Teaching Resource

Beginning Sounds Sorting Activity

PDF, Google Slides | 7 pages|Grades: Pre-K - 1

Practice identifying beginning sounds of words by sorting this set of 24 picture cards.

There are word sounds that are just fun to say.

Especially the ones that are really punctuated, like consonant phonemes and short letter sounds. They have a certain punch to them. And that punchiness makes it easier for early readers to commit those letter sounds to memory, forming their foundational language skills.

To develop their phonological awareness, budding readers rely on visual cues to help them match sounds to letters and eventually sound out and identify sight words.

Using our Beginning Sounds Sorting Activity, you’ll strengthen your students’ confidence in identifying letter-sound relationships by sorting words with the same beginning sounds. Specifically, this sorting activity focuses on words that start with:

  • Short c
  • Phoneme /b/
  • Phoneme /m/

To play, students will match picture cards to the word “category” card with the same initial letter sound: bat, cat, mat.

Students will sort picture cards for the words:

  • ball
  • bear
  • bus
  • bike
  • barn
  • banana
  • bee
  • bone
  • cake
  • car
  • cow
  • carrot
  • clock
  • cookies
  • candy
  • caterpillar
  • moon
  • monkey
  • mouse
  • milk
  • mailbox
  • mushroom
  • mountain
  • mad

How to Play Our Beginning Sounds of Words Sorting Game

This resource can be used as a reading center game to practice identifying the beginning sounds of words. It can also be used as individual instruction or review for early finishers.

To play, students will sort the picture cards to their matching beginning sound category card.

More Classroom Games Featuring Words with the Same Beginning Sounds!

Looking to scaffold this resource or turn it into a whole class phonics exercise? Check out additional ways to use this activity.

Odd Man Out

Place 3 picture cards at each station, making sure 2 of the cards represent the same beginning word sound and the 3rd card is different. Either independently or in pairs, students will rotate through each station to identify and write the beginning letter of the matching pair on a separate sheet of paper.

Scoot Activity

Place all 24 picture cards around the room. Ask students to stand up with a recording sheet or blank sheet of paper. Assign one card to each student to start, having them rotate through each of the cards, writing the correct beginning letter on a sheet of paper. (NOTE: You’ll need to write a number on each of the picture cards to record answers.)

Keyword Brain Buster

As a small group or full class, challenge your students to think of as many new words as they can for each beginning letter sound. Have them shout out words (or call on students) while you write the words on a smartboard, whiteboard, or other projection devices for students to see. Then have students pick 3 words and draw a picture of each.

Change the Difficulty Level if Needed

Students who need more time identifying beginning letter sounds can use a second visual reminder of the letter sounds, like a classroom alphabet chart.

Easily Prepare This Resource for Your Students

Print the task cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity.

Before You Download

Please note this resource is available in Google Slides or as a PDF. An answer key is also included with this download.

This resource was created by Lindsey Phillips, a teacher in Michigan and a Teach Starter Collaborator.

Get more beginning word sound resources in our English Language Arts and Reading area! We think your students will especially enjoy…


  Common Core Curriculum alignment

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