Wednesday, November 13, 2013

File Folder Phonics and Letters

Learning letters has been a challenge for my little guy and while he's getting a fair amount of practice in preschool, it just isn't sticking.

Since I think it's equally important for kids to recognize the letters as it is to begin to associate the sounds they make with them, I decided we'd do a little extra work at home.

My mom, a retired elementary school teacher, supplied the idea for this genius file folder game. It's geared toward kindergarteners, but with some assistance can be ideal for PreK application too.

Before we got busy playing our "letters game," my son watched a great phonics DVD from Leap Frog. I'd recommend this for kids ages as young as two and as old as six.

This great file folder game is perfect for reviewing two letters and their sounds at a time. Kids have to decide which shapes contain pictures of objects that begin with a particular letter. It's simple and smart and SO helpful.

Download FREE from Google Drive:

Construction Option #1: 13 file folders
You'll need 13 file folders, 26 sheets of sticker paper (or office paper and glue), 26 sheets of heavyweight cardstock, and sticky-backed velcro. On the A-M file, print the odd numbered pages on cardstock and the even pages on sticker paper. On the N-Z file, do the same, but do not print page 23 (it's blank and you won't need it).

Now cut the letters and all the shapes from the sticker paper pages (or if the pages fit on your file folder, simply peel and stick the entire page, one page per side). Each file folder will have two letters. You can pick and choose whether you put the letters in alpha order (e.g. your folder could have A and B or O and T). Some phonics programs mix the letters, so feel free to do the same.

Now cut out the cardstock shapes and adhere velcro to the back and to the corresponding shape on the file folder.

Construction Option #2: 1 file folder
You'll need 1 file folder, 2 sheets of sticker paper (or office paper and glue), access to lamination, 26 sheets of heavyweight cardstock, and sticky-backed velco.

Print two copies of page 23 on the N-Z PDF file onto sticker paper. Either cut everything out, or if it fits, simply peel and stick to each side of the file folder. Laminate the folder. Now print the odd number pages on the A-M and N-Z PDF file (with the exception of page 23 which you already printed) onto cardstock. Cut out. Attach sticky-back velcro: 10 pieces of the fuzzy side to the shapes on the laminated folder and the hook side of velcro to each of the cardstock shapes.

Write the letters (upper and lower case) on the folder in the handwriting box using dry-erase marker.

To Use:
Give the child one folder and the shapes that correspond to each of the two letters inside. (I put the shapes in an envelope in the folder, which could be velcroed to the folder for storage.)

Remind the child what the letters are and the sounds they make. Have them determine where the shapes belong and attach them. For example, on and A-B folder, the child will have to determine if the apple in the yellow circle or the  baby in the yellow circle belongs on the A side of the folder; "Does it make the aw sound or the ba sound?"

My son really surprised me with this. I'm looking forward to making more of these folders for him.

To keep the letter/phonics work going, we read K is for Kissing a Cool Kangaroo. This book is a lot of fun for kids who can challenge themselves to find all the objects pictured that start with the letter noted in the text. 


  1. this is AWESOME. i'm looking forward to trying this out with my 4 yr old as I've been thinking the same thing about knowing his letters but not understanding the sound thing. One idea I had though was not to use 13 file folders but just use a laminated letter at the top connected with velcro (like the shapes). You could have your letter (with the velcro on the back) and letter related words in the same envelope (so you'd need 26 envelopes still). Then you could also switch up which two letters you're playing with! I can't wait to try this! Thanks for posting!

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. I plan on starting to home school my 2 year old son and I bet this will be a good place to begin. I have discovered the importance of being involved with his learning and most evenings I take time to sing along to the wonderful phonics songs as well.

    Daniel Warren