Tips for Teaching Hard and Soft C and G

Teaching hard and soft C and G can be a tricky task! If you teach early elementary, you know this can take quite a bit of practice and repetition before it really sinks in for your students. But don't worry, I have some great solutions to help teach this confusing concept with ease! Today, I am bringing you my favorite tips, tricks, and methods for teaching hard and soft C and G to your students. Using a blend of teaching methods is key to helping your students grasp this concept painlessly. Let's dive in!

Teaching your students about hard and soft C and G is going to be easy with these fun activities they are sure to love.

What are the Hard and Soft C and G Sounds?

C and G are a bit tricky to teach since they both can make two different sounds. The letter G can make the sounds /g/ and /j/, while the letter C can make the sounds /k/ and /s/. All of these sounds can be found at the beginning, middle, or end of a word and follow certain phonics rules. Here's a quick refresher and a few examples. 

Hard and Soft C

Hard C sounds like /k/. It comes before the letters a, o, and u. Some examples of hard C include cat, music, and acorn. 

Soft C sounds like /s/. It comes before the letters e, i, and y. Some example words include cereal, fence, and pencil.  

When it comes to learning the sounds of hard and soft C and G using visuals like these will help your students make important connections.

Hard and Soft G

Hard G sounds like /g/. The hard /g/ sound comes before the letters a, o, or u, except at the end of a word. Some examples include gum, dog, and dragon.

Soft G sounds like /j/. It comes before the letters e, i, and y. Some examples include giraffe, cage, and angel. 

Start Out with Visuals

To get started teaching these sounds and their phonics rules, I love to do a whole group introduction. I'm sure you already know how much easier it is to teach just about anything when you have a great visual guide. For this reason, I love using anchor charts and mini-posters in my room for everything we study. First graders love colorful pictures and charts to spark their memory! In my Hard and Soft C and G Phonics Unit, I took special care to make sure there are plenty of visual aids for my students. 

Learning the phonics rules of hard and soft C and G can be difficult, but you can make it easier with these easy to use visual cards you can hang in your classroom, or include in your center activities.

These phonics rule posters make the perfect visual for your lesson as you introduce these rules.  Start out this lesson by going over the brightly colored mini posters that define each sound. You will also see that I have highlighted which letter patterns to look for in words to help students identify whether it will be a hard or soft letter sound. And since we are talking about first graders, you know I included colorful picture examples as well! 

Once you go through these and practice a few examples together, I recommend taking the time to allow students to color in the "reminder cards" I have included as well. 

This black and white worksheet is an individual-sized version of the mini-posters for students to keep at their desks or add to their reading notebooks. This will help them decide which sound is in the word they are working on. 

Whole Group Practice

Once you have done your intro lesson, use the colored picture cards to play a sorting game as a class. 

Use a sorting game like this as whole group practice when teaching hard and soft C and G.

I love using this as a whole group activity first so that I can model how to play this game before I add it to my centers. 

I print, laminate, and cut the cards ahead of time and then place them in a bucket.  You can draw the cards from the bucket and ask your whole group to answer together or they can take turns. 

I will call on volunteers to choose a card, say the word aloud, and then place it in the correct category.  As we say the word, we often emphasize and repeat the target sound.  As students get better at knowing the rule, I also have them explain why hard or soft sound is made.

Centers and Small Groups

The sorting game doubles as a great center activity for extra practice! Once we have done this as a group and the students know how to play, I will assign this activity for centers, small groups, or as a partner game. 

A sorting game like this is perfect for your centers and small groups when teaching hard and soft C and G.

There are 3 recording sheets to go along with this game that allow you to extend your activity, so feel free to use this a few times! In addition to the picture cards with words, you will find the same set without words for easy differentiation. 

Also included you will find a matching game for even more hands-on learning fun! This activity is a "memory" style game where students will flip 2 cards in search of a match. 

Students will hunt for a matching picture card to go with each word. I like to ask students to keep their mini reminder cards handy when playing this game to help them correctly identify the sounds. 

Write the Room for Hard and Soft C and G

Another fun way to work on teaching students hard and soft C and G is with this Write the Room Activity. I love using Write the Room in my classroom since it's a great way to squeeze in a bit more practice, in a new way. Write the Room comes in handy when your kids seem a bit restless too. If you're noticing some more wiggles than usual, opt for using this activity with your whole group to offer a chance to move around the room and refocus. 

Write the room activities are always a hit, so use this hard and soft C and G write the room activity to get your kids up and moving when learning hard and soft C and G this year.

To play, simply hang the cards up around the room. Students will walk around the room with a recording sheet and mark their answers down for each one. Every card has a picture of either a hard or soft C or G word. Children will look at the picture and circle the letter it starts with on their recording sheet. There are 24 task cards and 3 levels of recording sheets to allow for some variation as children progress in understanding. 

This resource can also be played as a "Scoot" game as well. For this version, simply lay the task cards out on the desks in order. Children will move from desk to desk with their recording sheets to answer each card. I like to use a timer for this to add an extra element of fun to the game. When the time is up, they "scoot"! This is a great game to play towards the end of the day or whenever you have just a few minutes to spare in your day and want to sneak in some extra practice!

Digital Activities During Center Time

Be sure to take a peek at the digital activities for teaching this important phonics skill. 

Children love digital learning activities and these are so simple to use in your classroom. All of the lessons come with audio and are self-correcting so that students can independently work on this topic. Students will start out listening to the definition cards that provide examples for each sound, similar to the mini posters.

Digital activities like these hard and soft C and G Boom Cards are great for independent practice or even as fun practice your students can continue at home.

Next, they will move on to the interactive lessons for each sound. I have included 4 activities for each lesson to make sure your students get plenty of practice with these letter sounds! 

Students will practice identifying the correct sounds, choosing the correct spelling for the words, sorting words by letter sounds, and unscrambling letters to form words. 

Moveable pieces and audio on every slide make this activity truly engaging and interactive!  I find that using a combination of paper and digital resources creates the perfect blend of hands-on, interactive practice to really help my students understand this tricky phonics lesson. 

You can find these Hard and Soft C and G activities to use on Google Slides or with Boom Learning.

Even More Practice

My Hard and Soft C and G Phonics Unit also has 22 pages of no-prep printable practice. Having lots of print-and-go resources available for anything I'm teaching is an absolute must for me! I love knowing that I have these in my back pocket whenever we might need them. They work wonderfully for centers, independent work, and homework.  They also make it really easy to differentiate instruction since I can grab an activity for the exact skill my students are struggling with.

No prep printable pages are always a plus when it comes to getting in extra skills practice with hard and soft C and G

Included you will find a variety of activities including cut and paste worksheets, color by sound, sorting activities, decoding scrambled words, and more! I use these for classroom centers and often send a few of them home again for extra practice as well. Often, I find that worksheets, especially ones on tricky topics, can be beneficial when completed more than once!

Get Started Teaching Hard and Soft C and G!

Feeling better about teaching this tough topic? I sure hope so! While this can be a bit of a tricky concept to grasp, I find that using a variety of digital activities, hands-on games, group instruction, and good ol' fashioned worksheets make this topic so much easier! Be sure to check out all of these great resources to find something that fits your classroom needs perfectly! 

The fun activities will help you teach hard and soft c and g in engaging ways your students will love.

This Hard and Soft C and G Bundle is perfect for your classroom this year.

Grab this hard and soft C and G Boom Cards bundle to use in your classroom today.

Save These Ideas for Later

Don't forget to pin these ideas to your favorite classroom Pinterest board for quick and easy access when you're ready to teach this topic! 

Use these fun, easy to use activities as you teach your students the sounds of hard and soft C and G this year. From write the room activities, to Boom Cards, to whole class activities, you can be sure your students will understand hard and soft C and G in no time. Grab the bundles to keep the learning going all year long!  #thechocolateteacher #teachinghardandsoftcandg #hardc #softc #hardg #softg

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