teaching resource

Penguin Syllable Sorting Activity

Teach Starter Publishing
Google Slide, PDF | 1 page | Grades: K - 1

Count syllables to help these chilly penguins escape the frigid water by sorting them onto the correct ice floes.

Welcome Winter! – Counting Syllables for Kids

These little penguins are freezing! They’ve spent way too much time in the water, and they are desperate to get onto dry land and cuddle to warm up. We’ve got a flock of chilly syllable penguins waiting for your students to help them out!

These little penguins are not just here to waddle around and look cute—they’re also here to help your students practice decoding words!

To return the penguins to the dry land, your students will have to clap each word’s syllables and match them to the correct ice floe..This is fun for them to practice recognizing the number of syllables in a word and then putting that knowledge into practice by sorting them into their corresponding categories.

 Other Ideas for Breaking Words into Syllables

There’s more than one way to use this syllable activity in your classroom! Check out a few ideas for taking this game to the next level.

Winter Syllable Game of Memory

You can also use this resource as a phonics game for two players; students will shuffle the picture cards and lay them all face down. Each player takes their turn by flipping two cards at a time until either finds two words with the same number of syllables (e.g., bus and clock)  sets the pair aside to keep score.

See It, Say It, Spell It

Use the cards to show students how breaking words down into their syllables can help them as they learn to spell. Choose three cards, one for each number of syllables, and project them on your smartboard. Working together as a class, sound out the words a syllable at a time and ask students what letters they hear. Write the words on the board as the students match the sounds to the letters.

Make a Fun Syllable Count Station for Everyone

Fast finishers can take this activity further by sorting the picture cards by putting them in alphabetical order. You can also ask them to think of more words they know with 1, 2, or 3 syllables. Ask them to draw pictures of those words, and write the number of syllables each has below the drawing.

If your students have trouble identifying each word’s syllables, show them how to clap it out. This makes sounding out words fun (they love to make noise!). Plus, students engage multiple senses while working on their phonological awareness.

Easily Make a Counting Syllables Center for Your Students

Print the sorting mats and cards on cardstock for added durability and longevity. Place all game parts in a folder or large envelope for easy access.

Before You Download

Use the drop-down icon on the Download button to choose between the PDF or Google Slides version of this resource. An answer key is also included with this download.

This resource was created by Lisamarie Del Valle, a teacher in Florida and a Teach Starter Collaborator.



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