Beginning Sound Worksheets (Hands-on Learning)


You know your child needs to learn sounds in order to read. These beginning sound worksheets make it fun and hands-on.

When children are learning to read, it’s really important they have a firm grasp on beginning letter sounds.

Most parents know this – we know phonics is important. But beyond that, what is a parent supposed to do?

Are there any tangible non-screen tools?  How are non-teacher parents supposed to work on this at home?

I created these Beginning Sound Worksheets for this reason – it’s an easy way to learn beginning letter sounds.

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pin image of a child placing play doh on a letter A printables

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Why Teach Beginning Sound?

You know phonics is important, but did you know that having automatic recall of beginning sounds is predictive of future reading success?

The National Early Literacy Panel did a meta-analysis of over 50 studies and found that fluency with alphabetic knowledge (i.e. letter names and sounds) was correlated with later reading success.

I’ve been pretty troubled to hear early childhood influencers proclaim we need to quit focusing on the alphabet. That it is just memorization and not a sophisticated skill.

Sure, recognizing beginning sounds is just recall. But

the recall of the alphabet and beginning letter sounds is foundational for all reading.

So, if you want to teach your child to read, beginning sounds are important. You want your child to recall them fluently (with no effort) for future reading success.

What is Beginning Sound in Phonics?

You’re not a teacher, so you’re probably wondering, “what is a beginning sound?” It is the first sound you hear in a word.

When you say cat, the initial sound is /c/.

In the word “chips,” the initial sound is /ch/.

beginning sound worksheet for letter N mat with pom poms and child with tweezers

How to Teach the Beginning Sounds

So if you’re not going to do flashcards, and you don’t want to play learning games on a screen, how is a parent supposed to practice the beginning sounds with their child?

You can use the Beginning Sounds Worksheets.

There are two ways to use these printable worksheets:

  • full-color fine motor mats
  • black and white workbook with the cover sheet.

The Beginning Sounds Worksheets become playful rather than drill and kill once you add in the fine motor tools!

Beginning Sound Hands-on Activities

Place the full-color worksheets inside a plastic page protector and then they become play mats. This way your child can engage in hands-on learning.

Play-doh Phonics

My preschooler and I used the Beginnings Sound Worksheets as mats with play-doh!

We rolled play-doh balls to build hand strength.  Then we placed each ball in the dot on the picture.

Then we made play-doh logs to practice letter formation. Rolling them is fun plus it helps with finger strength and dexterity.

Last, we said, “A, apple /a/” as my son squished each play-doh ball.

Pom Poms Phonics

The worksheets are also great to use as a mat with pom poms.

I have yet to meet a child who doesn’t like playing with pom poms. And they are such a useful tool!

Children need lots of practice to build their pencil grip skills. Pinching pom poms and using short tongs help with this.

Your child needs to isolate the first two fingers and thumb to pick up pom poms.  When they use a tool like tongs it builds hand strength.

We use a strawberry huller most often because it isolates the first two fingers, but any tongs are helpful!

As my daughter placed each pompom, she said, “N, numbers /n/.”

So it felt like playing with pom poms, but she build her letter sound fluency and fine motor skills at the same time!

child with dot marker beginning sound worksheet for letter A

Beginning Sound Worksheets

The Beginning Sound Worksheets can also be bound together as a workbook.

Just print out the black and white version.

It comes with a cover.  Assemble and staple!

Just like with the hands-on mats, there are two ways I like to use these printables.

Dot Marker Beginning Sound Worksheets

Grab your favorite set of washable dot markers and have your child dot the center of each picture.

Each time your child dots the picture, they have a chance to say the letter name and pictured word.

Pictures stay in the brain longer than spoken sounds so pairing them is a really effective way to learn.

In this picture, your child will say “A, astronaut, /a/“ each time she dots the astronaut. She repeats with the pictures for alphabet and axe.

This develops the fluency with letter sounds that your children need to be successful readers and spellers.

Dot Stickers Beginning Sound Worksheets

If you don’t already use dot stickers in your home, you’re going to want to get some!

First of all, stickers make learning so fun.

Second, peeling those dot stickers off the sheets also isolates the thumb and index fingers. Again this strengthens fingers to build pencil grip.

For younger children, peel off the white part. For older children, leave it to make it more challenging.

Follow the same steps as with the dot markers.  Your child will say”H, hippo,/h/” each time they place a dot sticker.

letter H beginning sound worksheet with broken crayons and dot stickers

Multi-Sensory Learning for Beginning Sound

The Beginning Sound Worksheets were designed to incorporate fine motor for a reason.

You are trying to build fluency which means it happens automatically without any effort.  One evidence-based approach is multi-sensory learning.

Children use three senses: hearing, seeing, and touching when using these worksheets. More senses mean more connections in the brain.

More connections in the brain mean more permanent learning.


Recapping Beginning Sound Printables

Here’s the recap for all you busy parents:

  • Knowing the alphabet and letter sounds is important.
  • It is correlated with later reading success.
  • The beginning sound is the first sound you hear in a word.
  • Use the full-color worksheets as a play mat with play-doh or pom-poms for hands-on learning.
  • Assemble the black and white pages as a workbook and use dot markers or stickers.
  • This is a multi-sensory approach which means it stays in the memory better.


Learning beginning sounds is a big and important skill. It is the first step in phonics which allows your child to easily decode and break apart new words.

Using the Beginning Sound Worksheets are a fun and easy way to introduce and build fluency.

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