Prep: None / Activity Time: 1-3 Minutes

Your 5-year-old likely knows most letters and their sounds. Being able to identify the various beginning, middle and ending sounds within words is an important next step in your child’s reading readiness journey. This version of “I Spy” is the perfect game to play at home or on the go and is a great way to help your child listen for specific sounds within words.

Step 1:  Choose something in the room and encourage your child to guess what it is by telling her the beginning sound. Make the sound of Pp, rather than saying the name of the letter Pp. For example, if you choose the word pillow, you might say:  "I spy with my little eye...something that begins with the /p/ sound."

Step 2: Provide additional clues using the different sounds that you hear in the word (but not about the object’s color, size, or shape).  

For example:

  • Talk about the beginning and the ending sound that you hear. You might say: "I see something that begins with /p/ and ends with /ō/like in the word go.”
  • Identify the number of syllables in the word and add a movement. You might say: "It has 2 syllables, and would sound like this if I clapped it:   clap    clap”    
  • Provide another word that rhymes. You might say:  "It rhymes with 'tillow.'"

Step 3: Acknowledge your child for correctly identifying the word or another word that fits the clues you gave. You can play this game again, using a different word.

 

Step 1: Choose something in the room and encourage your child to guess what it is by telling her the beginning sound.  

Step 2: To make it easier, offer a hint by looking in the direction of the object you want your child to guess.  

  • Provide additional words that begin with the same sound as the object you chose. Repeat the beginning sound of each word, rather than saying the name of the letter the word begins with. You might say:  "I spy with my little eye...something that begins with the same sound as p-p-pizza, p-p-popcorn, and p-p-potato."
  • Offer a choice between three words that begin with a different beginning sound. You might say:  "Is it the k-k-key, the s-s-suitcase or the p-p-pillow?"  Acknowledge your child for correctly identifying the word.

Step 1: Add some challenge by talking about beginning, middle and ending sounds. Choose something in the room and encourage your child to guess what it is by telling her the ending sound. For example, if you chose table you might say:  “I spy with my little eye…something that ends with /l/ ”

Step 2: Offer more clues about how the word sounds (but not about its color, size, shape).

  • Talk about the middle sounds you hear when you say the word. For example the /ā/ sound in table sounds like acorn. You might say: "It has the /ā/ sound in the middle."
  • Say the first syllables and leave of the rest of the word. You might say: "The first part of the word sounds like “tay” Can you guess what it is?”
  • Provide another word that rhymes but add a twist. You might say:  "My word rhymes with mable, if you change the /m/ sound to /t/ you might guess what it is.”  

Step 3: Praise your child for correctly identifying the word or another word that fits the clues you gave. You can play this game again, using a different word.