Key Sound Sort

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Key Sound Folders
Language - Reading
Key Sound Folders 5.JPG
PrerequisitesDigraph Boxes
Silent e
Materialsenvelope or box
category labels
word slips

In this activity the child learns that some sounds can be spelled more than one way. They then practice sorting words by those different spellings of a given sound.


  1. Take one of the Key Sound Sort envelopes to a mat or table. Place it in the upper right corner.
    Key Sound Folders 1.JPG
  2. Explain to the child that all the words in the envelope contain the sound listed on the envelope, but the sound might be spelled one of several ways.
  3. Empty the word slips and category labels from the envelope onto the mat.
    Key Sound Folders 2.JPG
  4. Place the category labels across the top of the work-space as shown.
    Key Sound Folders 3.JPG
  5. Take one of the word cards and have the child read it aloud.
  6. Have the child place the word slip under the category its spelling fits in.
    Key Sound Folders 4.JPG
  7. Continue in this way until all the words have been sorted under the correct spelling.
    Key Sound Folders 5.JPG

Points of Interest

Control of Error

Variations and Extensions

  • Two children could work together. One child reads a word aloud without letting the other child see. The second child tries to remember which spelling of the sound is used in that word. The word is revealed and the second child can see if they were right. Then the children should switch roles.


Further Reading

  • Reading Reflex by Carmen McGuinness & Geoffrey McGuinness, pages 227-244