Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hard and Soft C Song and Sort

When my son reads the word “face,” he almost always says “fake.” Figuring out when to use the hard and soft c can be difficult. Before we started our activity, we watched Sean Kingston’s “Two Ways to Say C” performance from Electric Company on YouTube.

Not only is Kingston’s song catchy, but it’s helpful too. The following lyrics are proof:
When the c is hard, it sounds just like a k …
When the c is soft it sounds just like an s …
Now if a c comes before an e, i, or y,
That is when you know to give the softer c a try …
And when the c comes before an l, r, or t,
You probably want to use the harder sounding c.

After we listened and danced a little, I gave my son a Venn diagram and some lick-and-stick words that started with and/or contained the letter c. (Download the Two Ways to Say C Venn Diagram and word list here.)

We made the lick-and-stick words a few days earlier, with instructions from I Can Teach My Child. I cut a piece of freezer paper to 8 ½ by 11 inches and printed our words on it. (I used freezer paper to prevent the liquid from seeping through and smearing my ink-jet printed words.) Then I dissolved 1 tablespoon of grape jello (pick the flavor of your liking) in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. 

Once the mixture had cooled, I handed my son a sponge brush and he “painted” the back (i.e. waxy side) of the printed words. I let it dry thoroughly before cutting out the words. 

With a little help pronouncing the words, my son was able to sort which words made the hard c sound (e.g. car, camel, candy), which made the soft c sound (i.e. city, cereal, price), and which made both (e.g. circle, concert, circus). All he had to do was remember the rules from the “Two Ways to Say C” song, figure out where to put them on the Venn Diagram, and lick 'em and stick 'em.

While the stickers aren't a necessity, I think the grape-flavored words certainly added to my son's enjoyment of the activity. What a tasty way to learn about hard and soft c!

Looking for some great books to help your child master the two sounds of c? Check out these by Joanne Meier and Cecilia Minden:
Carrie's Surprise (The Sound of Hard C)
Cindy, Cedric, and the Circus (The Sound of Soft C)


  1. I thought only teachers knew what a Venn diagram was; you would have been a great teacher!

  2. I agree with Rita! Great post- my 5 year old always gets confused as well! Thank you for linking up with us on The Sunday Showcase

  3. Hi,

    I'm an EFL teacher in Taiwan. I just saw lots of your post and really love these great ideas!! Actually, me and my friends really enjoy reading your blog and appreciating your creative teaching ideas. I am wondering if it is welcome that I share these ideas on my facebook page with a photo and a direct link to your blog with other EFL teachers?? It will certainly inspire most of them!


    1. Kate, I'm so glad that you've found some useful ideas here. Feel free to post links/photo on your facebook page! Thanks for sharing AND for following!