Prep: 15 Minutes / Activity Time: 5-7 Minutes

Here’s a fun, simple way to introduce your child to the different parts of words using pictures from a magazine and a few index cards. When your child is exposed to words and sounds in a playful way, it builds the a strong foundation for future skills, especially when it comes to reading and writing.

As you play this onset and rime game, your child will hear you break down a one-syllable word by onset (everything before the vowel) and rime (the vowel and everything after it). This is just one of the ways you can segment a word to challenge her listening skills. The pictures will help her recognize the word you have segmented, and together you can blend the sound parts back into the word!

  • pictures of animals: cat, fish, bird, dog, mouse, pig, duck, horse, goat, bear, fox
  • index cards
  • glue
  • scissors

Step 1: Find magazine pictures of the animals from the list above and glue them on to index cards.

Step 2: Start with any four of the picture cards and place them down in front of your child. Say the name of each animal and explain what you are going to do. Remember to praise any attempts your child makes to find Which Picture? You might say:

Let’s look at these pictures. Here is a cat, a fish, a bird and a dog. I’m going to say the name of one of these pictures in a different way. Let’s see if you can find Which Picture! Listen /c/, /c/…at. Which picture is the /c/…at?

If your child finds the picture, give her lots of praise. You might say:

Hip, hip, hooray! You found Which Picture! Say it with me: cat!

If your child does not find the picture, say the segmented word and the word again. You might say:

Listen again, /c/…at, cat, /c/…at, cat. Which picture is the /c/…at, cat? You found it, hip, hip, hooray! Say it with me: cat!

Step 3: Add to the fun by asking her to make a sound effect or motion that corresponds with the animal. You might say:

Let me hear you meow like a cat! Pretty, kitty cat! Let’s try another one.

Which picture is the /f/…ish, /f/…ish? Yes, that’s the fish, you found it! Say it with me: fish!

Look, I can swim like a fish. Let me see you swim like a fish!

Step 4: If your child is interested, continue with the remaining picture cards.

Using one picture card, say the word segmented and touch the picture at the same time. Let your child tell you the word.    

Increase the number of picture cards she has to choose from.