Phonics sorting baskets

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learning letters - first phonics - sorting baskets

When your child is learning letters then this is a fun activity to practice initial sounds (phonemes). It’s very quick and easy to set up and you can use the phonic sorting baskets in different ways as your child becomes more familiar with different letters.
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learning letters - first phonics - sorting baskets
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You will need:

  • White card
  • Pen
  • Baskets
  • Selection of objects and toys

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learning letters - first phonics - sorting baskets
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Step 1: Make your letter cards

Cut some card and write a letter on each one. Try to stick to letters that your child is learning already in school or that you have practised together. Use lower case and make the letters nice and big.

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learning letters - first phonics - sorting baskets
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Step 2: Make your phonic sorting baskets

Pop one letter card in each basket. Either gather up or have in your mind objects, food and toys around the house that begin with the letters written on the cards.

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learning letters - first phonics - sorting baskets
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Activity 1: Sort the objects

Set up three or four baskets, all for letters which your child is learning. Gather a selection of objects from round the house that all begin with one of those letters. Ask your child to sort out which items go in which basket.

Before you start, explain to your child that you are focusing on the first sound of each item. You can pick up an item and make it very clear that you are trying to hear the initial sound. You could say ‘This is a c c c cat. What letter does it begin with? Cuh – that’s right. Which basket will we put it in?’. See if your child can sort all the items into the right baskets.

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learning letters - first phonics - sorting baskets
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Activity 2: Phonic treasure hunt

This time set out a basket and make sure your child can recognise the letter and the sound it makes. Then ask them to hunt around the house to find some items that begin with that sound to put in their sound basket.

You can help them as they hunt by picking up objects and emphasising the initial sounds. You might say ‘This is a p p p pig. What sounds does it begin with? Is it the right sound for our basket?’.

Extending the activity

You can make the activity more difficult by moving onto digraphs. These are when two letter sounds blend together to make a new sound, such as ‘ch’, ‘sh’, and ‘th’.

You can also make baskets for the end sounds of words. For example, can they sort or find objects that end in ‘at’ or ‘ig’?

 

See our Magic letters for more fun ways for children to start learning letters.

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