How to Engage Students with Medial Sounds

Teaching middle sounds can be very difficult. Some students just don’t hear the sounds yet. As teachers, we have to come up with ways to keep them engaged and learning using various medial sound activities. Here are a few ideas I have to keep students engaged as you try to help them master those tricky medial sounds.

Medial Sounds Pocket Chart Activities

If I know anything at all, it’s that my students love a good pocket chart game. They are usually in charge of putting the cards in the chart when they get to that center. They feel empowered with a new sense of authority. Just kidding, but really I do make a big deal out of that. Once they know how to play the pocket chart games with easier games, I begin moving in skills that we need to work on as a class. Medial sounds is usually one that I put in there for a while because it is a tricky skill. Vowel are hard to distinguish sometimes.

One simple pocket chart game is a cvc sort. They put the vowels at the top of the chart and then they have to determine where to place the cvc word picture cards. This takes a lot of sounding out sometimes to determine what sound they actually hear in the middle. This is perfect because as research shows, students must practice skills sometimes hundreds of time before they master it. Since I can’t be at every center since I’m teaching small groups, I allow my students to record themselves at centers if they want to. They record themselves in Seesaw. I watch these back to see how they did and then I usually delete these depending on what all is happening in the video. However, it gives me a glimpse into how they are doing when I’m not around and not facilitating. There’s also a really fun beginning sounds pocket chart idea that I love over on this post.

Middle Sound Technology Centers

Kids love technology. This is true. With that in mind, a few years ago (more like back in 2014), I started creating some Google Slides resources for my students. I was at a 1:1 school and we had Google Classroom. I knew I needed to utilize the tech that we had, but make it meaningful for my students. My kids love sorts and that was the first thing that I created. I started with a Google Slides Beginning Sound Sort that you can find here.

I introduced that to them during whole group. After realizing they could handle GC and Google Slides, I created more activities revolving around the skills that we desperately needed. My students now have a medial sound sort that I can assign either all at once or one slide at a time. You can find that here.

Middle Sound Small Group Ideas

One idea that I really really love and it’s so easy because it’s no prep is our “What’s Missing Game?” You can do this with letter cards or you can do this by writing it on a whiteboard. I write a word but leave the middle sound out of the word. Then, I tell the word to my students and they have to figure out what sound they hear in the middle. This is great for trying to isolate the sounds. A few of these only takes a couple of minutes, but it helps to build up that phonemic awareness that your students really need.

We usually do three or four words and then move on to something else. Teaching virtually, this has been a great way to include these practices. My students all have whiteboards and markers at home and it makes it so quick. I make them wait until I’ve noticed everyone has put their marker down and then I tell them to show me their answer.

If you like this idea, you can grab the middle sound What’s Missing game here.

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