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Teaching Elementary Students About Consonants: 5 Interactive Activities

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 11/12/2013

Young children need to be actively engaged to learn. Young learners will have a firmer grasp on consonants when you use tactile, visual and auditory techniques. Here are some fun ideas to help you.

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    Body Language!

    Consonants Prepare large picture cards by drawing or gluing cutout pictures of items on individual pieces of heavy paper. The pictures should be of items that begin with consonant sounds on which you are working. On the back of the card, write a large letter representing the beginning sound heard when saying the picture name.

    Arrange students in pairs in an open area, making sure that they can see and hear the teacher.

    Hold up a card and say the name of the picture. For example, you may say, “Tree.” Instruct the students to form the beginning consonant letter on the floor with their partner. When they are ready have them all say the letter loudly. Reverse the card to show them the correct letter. The learning will be full of giggles and wiggles!

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    Word Families

    Why do we need to learn consonant sounds? Children may not ask that out loud but they may be wondering it. Make the connection forthumbnail.aspx  them by using word families. They will see that the beginning consonant can change a word. Also, when you know the sounds you can read words! Most children are eager to read!

    Place consonant letter cards in front of the chalk board/white board. Then write a simple word ending like: __ an. Pick up a letter card, let’s say it is the letter T, and ask the children what sound it makes. Now let’s see if we can put the T in front of __an to make a word. Sound it out. Does it make sense? Yes! Now have individual children come up and pick a letter and continue doing the same thing. Some word families for little ones could be:

    ___in, ___un, ___en, ___at, ___it, ___et, ____ an

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    Treasure Hunt

    In this example of beginning consonant interactive activities for kids, your students will be looking for items in the room that begin with a designated letter. Make sure there are enough objects in the room for them to find. Give each pair of students a bag to carry the treasures. Limit the game to five letters and do one letter at a time. Call the first letter. Let’s suppose it is “B.” Students must find something that starts with the letter B to put in the bag. (Bear, Block, Bunny, book) When the students have hunted for objects for all five letters. Gather together and share what they have found. Once again, call out a letter and ask students to show everyone what they have found. Does everyone agree with the selection?

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    Small Groups

    Using index cards make sets of the consonant letters on which you are working. Place each set in a zippered plastic sandwich bag. Sit with a small group of students at a table or on the floor. Allow enough space between students so that their cards don’t mix with the neighbor’s cards. Give each student a bag of cards and ask the students to place the cards in front of them so that they can see the letters. Then say a word that begins with a letter that they have. Students should quickly hold up the beginning letter that they hear.

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    Tactile Opportunities

    Use a small baking tray with sides. Put enough salt or sand in the tray so that students can write in it with their index fingers. Say simple words and instruct students to write the letter that they here in the beginning of the word.

    When your students begin to grasp the concept, you can then branch out to play phonics games and other active review games with consonants.

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    The writer has accumulated knowledge from twenty-five years of teaching elementary grades Preschool through Grade 3.