Sound Map: An Early Literacy Tool

My son is almost three and starting to ask a lot about sounds of letters and words in general. What an awesome stage and so exciting to observe him. My favorite letters are the ones that can throw you with their sounds or no sound. The letters C and K happen to be two which my son seems interested in exploring. So we’re off!

IMG 5379 300x225 Sound Map: An Early Literacy Tool

Today we’ve been working on a sound map. The basic idea is create a collage of words and/or images beginning with the Letters C and K. On one side of the collage we have the soft ‘SSS’ sound for C like a “circle” and “cinnamon”. On the other side we have the hard ‘Kuh’ sound for K like “kite” and “koala”. In the middle we have those images that overlap in sound like “cupcake”, “crayons” and “cup”.

Here is how we did this activity together:

IMG 5334 300x225 Sound Map: An Early Literacy ToolGather a few magazines and scissors.

We sat on the floor and I told him that we were on a ‘C’ and ‘K’ hunt. He helped to identify and even cut out the images. We also have a first words box, which was a great resource for images we’d already collected for the letters “C” and “K”.

IMG 5336 225x300 Sound Map: An Early Literacy ToolOur First Words Box

IMG 5375 300x225 Sound Map: An Early Literacy ToolI wrote a big K and C at the top of a large poster board.

Then we started sorting the images.  I steered us toward focusing on the hard ‘c’ images because that sound and words are most common. I talked about how words that begin with the letter ‘c’ that are followed by an ‘a’, ‘o’ or ‘u’ have a hard ‘c’. Then how words that start with the letter ‘c’ that are followed by an ‘i’, ‘e’ or ‘y’ have a soft ‘c’. We then moved to the hard ‘k’ and then to the soft ‘c’ images.

IMG 5381 225x300 Sound Map: An Early Literacy ToolI wrote the name next to each image.

IMG 5380 300x225 Sound Map: An Early Literacy ToolI ended with introducing sounds at the end of the word.

This activity was a very hands on and interactive literacy activity. We’ll continue working on and re-visiting this map. Then eventually we will create a “C and S” Sound map and connect it to this poster board. This will give my son a horizontal visual of the sound maps/collages.

Thank you for choosing to visit us. I hope that we inspired you today.


I shared this post on:

sundayshowcase1 Sound Map: An Early Literacy Tool

green itsplaytime3 Sound Map: An Early Literacy Tool


  1. i really love this idea- my son is 4 and loves to read but beginning sounds are not his cup of tea. I think this activity may help him wrap his brain around it better. thanks for sharing.

  2. Ohhh, I really like this idea! I think we will do b and d since my daughter is struggling with those two.
    Rebekah recently posted…Earth Day Flower Collage {Favorite Friday}My Profile

  3. GREAT idea. I think this will be a great activity to do with my son who is REALLY getting the hang of reading now. We like to notice, and laugh, about how silly the English language can be sometimes!
    PlayDrMom recently posted…The ABCs of Make Do & Friend … and this week’s Kids Co-Op Linky!My Profile

  4. Fabulous! Love your first words box. Has given me lots of ideas of things we could do with something similar! My daughter (who was 3 in Jan) is also at that stage and wants to know all about letters, sounds and words. We have a letter book (just a large scrapbook) where each of the letters has a double page spread and we do similar type activities in there. Making the sound board showing the similar (and different) sounds the letters can make is a lovely idea. Debs :)
    Debs – Learn with Play recently posted…Early Literacy Ideas. 5 Easy and Fun ways to encourage your PreschoolerMy Profile

  5. Love this! This would be a great way to expand on what I did with my son.
    Kristina recently posted…Beginning Sounds CollageMy Profile

  6. What a wonderful idea! We’ll try it this week with my 3.5 year old.
    Anastasia recently posted…Play Dough Spring GardenMy Profile

  7. This is such a great idea! I am pinning this one for when my oldest is just a wee bit older! (No rush at all! In fact, please stop time ;)
    crystal recently posted…Bubble Play and ConcoctionsMy Profile

  8. I love the horizontal visual I/m a visual and so is my son so this just makes sense for our teaching/learning style. I think this will be a great way to teach him the soft versus hard c sound Thanks so much for the inspiration.
    Ness recently posted…Rainy day fun – camping out in your living room!My Profile

  9. Wow, what a great idea! I’m trying to do more things with literacy. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I absolutely love this!! What a great way to work on sounds and on overlapping sounds when two letters make the same sound sometimes and sometimes don’t. My 2 1/2 already sometimes says K when we’re talking about something that is a hard c, like cat. So, I will definitely be pulling this activity out when he gets a bit older and is wanting to explore letters and sounds even more.
    Jen Fischer recently posted…Weekly Kids Co-Op: Mexican Cookie Rings, Celebrating Cinco De MayoMy Profile

  11. I do something like this with my kindergarten kids every year. It’s alot of fun and the kids really get into it. So much fun! Thanks for sharing!

  12. Love this idea. Thanks for sharing.
    Susan Syddall recently posted…Three Dimensional Cardboard UmbrellasMy Profile

  13. My twins are Colin and Kate, so I LOVE this particular example of the activity. I can’t wait to try it. I found this while searching for activities to include in a newsletter for The Learning Groove, a music and movement curriculum for young kids founded by Eric Litwin, the author of the first 4 Pete the Cat picture books.


  1. [...] hope that we inspired you today. If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy this Sound Map activity. Please leave a comment, I love hearing from [...]

  2. [...] been some of my all time favorites. Plus this Storytelling 101 is a great post for parents. The sound map has been a good one to work on those trickier [...]

  3. [...] a collage from magazine cutouts for letter sounds. [Carrots are [...]

  4. Jorge Lucic says:


    [...]located your own content carry on the truly amazing work have a very outstanding morning[...]…

join the conversation


CommentLuv badge
This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)