieces of paper to each student. Explain that they will be putting the first letter of their name in the middle of the page and then drawing pictures of words that start with the same sound/letter around it.
  • Ask students to think about the first letter of their name. What sound does it make? What other words start with the same sound?
  • Before sending students off to work, remind them of any independent work time rules (i.e., only speaking in a whisper, raising hands for needs, etc.).
(10 minutes)
  • While students are working, any adults in the room should be circulating, answering questions, and asking students to identify beginning sounds and letters in words.
  • Playing quiet music in the background can help to set a good working mood and keep conversations to a minimum.


  • Working with a partner can help to scaffold this activity.
  • Pre-cut visuals of simple items that students can glue on their pages can also help students to show what they know.


  • For students needing a greater challenge, encourage them to also go through magazines and find pictures of items starting with the same sound to cut out and paste instead of just drawing.
(5 minutes)
  • Student accuracy in drawing items that start with the same first letter of their name can be used to determine if the lesson objective has been met.
  • Adults should take anecdotal notes about students' answers to questions around their thought processes in completing the activities. These can be used to make determinations about what students know.
  • Student knowledge of letter sounds can also be tested with the Sound Off! assessment.
(10 minutes)
  • Call students back together.
  • Ask students to share their experiences. What was the favorite word they thought of? What did they find most difficult?
  • Go through the alphabet one more time, making the sound that each letter makes in funny voices.
  • Post student work somewhere in the room so that they can continue to see it and talk about the sounds that letters make in the beginning of words.
  • Encourage students to try this at home with their parents, siblings and pets!

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