Memory Skills: Lost Letters

Sound Sequences

The ability to read fluently relies heavily on your memory for common sequences of letters and sounds. Over time mastery means that words are recognised with just part of the word in place.

As adults we are albe to mkae snese of wrods even when we are faced with errors – as long as the general shape of the word is correct (that’s one of the reasons why so often when we type we overlook the errors that we make). It makes a great deal of sense then to practise this ability for remembering the look and sound of words. Today’s game is doing just that!

Set Up & Game Play

You will need the picture cards and letter cards supplied, or you can use alphabet puzzle pieces or magnetic alphabet tiles if you have them instead of the letter cards. Cut out the cards you are going to use and select the letter tiles you wish to combine with them according to the level you are playing. Choose the level to start that you think will be just right for your child from these listed below (a just right challenge is one that is just hard enough to be interesting but not overwhelming):

  1. Using  Pictures With Words  –  find just the initial sound/letter of the word.
  2. Using  Pictures With Words  with  Words Only –  match the words and picture
  3. Use Picture Cards Only with Words Only cards – match the whole word with the right picture.
  4. Use Picture Cards Only with Partial Words matched with picture – find the missing letter/sound with Sound Cards
  5. Use Partial Words cards only – find the missing letter/sound with Sound Cards.

Spread the letters/sound cards around the room or across the table – where ever you are playing. Select a picture card from a lucky dip box and then find the target letter/sound that is needed for that picture.


  1. Place all the lost letters in a basket or bowl filled with shredded newspaper, packing popcorn or rice & have your child find the missing letter by touch (have them tell you first what letter they are looking for – as a cue to look at as they feel in the box, use the alphabet puzzle pieces). You will need to use alphabet shapes (not square cards) for this variation.
  2. Place the lost letters on objects that start with that sound around the room at the beginning of the game, saying the name of the letter and what the letter says (e.g. “This is the letter ‘S”, when it talks it says ‘sssssssss’). This adds to the working memory load of the game and also incorporates whole body movement, scanning and visual discrimination. It can even work on balance, depending on where you place the letters.

Also Works On: Reading (Metalinguistics); Speaking; Visual Perception (visual closure; figure-ground; discrimination); Listening Skills (auditory discrimination); Problem Solving; Attention. With variations, an also work on tactile discrimination, balance and whole body movement (vestibular) processing.


Activity Materials


You Will Need...

  • Alphabet tiles or magnetic alphabet letters