Going on a Sound Hunt


The Basics

A scavenger hunt focused on a specific sound.

Once again, this is an activity that can be as simple or as complex as needed. At the simple end of the spectrum, look for things that start with the sound; at the complex end of the spectrum they can look for objects with that sound in the name and then sort them based on whether the sound comes at the beginning, middle or end.

Basic Example

The example featured in the video is for words that start with the sound of /s/, which could be words that start with the letters s, c or sc-. Because this reader was confident with spelling and using both s and c when reading and spelling /s/, I had her sort the two groups afterward.

For this example, we discussed afterwards the distinction between letter name and sound. The more advanced the reader, the more challenging this discussion can be because they work so much with spelling. Ali is the girl in the video. She is a prolific reader and grade level speller and writer, though she is starting to struggle slightly with syntax. Based on her reading level, this task “should have been” easy for her. Interestingly, easy is quite a misleading term. The concept was not challenging as far as knowing what letters say /s/ or hearing the sound /s/ in a word. Applying this in a novel fashion was a good brain stretch for her!

Other Examples

  • Make a collage (with or without labels).
  • Use a basket of objects pre-selected and focus on a different sound each time.
  • Use as an alternative to the Alphabet Game when traveling in the car.

 Change It Up

  • Create a photo or sketch collage and create a “key” on the back. Post as a challenge to others with the number of things to look for.
  • Focus on a different sound each day and make a list throughout your daily travels – for which sound can you collect the most?
  • Categorize – ex. “How many animals can you name or see whose names start with the /b/ sound?”
  • For multiple children, assign different sounds to differentiate (or minimize direct competition).

 A Little Extra

Our video skills are beginning, so I apologize for the background hums and little pieces of distraction in the video. It is definitely homemade!

Also, while it is my daughter in the video, she was not primed for the activity in any way other than letting her know that I was taping it to share on our blog. Her directions were simply to find things whose names started with /s/ and then be able to explain them to me. I learned much about her articulation, thought process, creativity, and her application of phonological awareness illustrating just how powerful such activities can be when assessing ANY learner (she is not my daughter with dyslexia). It’s also fun – the piece that ended up edited was when she and her sister added in some somersaults J.

Brain Powers Activated

  • Phonological Awareness
  • Memory
  • Vocabulary
  • Auditory Processing
  • Flexible Thinking (multiple spellings, all aspects such as Scrabble tiles or Scotch tape)
  • Oral Language

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