Identifying sounds

What does it mean?

Identifying sound means to make the learner aware of the sound of each of the alphabets by various activities.


This becomes a core skill in Phonics. For the learner to identify the sounds accurately, understanding the sound and continuously practicing it is important. Several games and classroom activities can be helpful for the same.

Strategies that can be used:

  1. Show the action: In this, the children show their skills of recognizing a sound by showing an action.


The teacher gives ample practice to the children of a sound.

  • The teacher now shows 2 actions that the children can do if the sound is present in a CVC word and if it is absent. For eg: If they hear /n/ in a word, they should put hands on their heads and if it is not there, they should fold their arms.
  • The teacher now demonstrates how it should be done.
  • The teacher now says the words like cap, the children are supposed to fold their arms. If the teacher says “nap”, the children put their hands on their heads.
  • This way the teacher knows the children who are still struggling.


a) I-SPY:

It can be played within the classroom itself and with as many learners as the teacher desires.

The teacher will begin with explaining the rules of the game. An important instruction will be that the learners maintain absolute silence or they will not be able to hear the sounds uttered by the teacher.


  1. The teacher will say,“I will keep an object in my mind and utter the initial sound of that object” For instance, you’ve selected – board, you will utter the sound /b/.
  2. Keep repeating the sound till the learners are able to identify the sound and then the object.
  3. It is also possible that the students recognize another object with the same sound,/b/ – ‘bin’. Respond, “Very good! /b/ /b/ bin. But can you find out another object that starts from sound /b/?”

b) What’s the sound?


  • The teacher says out loud the words and tells the learner to identify the initial sound. 
  • The students will identify the initial sound /n/. Then the teacher can drill along with the students, /n/ /n/ nap.

What do you see?


  • The teacher asks the children to identify the initial sounds of the pictures shown.
  • This can be done orally where the teacher shows the picture to the class and the learners have to identify the initial sound.
  • Once, the children have learned to write the alphabets, this can also be done to make the student identify the sound and write it in the box provided in the given worksheet.
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c) Recognize the Word Sound

The worksheet given below is very simple to make. You could either print this one or make your own. Make sure it is colorful and attractive. You’ll need a list of letter and some coins or markers to play this game. The teacher can say the sound out loud and the learners have to recognize it. They have to then place the coin on the correct letter.

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A similar game can be played with the learners where they can identify the initial sounds and color the relevant box with the appropriate phonic sound. For example, the first image from the following chart is ring. The learner will identify the image as ‘ring’ and when you ask him/her what the first sound is, he/she will respond as /r/. Then he/she can color the box while uttering /r/ /r/ sun at least three times.

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Online Games:

This game is by doorway online. This link gives the option of both teaching and testing the learners. Emphasize that the learners have to say the words loudly in order to identify it accurately.


A video by Jolly phonics. This video is specifically for teachers and parents. This video mentions various strategies to teach identification of sounds.

This is an audio-visual representation of all the sounds of English alphabets. It is by KidsTV123 on YouTube. 



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