playing turkey feathers: matching beginning sounds

Today  I brought out one of my old Words Their Way favorites–Turkey Feathers.turkey feathers game for sounds

It’s a really simple game that I used with students to practice long vowel patterns, but any type of matching cards can be used with this game: uppercase/ lowercase letters, rhyme pairs, picture/ word matches, matching word patterns, matching beginning/ ending sounds,  number/ numeral cards–anything goes.

I switched things up a bit for my O-man, since he’s still having a difficult time pronouncing some of those tricky blends and digraphs.   We played Turkey Feathers with the happy little turkeys from Words Their Way, but I used beginning sound blend and digraph picture cards instead of the long vowel word cards with the game so it would be more catered to Owen’s needs.

  • Turkey Feathers: Much like the Build A Snowman game we played last winter when we were stuck in the house for twelve straight days (not really, but it felt that way), Turkey Feathers is a game that involves completing one step in order to add a feather onto the turkey.

It’s simple but fun, and since we’re going to be celebrating Thanksgiving in a few short days, I thought this would be a particularly sneaky way of getting Owen to practice those sounds that he isn’t so keen on trying.

The Turkey Feathers turkey is here to download, thanks to Words Their Way.  I printed the turkey on cardstock and used it along with the ch-/ sh-/  th-  digraph picture cards and the r- blends (gr, tr, dr) picture  cards.

turkey feathers game for sounds

Owen found a match–truck and tractor!

Right after lunch, I said to Owen, Hey, I’ve got a game for you, and I bet you’ll think it’s silly. You’ve been singing about turkeys non-stop, and we’re going to be eating one on Thursday, so let’s play a game called Turkey Feathers!

The goal is to get five feathers on your turkey.  That’s it.  Five feathers. But in order to get a feather, you have to find a partner for a picture card, and partners begin with the same sound.  Look at these pictures: chain, cheese; shark, shirt.  Hear how the words sound the same? We’ve played with these tricky sounds before, but if you’re not sure of a picture, just ask.

Put on your strong listening ears, and let’s get started.

turkey feathers game for sounds

I placed five picture cards face up in front of Owen and five in front of me.  I said the names of the pictures as I placed them down. Then I said, Take a minute to see if any of you cards match–if any have the same beginning sound.

After we talked through all of Owen’s cards, he matched up his pairs and replaced his cards by picking them from the pile.

turkey feathers game for sounds

Then I thought through my cards, aloud, as I matched up the ones that began the same and replaced my own cards.

It wasn’t easy for him, and we really worked together for each turn. I actually brought one card next to each of the other cards and comparing: Train, chop.  Train, grass, Train, chain. Train, tractor. I think that having all of our cards out in front of us relieved some pressure, and until he is able to recognize the differences, we’ll continue to play this way, with face-up cards and saying each pair of words.

The way Owen’s pronouncing tr– and sh– and ch– is very similar, and although I know speech sounds will come in time, it clearly can’t hurt to take these tricky, tricky digraphs and blends out every few weeks so that he is repeatedly made aware that they are indeed different sounds. There are tons of cool ways of playing with these sounds, training little ears to hear them and mouths to make them, so that’s just what we’ll continue to do–

And that’s it–a busy, crazy week with lots of cleaning, preparing, movin’ and groovin’, but that’s no reason not to sneak in a teeny-tiny bit of learning into our day.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone and safe travels!
Many, many thanks once again to Bear’s Words Their Way (2004) for providing the most awesome tools and resources for Word Work on the market! Although I adapted this game a bit, it is based upon WTW’s Turkey Feathers. Woo-hoo to you!




  1. Nicole Gibson says

    What Words Their Way did you get this out of?? I went to their website which said something about companion texts. I’m a Pre-K teacher looking for picture cards to use for alliteration, rhymin, syllables, and etc. Are you digraph picture cards from Words Their Way??
    Thanks Nicole

    • amy says

      yes, this is from the 2004 WTW. You can find almost anything you need as far as picture cards in the ’04 WTW or the newer edition, I believe. I know for sure they have rhyming cards for rhyme sorts, but I don’t recall alliterative pictures. I strongly recommend WTW for any classroom, pre-K up through high school.


  1. […] playing turkey feathers: matching beginning sounds Turkey Feathers is perfect fall game to work on early literacy skills like distinguishing beginning digraphs and blends or any letter or word matches. […]

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