1. Overview

Look at five pictures and pick out the one that ends with a different sound. The word for the target picture in the pink box has a particular ending sound, and three of the four other pictures have the same ending sound. Three is enough, so your child must identify the picture with a different ending sound.

threes enough
“The target word is nail. Listen: peas, pool, seal, tail.
Which one ends with a different sound than nail?”

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2. Materials

Print out the picture strips and sound cards, preferably on sturdy card-stock paper, and cut them apart. The word index is for the adult’s reference only.

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3. Activity

Video: How to play Three’s Enough

To start the game, select one of the picture strips and the sound card for the ending sound of the target picture (on the left, in the pink box). Say the target word and show the sound card.

Adult: This picture is a web. Web ends with /b/-/b/-/b/.
            Say web.

Child: Web.

Put the sound card down, but propped up against a block so it remains in the child’s view. Repeat the target word, and say the names of the other four pictures on the strip.

Adult: Look at the other pictures: knob, bib, dice, crab.
            Name each picture as I point to it. Get ready.

Child: Knob, bib, dice, crab.
Adult: Which one sounds different at the end?
Child: Um…
Adult: Listen: knob, bib, dice, crab.
            Which one sounds different at the end?

Child: Dice!
Adult: Yes. Dice does not end with a /b/ sound.

Once the child has made his choice, he can put down a penny, paper square, or game piece on the picture with the “misfit” ending sound. Continue playing for 15 minutes or until your child’s attention fades.

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4. Confidence Builder

To simplify this game, narrow down the child’s choices. Cover up two of the matching pictures on the picture strip, leaving the target picture, one matching picture, and one “misfit” picture. Then follow the directions for the activity as outlined above.

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5. Small Groups (2-5 children)

Lesson Objective: Using a strip of five pictures as visual aids, children will identify the ending sound of each pictured item’s spoken name and mark the picture with a different ending sound from the other pictures.

GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL6.4a

Georgia Standards of Excellence: ELAGSEKRF3.a

Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.3.A

Additional Materials:

  • extra checkers, pennies, or markers for each child

Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes:

Warm up by reviewing how to identify words that don’t belong in a group. Give the children three words — heart, heart, circle — and ask which one is different. Give the children another group of three words — circle, square, circle — and ask which word doesn’t belong.

Place the letter sound card where everyone can see it. Play the game together as a group, showing one picture strip at a time. Say the target word, emphasizing the ending sound. Say the names of each picture on the picture strip, then ask which one ends with a different sound.

Once the children grasp the concept, show a new picture strip. Let the children take turns putting their marker on the picture with the different ending sound.


  • Leave all the cards on the table that the children have completed. Keep track of the children’s answers, and later review the answers given on each card.
  • Review each picture strip with the group, saying all the words that have the same ending sound. For example: “Nail, pool, seal, and tail all end the same.”

Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom.

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