Easy and Fun Sound Discrimination Activity

Help students develop phonemic awareness with this easy and fun sound discrimination activity using CVC words. Check out the FREE file found at the end of this post!

The importance of sound discrimination

Developing phonemic awareness – the ability to identify, isolate, and manipulate units of sound – is important to our students literacy development. Consistent, focused instruction helps them to do this easily. Children who can easily hear and form these speech sounds will have an easier time segmenting and blending letters. Ultimately, this will make them better readers and writers.

Practicing sound discrimination

There are tons of ways to practice sound discrimination, but today I’ll share just one. First, you can provide students two CVC words that have one sound in common. For example, can and nut. Say the words aloud and ask them to identify the sound that the words have in common. You may have to repeat the words aloud a few times while emphasizing the similar sound for them to understand the activity.

Help students develop phonemic awareness with this easy and fun sound discrimination activity using CVC words. babblingabby.net

Naturally, it makes sense to connect the common sound with the letter. In this particular activity, that letter is concealed. Once students make their guess, they can view the letter and self-check. (You can grab this activity for FREE by filling out the form a the bottom of the post!)

If you feel your students are ready to level up, provide them with a recording sheet where they can write the words on the cards and circle the letter/sound they have in common.

CVC Word Guessing Game

Secondly, you can practice sound discrimination in CVC words by isolating and identifying the beginning, middle, or ending sound in the word. In this fun game, provide students with the flip card. Each flip card has a CVC word with either the beginning, middle, or ending sound concealed.

Students will guess what the sound/letter could be to complete the word – even if it creates a nonsense word. For instance, they could guess the word dad, did, or dud. Then, they will flip up the card to reveal the letter to see if their guess was correct. The cards are self-checking, so they will reveal the correct letter and associated picture clue.

This recording sheet could be put at a center with the cards or used in small or whole group instruction. Put in a clear pocket sleeve for reuse. Students select a card, guess the sound, then record the correct word.

Or, they can play with a partner. Select one card, record their guesses, and circle the word if they guessed correctly. The person who guessed the most words correctly wins!

Alternatively, the student or teacher selects a card. The student records three different guesses for what the mystery word could be by guessing letters for the letter that is covered. For example, for the card pictured above, they might guess: RAT, HAT, and CAT. (If they guess nonsense words, that’s okay, too!) Then, reveal the missing letter, celebrate correct guesses, erase their work, and repeat play with other cards.

The cards easily store in a pencil case or pouch and are simple to assemble (a great job for a parent helper – it can even be done at their home!). This activity is available for purchase here.

Additional word work activities

Word work is my FAVORITE. There are several other posts that share engaging ways to support word work in the classroom. Check them out by clicking an image below!

Sight Word Activities | Blends Activities | Spelling Words Activities

Free Sound Discrimination Activity

I’d love to share a copy of the sound discrimination activity mentioned above! Just fill out the form at the bottom of this post and you can add this to your teacher toolkit!


Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.


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Hi, I'm Abby

Hi, I’m Abby! Thanks for stopping by. I love supporting kindergarten and first grade teachers with engaging, skill-based activities that are easy to use in their classrooms. Let me help you be the best teacher you can be!
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