Match That Pie

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Students will be able to identify the name of an item, isolate and then pronounce the initial sound.

Big Idea

Knowing the relationship between written letters and spoken sounds will help children recognize words accurately and automatically. In this lesson, children practice matching letters with initial sounds.


15 minutes

Gather students on the rug using a preferred classroom management technique. I like to use my “Stop, look, listen.” The students stop what they are doing, look at me and listen for the direction. I usually preface the direction with, “When I say go…” This reminds the students to listen to the whole direction before moving to follow the directive.

In this case I would say, “When I say go I would like you to clear your space, push in your chair and go take a spot on your dot. Walking feet go.” By saying walking feet I am reminding the students to use walking feet in the classroom to ensure safe movement between areas.

Once the students are all sitting on the rug I show them the cover of the book we are about to read. I ask the students, “Can anyone tell me if there are any sight words in the title of our book?”

“Joanne you have your hand up. Are there any sight words? Can you tell me one of them?”

I repeat this until all of the sight words have been recognized.

“Okay I see we still have one more word to figure out. Can anyone help me out with decoding this last unknown word?”

I find I usually have a student who raises their hand and tells me the last word. “Great Bryan you told me the word is apples. How did you figure out the word is apples?”

I let the student explain to the rest of the class how he knew what the word is. It could be that he has seen the word so frequently this week that he recalled the word from previous lessons, he used letter sounds or it could be that the student used a picture clue. Either way is acceptable I just want the student to verbalize his strategy for others to hear.

“Well now that we have figured out all of the words, good readers reread the title or sentence for fluency and understanding, so here goes. One Little, Two Little, Three Little ApplesThis book was written by Matt Ringler and Anne Kennedy drew the pictures. If Matt Ringler wrote the words, what is he called?” Hopefully you have mentioned this enough times when reading other books that the students should be able to call out, “The author.” “Yes you are right. He is the author of the book.”

“If Anne Kennedy drew the pictures, what is she called?” Hopefully you have mentioned this enough times when reading other books that the students should be able to call out, “The illustrator.” “Yes you are right. She is the illustrator of the book.”

Now I go ahead and I sing this book to the students. Yes I sing it, because after all it goes very nicely with the tune “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians.” Singing the book captures many of the student attention as they are used to hearing people read books, but very few will sing books to them.

Even though I sing my way through this book we still stop to have discussions about the pictures or words. “Has anyone noticed anything about the pictures?” Someone has usually noticed how silly the cat is in the majority of the pictures. 


25 minutes

After the book is over I ask the students, “Did anyone notice anything different about the words?” Usually I have a student who comments on the fact that I sang the words so we discuss that briefly, but I am more interested in seeing if anyone noticed that the number of apples went up and then went back down. If no one does I prompt with, “What about the numbers of apples?”

To help maintain control of the flow of the conversation and to ensure that multiple students have a chance to respond to the questions, I will use the Fair Sticks

We discuss how they added apples to the bushel to take home to make a pie and as they used the apples to make the pie the number decreased.


Now I tell the students they are going to make a pie, but their pie is going to be very different to the one in the book. “You will not be able to eat this pie because it is made out of cardstock. When you get to the station you will notice lots of pie bases with different pictures on them. You will also notice lots of pie tops with different letters on them. Your job will be to match the tops of the pies to the correct bottoms. Now be aware that more than one top may work for a pie.” Letter Sound Association

I show the students the pie bottom with the picture of the Great Blue Heron on it. “What is this?” I ask my students. Sure enough I get some who say bird and some who say heron. “Both answers are correct,” I say. “If I call this a heron which beginning sound am I looking for?”

“Your right Lisa, I am looking for the /h/ sound. Which letter represents the /h/ sound?”

“That’s right Hamish; the letter h makes the /h/ sound.”

“But what if I called this a bird? What sound do I hear now?”

“Yes Kristen I hear the /b/ sound and what letter makes the /b/ sound?”

“Good one Everett. The letter b makes the /b/ sound.”


I tell the students that once they have matched the pie bottoms to the correct top they are to select their favorite six to record on the recording sheet at that station. A matched pie


I dismiss the students over to integrated work stations one table at a time.Students Working at station time   One student working

“Table number one, go have some fun.

Table number two, you know what to do.

Table number three, hope you were listening to me, and

Table number four, shouldn’t be here anymore.”


Allow 15 minutes for this part of the lesson.   


10 minutes

When the time is up I blow two short blasts on my whistle and use the “Stop, look listen” technique mentioned above. “When I say go, I would like you to clean up your space remembering to take care of our things, push in your chair, and use walking feet to go and take a spot on your dot.”

I remind students to put their completed work in the “completed work” bin and those that are not complete go into the “under construction” bin.  

Once everyone is seated on their spot I tell the students that their “exit slip” to get their snack is to tell me the correct initial sound to the animal that I show them. I show each student a picture of an animal, first the student tells me what the animal is and then tells me the initial sound. For some students I will ask them to give me the ending sound and a couple I will ask for the medial sound - this is to differentiate for student abilities. 

Simple clear animal picture cards are available for printing on the Sparkle Box website.

If you did not want to use animals another site with a variety of flashcards is Kids Pages




For this assignment I either place the original work in the student’s folder with my notes on it, or I make a photo copy of the work with my notes on it and send home the original for the student’s family top see. Student work sample 1   Student Work sample 2


Repeat this activity for ending or medial sounds based on your students abilities.


Another idea I had would be to make CVC words on the pie and cut it into three. Student would put the pies together much like a puzzle to make the word. A self correction picture would be in the middle. For example, a picture of a cat would make the center of the pie and the letters c-a-t would make be written across the pie then I would cut it in three. 

I like to load the C-A-T Word Machine activity onto my SMARTBoard for the students to practice C-V-C words. I use the fair sticks to select students to come up and interact with the board. The regular Starfall site is free, but the More Starfall site does have a fee.