follow-the-path game

I’m trying to work on isolating sounds in words with Owen. When he listens to Maddy sounding out words, he gets confused about sounds he hears in the beginning, middle, and end of words.

If Maddy says, Mommy, how do I spell ‘sun’? Owen will say something like, Ssssuuunnnn, sun. Nnnn. Sun starts with ‘n’. He’s trying, so I want to get him on track.

It’s really not a big deal considering he’s still a little guy, but I know there are easy and fun ways of teaching the isolation of sounds in words, so I broke out a game from my favorite, Bear’s Words Their Way (2003).

  • Beginning Sounds Follow The Path Game: All I did to prepare was copy the picture cards for S, T, P, and D and then copy two of the blank “paths” (there are about six to choose from). Then I glued green construction paper inside a manila folder and put the paths on top of that. I wrote either an uppercase or lowercase letter S, T, P, or D in each of the boxes. Then Owen and I put some Lightening McQueen and star stickers all around, and he grabbed a few of his favorite cars to use as pawns.

We cut out the picture cards and mixed them up. Then we took turns picking cards, figured out which letter the word started with, and moved our cars to the correct letter. The object of the game? Be the first guy to get to the end. Not too hard.

When a card was flipped, I would say, Tie. Ttttie. What sound do you hear in the beginning of the word, ‘tie’?

Owen would (hopefully!) say, Ttttt! And I’d say, Right! What letter makes the ‘t’ sound? Of course, I’d hope that he’d say, ‘t’!

Then he (or I) would move our car to the letter ‘t’. And so it went for the duration of the game. Sometimes the cars would crash into each other, and sometimes they’d speed off the game board, but eventually we got to the finish line. I know he was happy to have “his own” game that he designed and that had cars all around it; I’m convinced he didn’t even realize he was learning while he was playing.

As much as I love Words Their Way and have referenced them often in previous posts, I stumbled across this awesome site, Literacy Connections, that has permission to share a number of WTW activities. It’s worth checking out, especially because they have information on tons of important literacy-related topics. So cool. Enjoy!




  1. d says

    this looks so awesome! i can’t wait to try it with my little guy! he kinda does the same thing with his sounds!

  2. Denise says

    Love the way you used your son’s interests to create a learning experience for him. How fun for him! I LOVE Words Their Way also!

  3. Katie, Kevin and kids says

    What a great game! You sure look like a reading specialist mama:)
    Thanks for your encouraging comment on ABC and 123. We are so lucky to have such great readers and awesome blogs to link to! Your spot here is a HUGE resource. We’d love for you to send in any past links whenever they look like they fit an upcoming theme! Have a great weekend!

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