Stoplight Sounds (Freebie!)

So, I was in Wal Mart the other day (I promise this isn't the start of a bad joke ;))
I was grabbing a few things from the travel section and found these great little containers.  97 cents a piece.  Of course, there was no way I'd use them for travel purposes, but I knew they'd make a GREAT activity for the classroom!

I picked up a red, yellow, and green because I knew I wanted to do something with a stoplight theme.  They had orange and blue containers as well.  As I was driving home it dawned on me.  STOPLIGHT SOUNDS!!!!  I could use the lids to segment sounds ...beginning (green)/ middle (yellow)/ end (red).  Perfect! 

Then the ideas for variations on the blending activity just started flowing.  These would definitely make the perfect addition to your guided reading toolkits.  I think one set per student (5-6 sets total) would be perfect.  

Now let's talk about how this all works.

My original thought was to have my kids just use the lids for segmenting and identifying phonemes.  I'll assign each color to a different sound in CVC words as mentioned above.  Then I'll give my kids a set of letter tiles and have them place the letters under each sound dome and go from there.  But that didn't make any sense because I want this to be an activity that makes them think and use the decoding skills they've learned thus far. are a few ideas.

Explain to your kids that each container represents a sound. 
Green = beginning consonant
Yellow = medial vowel
Red = ending consonant

Prior to starting this activity, fill the green and red containers with about 3-5 letter tiles each.  For the yellow container, you can place one vowel (the one you're studying) OR choose a couple (for review).  Teacher discretion, of course.

Now give a set of pre-filled containers to each student in your small group and prompt them to place the containers in stoplight  Remove the lids and place them in front of the containers. 

Now you can do a couple of different things...

* Call out words for the kids to make (they will make the words first, then segment each sound by placing one letter under each lid). Then tap the top of the lid as they say each sound and finally blend the sounds together.

* Prompt the kids to make their own words following the stoplight sequence.  Have them distinguish between real words and nonsense words.  Encourage them to segment/blend each phoneme in the words they create to make a word.  

I'm sure you could think of a jillion different variations or activities to use with these little tubs.  I think they'd be great for math, too.   As for phonics, this is a great way for kids to visually see and physically touch the phonemes in CVC words.  It's a great way to reach kids with different learning styles.

  I think something like this would also make a great independent literacy station. Keep a few sets in a literacy tub and fill the containers with letter tiles.  Have your kids make different words....write the words and illustrate....or make words and distinguish between real and nonsense.  They can use these printables to record their work (if that's something you want them to do.) I'd probably keep them in a dry erase sleeve and put this activity in one of my fast finisher tubs.  But only after introducing, modeling, and interacting with this activity first :)

Since we're talking all about CVC words and blending/segmenting phonemes, I thought it would be the perfect time to throw some treats your way :)  Click on the pics below to take you to these resources.  They will only be marked down for a short amount of time so get 'em while the prices are slashed!!!  Great resources for independent work or small group/guided reading activities!!



  1. Love! A perfect...yet totally precious...idea!

  2. AWESOME! I would have seen those and thought about packing for my next vacation, lol. Thanks for the idea - color-coding is magical with firsties!

  3. Thanks again for sharing this!!! I almost spit my drink out reading...this isn't the start of a bad joke. So true! :) I went 2 nights in a row and DID pick up the clear containers. I'll be using these for CVC + Silent E words. This ideas and printables are great.

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