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Sounds Abound Storybook Activities
Ages: 4-7   Grades: PreK-2

Link phonological awareness skills to children's literature and comprehension.  Use the rich vocabulary from favorite children's books to improve word, syllable, and sound awareness. 


  • Improve rhyming, word, syllable, and sound awareness
  • Link phonological awareness to literacy
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The activities are suitable for whole class instruction, small groups, and individuals; preschoolers though early elementary grades; and regular and special education classrooms.  There are a variety of questions at each level of learning so you can easily address individual needs in a group. 

The easy-to-follow format uses the same skill sequence in each book-unit.  The story content and vocabulary words are integrated into an exhaustive compilation of practice activities.  Students progress to awareness of increasingly smaller units of speech:

  • Word Awareness
  • Syllable Awareness
    - clapping syllables
    - blending syllables
    - deleting syllables
    - reversing syllables
  • Rhyming
    - recognize rhymes
    - discriminate rhymes
    - generate rhymes
  • Sound Awareness
    - initial sound play
    - identify and generate words beginning with the given sound
    - blend monosyllable words
    - blend sounds to make a word
    - match initial sounds
    - identify initial and final sounds of words
    - substitute initial and final sounds
    - segment sounds
    - delete initial and final sounds
    - delete sounds in blends

The lessons are based on storybooks that you supply.  There are 43 book-units.  Several of the books have content related to curricular topics.  Some of the titles are (see the Table of Contents for a complete list):

  • A Pocket for Corduroy
  • Caps for Sale
  • If You Give a Moose a Muffin
  • Pumpkin Pumpkin
  • Strega Nona
  • The Snowy Day
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo

Copyright © 2002

233 pages, book list

I just received my copy of Sounds Abound Storybook Activities and I am so impressed!  I teach Kindergarten and it is just what I have been looking for.  It helps me immensely in putting in place the phonemic awareness and phonics part of the my program using good literature.  Thank you so much.

Linda Sears, Teacher
Fort Covington, NY

  • ASHA (2001) states that speech-language pathologists play an integral role in identifying children who are at risk of developing reading disorders and providing intervention on oral speech and language skills, including phonological awareness skills.  Direct intervention in the preschool years may reduce later reading and spelling difficulties.
  • Training in phonological awareness is critical to reading success, and manipulating phonemes in words is highly effective across all literacy domains and outcomes (NRP, 2000).
  • Blending and segmenting skills must be present in order to decode unfamiliar written words accurately and fluently.  Thus, in order to improve decoding, a student must have a foundation of these skills (Lyon, 1995; Schuele & Boudreau, 2008).
  • Explicit instruction in phonemic awareness and phonetic decoding skills produces stronger reading growth in children with phonological weakness than approaches that do not teach these skills explicitly (Torgesen, 2000).
  • Preschool children, who are at-risk for later developing reading disorders, including children with speech-sound disorders and children in poverty, need explicit instruction on phonological awareness skills, including segmenting, rhyme, and print awareness.  Use of age-appropriate literature to facilitate motivation in children is an effective therapy technique (Justice, Chow, Capellini, Flanigan, & Colton, 2003).

Sounds Abound Storybook Activities incorporates these principles and is also based on expert professional practice.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA). (2001). Roles and responsibilities of speech-language pathologists with respect to reading and writing in children and adolescents [Position Statement]. Retrieved September 30, 2009, from

Justice, L.M., Chow, S.M., Capellini, C., Flanigan, K., & Colton, S. (2003). Emergent literacy intervention for vulnerable preschoolers: Relative effects of two approaches. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 12, 320-332.

Lyon, G.R. (1995). Research initiatives in learning disabilities: Contributions from scientists supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Journal of Child Neurology, 10(Suppl. 1), 120-126.

National Reading Panel (NRP) (2000). Teaching children to read: An evidence based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implication for reading instruction—Reports of the subgroups. Retrieved September 30, 2009, from

Schuele, C.M. & Boudreau, D. (2008). Phonological awareness intervention: Beyond the basics. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 39, 3-20.

Torgesen, J.K. (2000). Individual differences in response to early intervention in reading: The lingering problem of treatment resisters. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 15, 55-64.


Sandy Lachance


Sandy Lachance, M.S., CCC-SLP, has worked as a speech-language pathologist for over 25 years in the Baltimore County Public School System in Maryland.  Sandy's experience with students exhibiting articulation, language, and reading difficulties sparked her interest in phonological awareness.  Sandy is a strong proponent of integrating phonemic awareness training in daily classroom activities.  She regularly incorporates these skills in her therapy sessions with preschool and elementary-aged students.  Sandy has provided staff development and consultation for teachers at her school as well as numerous classroom demonstration lessons.  In her spare time, Sandy enjoys amateur photography, gardening, and relaxing with her family beside their beautiful water garden.  Sounds Abound Storybook Activities is Sandy's first publication with LinguiSystems.


Sounds Abound Storybook Activities includes phonological awareness activities for 43 children's literature books.  These activities take advantage of the rich vocabulary from these well-known stories to reinforce and apply skills in word awareness, syllable awareness, rhyming, and sound awareness.  The activities and the sequence in which they are presented follow the recommendations outlined in Goldsworthy's aforementioned text.

Processing phonological information requires a certain degree of short-term memory.  Students need to "hold" the words or sounds in working memory long enough to process the information.  To aid in this task, visual representations (e.g., pictures, blocks, chips) are suggested to help teach some concepts.  The ultimate goal is to fade the use of visual cues so that the students are able to perform the tasks strictly auditorily.  As visual cues are faded, it may be beneficial to have students repeat the stimulus words (i.e., verbal rehearsal) to facilitate that processing ability.  For example, with oddity tasks (e.g., Discriminating Rhymes) where three words must be held in working memory, have the students quietly repeat the words as they attempt to discriminate which one does not fit the intended pattern.

The activities included in Sounds Abound Storybook Activities can be used in a variety of ways by classroom teachers, special education teachers, reading specialists, and speech-language pathologists.  Books selected for this program can be used with preschool or kindergarten students as read-alouds, with first- and second-grade readers, or with older students with reading and learning disabilities.  The activities can be incorporated in whole class instruction, in small groups, or with individual students.

There are a variety of questions provided at each level so you can easily address individual needs in a group by posing different stimulus questions to different students.  For example, one student in a group could respond to a sound blending task as another student claps the syllables in a word.

These activities can be integrated into a directed reading lesson and are short enough to be used as reinforcement at other times throughout the day.  For example, you might present stimulus items to students as they transition from an activity on the floor to working at their desks, while waiting in line, or before packing up at the end of the day (e.g., "Before you line up, tell me a word that rhymes with ____.").

Several of the children's books are content-related, addressing themes such as life cycles (e.g., Pumpkin, Pumpkin; The Very Hungry Caterpillar), animals (e.g., Swimmy, The Grouchy Ladybug), seasons (e.g., The Seasons of Arnold's Apple Tree, The Snowy Day), and culture (e.g., Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Tikki Tikki Tembo).  This relationship allows further connections between phonological awareness skills and outcomes related to science or social studies.  By incorporating phonological awareness tasks throughout the school day, we increase the exposure and practice students receive in these critical processing skills.

The activities included for each story are easy to follow because they use the same format and sequence of skills.  In addition, many answers are provided for your convenience, either in parentheses following the item or by underlining the target item in a list.  Because of the variability in the vocabulary as well as the complexity of sentence structure, different texts lend themselves to certain activities better than others.  Therefore, you will find that not all skills are addressed for each story.

In general, the number of items under specific headings is not all inclusive.  Please consider this work a starting point from which you can extend and generate additional stimulus items as you and your students interact with these wonderful stories.  Feel free to apply this framework to other texts as well.

 I hope that you and your students enjoy these activities and stories as much as my students and I do!