Beginning Sounds

This language lesson is designed for 3 to 6-year-old children. It aims to guide them about the beginning sounds of the English alphabet. This video lesson is the first in the series when introducing beginning sounds to the child.

Learning the alphabet serves as the building block of language. It is one of the first steps in acquiring the abilities required to read and write. When a child truly understands the alphabet, they can discriminate between its 26 letters and also articulate the letter sounds. Considering the different learning needs of every child, many approaches are adopted to help them learn alphabet sounds.

In our previous video lesson series, we learned about the different sounds of letters and objects starting with them. This lesson uses a different approach to introduce the beginning sound of letters. It uses sandpaper letters and mini objects to introduce a set of letters called set 1. This set contains the most commonly used alphabets i.e. m, t, p, f, c, s, a and o

What are Beginning Sounds?

Beginning sounds involve knowledge of the sounds represented by the letters and the letters used to represent the sounds. Hearing and identifying the sounds of the letters is a crucial skill to be learned. Once the child is thorough with the concept, they can easily read and write the words.

For example, in the word ‘sack’, the beginning or initial sound is /s/.

But before jumping into the concept of the beginning sound, children should understand that words are made of sounds. Children should be thorough with the individual sounds of each letter known as phonemes to comprehend the concept of beginning sounds.

What are the Benefits of Learning the Beginning Sounds of the Letter? 

Learning the initial sounds of the letters helps in language development. It also helps a child to learn how to read and write. 

  • A child could differentiate the beginning sounds and the rest of the sounds in a word.
  • A child could blend individual sounds to make a word (e.g. s –a – ck = sack). 
  • A child could sound out words based on the beginning sound.
  • A child could progress in the ability to spell.

Hearing, recognizing, and pronouncing sounds at the beginning of words is one of the significant skills that help children master complex language concepts, such as stories or articles.

Materials Required for Introducing Beginning Sounds of Letters 

  • Sandpaper alphabets
  • Lowercase Moveable Alphabets
  • Pictures or miniature objects of the words that begin with the sound of the letters.

How to Introduce Montessori Beginning Sound Set 1 Box to the Child?

In this video lesson, the child learns about the beginning sounds of the consonants m, t, p, f, c, and s, and vowels a and o. The activity uses small objects which start with these alphabets like a monkey, tiger, apple, etc. This helps the child learn about the different sounds the alphabets make when placed at the beginning of words. 

  1. Invite the child to the table with the beginning sound set 1 box.
  2. Part 1: Sandpaper letters: Take out sandpaper letters one by one out of the box and introduce them to the child by pronouncing their beginning sound. Also, slide your fingers on the letter while introducing them.
  3. Place all the letters on the desk starting from the left. Please note it’s always good to say the sound of the letter multiple times while introducing each letter.
  4. Once the child is introduced to all the letters, encourage them to recognize and say the sound of the letter. 
  5. Part 2: Moveable alphabet: Now, take out lowercase moveable alphabet one by one and repeat step 2. Let’s say if the letter ‘a’ is taken out say /a/ and move your hands on the letter formation.
  6. Place the letter on the respective sandpaper. Again, keep repeating the letter sound while introducing each letter.
  7. Part 3: Related objects: In part 3, take out an object from the box that begins with the sound /a/. Show it to the child and say its sound as done in steps 2 and 5. For example, an apple. 
  8. As they recognize the sound, place it on the sandpaper alphabet card that says a.
  9. Repeat the same steps for the other letters, too.
  10. Invite the child to repeat the same.

Tips to Introduce Beginning Sounds to the Child

While introducing beginning sounds, always introduce one letter at a time. Once the child masters the sound of one letter, move to the next one.

The sequence depends on the following factors –

  • Letters that are frequently used are taught first. For example- a, m, t, o, c, p
  • Letters that look the same and have similar sounds should be taught separately to avoid confusion.
  • Short vowels are supposed to be taught first and then the long vowels.
  • The sequence is more or less designed as per the child’s interests.

To engage children most effectively, it is best to combine visual, tactile, and auditory tactics. The key to ensuring that the children have learned the alphabet is to make use of all age-appropriate strategies.

Beginning Sound Activities for Preschoolers

Consider using engaging alphabet resources to help give visual help and add some fun to learning letters and sounds.

  • Roll the clay

Give children clay dough and ask them to roll it. Show them an object or picture of a word that begins with any of the letters chosen for the day. Ask them to recognize the beginning sound of the word. Once the children recognize the sound, they can roll the clay to the shape of the letter.

  • Highlighting the beginning sounds

Highlight the words that have different beginning sounds, but contain the same rhyme. For example- bun, fun, run. Allow a child to distinguish the difference between the highlighted words. This would help the child understand the pattern of the beginning sound.

Encourage the child to practice and understand the beginning sounds of the English alphabet and help them learn and recognize different words starting with it.

Related Video Lessons

To watch more Montessori language resources, click here.

Video Created by: Joanne Shango


  • english language
  • language development
  • primary level