A List of Words that Start With Their Letter Sounds

Phonics - An a to z list

Why do we need to practice the sounds at the start of words?
Take two common words; sock and shoe.
Even though they both start with the letter s, the sound is different. The 's' is a different sound to 'sh'.
This is important when learning to write letters and words.

photo of a child playing with bubbles in a park

In the United States, the Department of Education notes in their typical language accomplishments guide that at the age of 5 a child should recognise letters and letter-sound matches. They should also begin to write letters of the alphabet and some words they use and hear often.

In the United Kingdom, the Department for Education recommends that letter sounds or phonics are the most effective way of teaching young children to read.

Phonics is a way of teaching children to read quickly and skilfully.

They are taught how to recognise the sounds that each individual letter makes and identify the sounds that different combinations of letters make, then blend these sounds together from left to right to make a word.

Children can then use this knowledge to decode new words that they hear or see.

This is the first important step in learning to read.

Here is a list of words to help with learning initial letter sounds.

  • A a

  • Just starting: across, and, ant, attic,
  • Gaining confidence: actor, adult, afraid, agree, alarm, alpaca, amazon, animal, apple, asleep, axe
  • More difficult: alley, almond (USA), america, angry, ankle, annoy, answer, arrow, artist, awake
  • Tricky: alligator, ambulance, anchor, antelope, alphabet, astronaut

  • B b

  • Just starting: back, bag, ball, bat, bed, bell, belt, big, bill, bin, black, body, brick, bug, bulb, bull, bump, bus
  • Gaining confidence: balloon, bang, bar, bark, barn, bath, bee, belly, bench, blood, book, boot, bow, box, boy, brain, bring, broom, brush, buggy, bunny, burp, busy, buzz, bush
  • More difficult: baby, bacon, bagel, baker, basin, beach, bead, beak, beaker, bean, bear, beard, bible, bike, bird, bite, blow, blue, boat, bogey, bone, bowl, brave, bread, break, buffalo bugle, banjo, bye
  • Tricky: badge, badger, bicycle, binoculars, biscuit, bridge, build,

  • C c

  • Just starting: cab, cap, car, cat, cop, cot, cow, cub, cup, cut
  • Gaining confidence: cage, cake, camp, candy, cape, card, carrot, cart, case, carpet, cave, clam, clap, claw, clay, clip, closet, coat, coin, cold, color, cone, cook, cool, copy, cork, corn, corner, crab, creek, crib, cross, crow, curb, curl
  • More difficult: cabin, cafe, calf, camel, camera, candle, cannon, canoe, castle, clean, click, climb, cloak, clock, cloud, clown, cobra, comb, comet, comic, cookie, cough, count, crack, crash, crawl, cream, cricket, crowd, crown, crumb, cry, cube, cucumber, curly
  • Tricky: cabbage, canary, captain, cartoon, clothes, coffee, computer, colour, cousin, cowboy, cracker, crane, crater, crocodile, cuckoo, cuddle, curtain

  • D d

  • Just starting: dab, dad, daddy, day, deer, den, dig, dip, dog, doll, door, dot
  • Gaining confidence: dark, desk, dice, dime, dirt, dish, draw, dress, drip, drop, drum
  • More difficult: daisy, doctor, donut, dragon, dream, dollar, drink, drive, dry, duck, duke
  • Tricky: dance, danger, desert, dessert, dinner, domino, donkey, doodle, dotted, dragonfly

  • E e

  • Just starting: egg, elf, elk, elm, end,
  • Gaining confidence: elbow, enter, exam, exit, extra
  • More difficult: echo, edges, elder, empty, enemy, energy, enjoy, every
  • Tricky: effort, electric, elephant, empire, engine, episode, escape, example, excited, expert

  • F f

  • Just starting: fan, feet, fig, food, foot, fox
  • Gaining confidence: face, farm, fire, fist, five, fizz, flag, floor, flower, frog fork
  • More difficult: fairy, family, father, fence, finger, flame, fleas, flute, fly, four, fries, frost
  • Tricky: falcon, faucet, feather, fossil, friend, frozen, fruit, funnel

  • G g

  • Just starting: gas, go, god, gun
  • Gaining confidence: gale, game, gang, garden, gate, gift, girl, glad, glass, gloop, glow, glue, glug, glum, goal, goat, goblin, gold, golf, gone, gong, good, goop, grab, granny, grape, grass, gray, green, grid, grill, grin, grip, grit, gross, grow, gull, gums, gunk, guts
  • More difficult: gator, geese, giddy, giggle, give, glare, glitter, globe, glove, gobble, goofy, goose, gown, grand, grandad, grandma, grave, graze, greedy, groovy, gruff, grumpy, gurgle
  • Tricky: gadget, galaxy, gallon, gallop, garage, garlic, gecko, geyser, ghost, going, google, gospel, grades, grease, great, guard, guess, guest, guitar


  • H h

  • Just starting: had, ham, has, hat, hay, he, hen, her, hey, hi, hid, him, hit, hog, hop, hot, how, hub, hug, hum, hut
  • Gaining confidence: hall, hand, happy, harp, hate, have, hawk, haze, head, heal, heap, hear, heat, heel, hello, help, here, hero, hide, hill, hippo, hips, hiss, hold, hole, home, honk, hook, hoop, hoot, hope, horse, hose, hotdog, hump, hunk, hurt
  • More difficult: hair, half, hammer, handle, hatch, hedge, helmet, heron, high, hobby, hollow, holly, holy, honey, hotel, house, hover, howl, huff, huge, hula, human, hungry,
  • Tricky: hashtag, heading, healing, healthy, heart, heaven, heavy, heights, horizon, hound, hymns

  • I i

  • Just starting: ill, imp, in, ink, inn, is, it
  • Gaining confidence: igloo, impala, inca, indigo, info, into
  • More difficult: idiot, ignore, improve, inbox, indoors, infant, ingot, injury, insect, inside, intern, invite, itself
  • Tricky: iguana, imagine, important, impossible, inch, ingredients, instructions, interesting, itchy

  • J j

  • Just starting: jab, jam, jar, jaw, jet, job, jog, joy, jug
  • Gaining confidence: jeep, jello, jelly, jerk, jump, junk, just
  • More difficult: jail, jangle, janitor, jeans, jersey, jewel, jingle, join, joke, judge, juice, jungle, junior,
  • Tricky: jack, jacket, jackfruit, jackpot, jealous, jellyfish, journey

  • K k

  • Just starting: keep, kerb, key, kid, king, kiss, kit, kitty
  • Gaining confidence: kangaroo, kebab, keeper, kick, kilo, kind, kingdom, kite, kooky
  • More difficult: kayak, kerbside, kernel, kestrel, kickball, kidding, kidney, killed, kilogram, kindness, kingfisher
  • Tricky: kaleidoscope, karate, keepsake, ketchup, keyboard, kickboxing, kilobyte, kilometer, kindergarten, kindle, kiosk, kitchen, kryptonite

  • L l

  • Just starting: lad, lap, law, lay, leek, leg, less, let, lid, lie, lip, list, lit, live, load, loft, log, loo, look, loop, lot, low
  • Gaining confidence: lace, lady, lake, lamb, lamp, land, lane, lark, lasso, last, late, lava, lawn, lazy, lead, leaf, leak, leap, left, lend, lesson, letter, lice, lies, life, lift, like, lime, line, link, lion, litter, little, liver, living, lobby, lock, long, longer, looked, lord, lose, lost, love, luck, lump, lung
  • More difficult: label, labor, ladder, landing, laptop, large, laser, latest, laugh, launch, layer, leader, leapfrog, learn, least, leave, legal, length, level, lick, light, linen, listen, local, lodge, loud, lower, lowest, lunar, lunch
  • Tricky: laboratory, labrador, labyrinth, lacrosse, ladybug, lamppost, landmark, language, lasted, laughter, laundry, leather, leftovers, legend, liberty, library, liquid, location, lounge

  • M m

  • Just starting: mad, mall, mama, man, map, mat, mess, miss, mix, mom, moon, mop, mug, mum, my
  • Gaining confidence: make, mango, many, mark, marrow, mart, mash, mask, match, maybe, mayfly, meal, mean, meat, melon, melt, mend, metal, mice, milk, mind, mine, mint, mirror, missed, mist, mister, mitten, mole, money, monkey, monster, more, morning, most, moth, move
  • More difficult: magic, magnets, magpie, maid, mail, mallow, malted, mammal, mammoth, manatee, manger, maple, marble, market, marlin, maroon, marvel, mascot, mashed, mattress, meadow, meatball, medal, meerkat, melody, memory, meow, mermaid, message, meteor, mickey, middle, midtown, mighty, millipede, miming, minute, mistake, mobile, model, month, moonbeam, mother, motor, motorway, mouldy, mouse, mouth, movie, moving, mucky, muscle, mushroom, music, myself
  • Tricky: macaroni, machine, magazine, magician, manhole, maracas, matching, mathematics, meatloaf, mechanic, medicine, microwave, midnight, millions, minigolf, mischief, mixture, moment, mountain, museum, mystery

  • N n

  • Just starting: nan, nap, need, net, new, nip, no, noon, not, now, nun, nut
  • Gaining confidence: nail, nappy, narrow, nest, never, next, nice, nine, nobody, none, normal, nose, note, nugget, number
  • More difficult: name, nametag, napkin, nation, native, nature, navy, near, nearby, nearly, neat, neck, necklace, needed, needle, nephew, nerve, netball, network, newbie, newborn, newspaper, nickel, night, nimble, ninety, ninja, ninth, noise, nonstop, noodle, nope, north, notice, nozzle, nurse, nutmeg
  • Tricky: nachos, narrator, narwhal, national, nativity, nought, naughty, nearest, negative, neglect, neighbor, neighborhood, neighbour (GB), neighbourhood (GB), nervous, nibbles, nickname, nineteen, nitpick, nonsense, notebook, nothing, notification, novelty, nowhere, numeracy, numerals,

  • O o

  • Just starting: odd, of, off, on, or, ox
  • More difficult: oblong, often, onto, otter, oxen
  • Gaining confidence: octagon, octopus, origami
  • Tricky: object, octave, offence (GB), offense, office, olives, operation, optician, option, orange, oregano, ostrich, oxygen

  • P p

  • Just starting: pad, pan, papa, pass, pee, peg, pen, pet, pig, pin, poo, pop, pot, pug, pull, pup, put
  • Gaining confidence: page, pale, palm, pamper, panda, panto, pants, paper, pardon, park, parrot, part, party, path, peas, pedal, peek, peel, peep, penny, peppy, perky, permit, person, pesky, pesto, petal, pie, pink, pipe, pitta, place, plan, plane, plank, plant, plate, play, playbook, player, playpen, plenty, plot, plug, plum, pole, poor, pork, post, potty, potty, power, pram, prank, pray, press, proof, puck, pump, punk, puppet, puppy, purr, push
  • More difficult: paid, pail, pain, paint, pair, pairs, pancake, pansy, passport, pasta, paste, pastor, patch, pattern, patrol, pause, peace, peach, peacock, peanut, pear, pencil, pests, petting, piano, pick, picnic, pigtail, pillow, pilot, pirate, pistol, pitch, pixie, pizza, places, plastic, please, plushie, poem, poke, popcorn, postbox, postman, potato, pour, powder, prawn, pretty, price, print, printer, prize, problem, proper, proud, prune, puffin, puke, pullover, punch, pupil
  • Tricky: pacific, pacifier, packet, paddle, padlock, paella, palace, pansies, panther, pantry, paperboy, papoose, paprika, parade, paradise, parallelogram, parcel, parent, parish, particular, pastrami, pastry, patient, patriot, pearls, pebble, penalty, penguin, people, perfect, perform, perhaps, period, piccolo, picked, pickle, picture, pieces, pigeon, pilgrim, pimple, pinata, pinkie, pioneer, piranha, pitcher, pixel, platform, pleasant, plumber, pocket, point, poison, police, polite, polluted, poodle, popular, porpoise, positive, postcode, posture, poured, poverty, powerful, practice, prayers, predator, pregnant, premium, prepare, present, president, pretend, preview, previous, prickle, priest, primary, primate, prince, principle, prison, private, probably, produce, product, profile, program, project, promise, property, protect, publish, pumpkin, punctual, purple, pyramid, python

  • Qu qu

  • Just starting: quad, queen
  • Gaining confidence: quack, quake, query, quest, quick, quiet, quilt, quite, quote
  • More difficult: quarrel, quarry, quarter, quicksand, quickstep
  • Tricky: quadrilaterals, quadruple, qualification, qualifier, quality, quantity, quarterback, quarterly, quartz, quaver, quench, question, queues

  • R r

  • Just starting: ram, rap, rat, raw, ray, red, rib, rid, rim, rip, roll, roof, room, root, rot, row, rub, rug, run
  • Gaining confidence: rabbit, race, rack, raft, rage, rail, rain, rainbow, ramp, ranch, rash, read, regret, relax, rest, return, rice, rich, ride, ring, river, road, robin, robot, rock, rocket, rope, rose, royal, ruby, rugby, rust, rye
  • More difficult: raccoon, radio, railway, random, raptor, raven, reach, really, reboot,, record, regular, remind, remote, remove, rental, rented, repair, repeat, reply, report, rhyme, ribbon, riddle, riding, ringer, ripple, roar, robbery, rodent, rookie, rooster, round, rubber, rubbish, runway
  • Tricky: rascal, raspberry, rather, ravine, realise (GB), realize, rebuild, receipt, receive, recess, recipe, reckon, recognise (GB), recognize, recovery, recreation, recycle, reduce, referee, reflection, refugee, refund, refuse, region, register, reject, related, relics, religion, remain, remarkable, remedy, rescue, resort, respond, responsible, restaurant, result, reveal, revenge, reverse, review, reward, rhino, rhombus, rhythm, ridiculous, romance, router

  • S s

  • Just starting: say, sea, sip, sir, sis, sit, six, so, sum, sun
  • Gaining confidence: sack, salt, same, sand, sank, scar, scarf, school, scoop, score, scout, scrap, screen, screw, script, seat, second, secret, seed, seek, seen, sell, send, sick, side, sign, silly, sing, sink, sister, skill, skin, skip, skirt, skunk, sky, slam, slap, sled, sleep, slide, slip, slope, slow, slug, small, smart, smell, smile, smog, smooth, smug, snake, snap, sniff, snip, snot, snow, snowman, soap, sock, soda, soft, soil, song, soon, sort, soup, soya, space, spade, spam, spank, spare, speak, speed, spell, spend, spider, spill, spin, spit, splat, split, spoon, sport, spot, spray, spud, spy, stag, stamp, stand, star, start, state, stay, steal, steam, steep, stem, step, stew, stick, sting, stink, stir, stool, stop, store, stork, story, straw, stray, string, strong, stuff, stump, suck, swam, swan, swap, sway, sweep, sweet, swell, swim, swing
  • More difficult: said, salad, salon, sandal, sandpit, satsuma, sausage, scale, scalp, scare, scare, scrape, scratch, scroll, seafood, seagull, search, season, secure, select, senior, seven, signal, signal, silver, silver, simple, single, slowly, slushy, snack, snappy, sneak, sneeze, soccer, solar, solid, sorrow, sound, sparrow, spider, spiral, spirit, splash, spooky, spring, sprint, sprout, spurs, squad, stable, stable, stack, stairs, stamp, staple, steak, stepdad, stoat, stomp, stream, street, stress, stroke, strum, stuck, study, stupid, style, submit, subway, suffer, summer, sunroof, sunset, swish, swoop
  • Tricky: sacred, saddle, safari, safely, saints, salami, salmon, samosa, sandwich, saviour, scarlet, schoolteacher, science, section, sensible, sentence, serious, serpent, servant, service, settee, setting, several, sidewalk, siesta, similar, siren, skater, skimmed, skittle, skydive, sleeve, smudge, sniffle, snooker, snore, socket, software, soldier, someday, somehow, someone, spaniel, speaker, special, speech, spinach, sponge, square, square, squash, squeeze, squirt, stadium, starve, statue, steady, stereo, stickers, sticky, stolen, stomach, storage, strict, strike, stripe, student, subject, sudden, suddenly, suggest, sunshine, supply, suppose, surface, sweater, switch, sword, symptom

  • T t

  • Just starting: tall, tap, tea, tell, ten, till, tin, tip, to, toll, too, top, toy
  • Gaining confidence: tail, take, tale, talk, tank, tape, team, tear, teddy, telly, tent, term, test, tile, timer, tiny, toad, toe, tofu, told, tomato, tone, took, tool, torn, toss, tram, trap, tray, tree, trek, trim, trip, troll, turn, tusk, tutu, tweet, twin, twit
  • More difficult: taco, taffy, target, tarts, task, taxi, teacup, teapot, telltale, tennis, text, tick, ticket, tied, tiger, tight, tiptoe, toast, today, toffee, tomb, tooth, total, towel, tower, town, track, tractor, traffic, train, trash, travel, trend, trick, tripod, trolley, trombone, trooper, trout, truck, trumpet, trunk, try, tube, tuna, tunnel, turf, twenty, twice, two table, typo, tyre
  • Tricky: tablecloth, tackle, tadpole, taillight, takeaways, talent, tangerine, tangled, tantrum, tapir, tarantula, taste, tattoo, teacher, teamwork, teardrop, teaspoon, telephone, telescope, television, temperature, temple, temporary, tempting, tentacle, terrible, terrific, textbook, timeout, title, toadstool, toddler, together, toilet, token, tomorrow, tongue, toolbar, toothache, toothpick, tornado, tortilla, tortoise, touchdown, tournament, towards, trade, trail, trailer, trainers, training, transfer, trapdoor, treasure, treehouse, triangle, trimester, trophy, trousers, truth, turquoise, turtle, tweezers, twelve, typing

  • U u

  • Just starting: up, us
  • Gaining confidence: udder, unbox, unclip, unclog, uncool, under, undid, unhappy, unless, unpin, unroll, uphill, upper, upset
  • More difficult: ugly, ultra, uncle, undies, undone, uneven, unfair, unkind, unlace, unlock, unlucky, unpaid, unread, unsafe, untidy, until, untrue, unused, unzip, upload, upped, upside, upward
  • Tricky: ultimate, umbrella, unclean, unclear, uncover, uncovered, understand, underwater, unexpected, unforgettable, unhealthy, unknown, unlikely, unlimited, unlocked, unloved, unnecessary, unstuck, unusual, unwanted, updated, upgrade, upstairs, urge

  • V v

  • Just starting: van, vat, veg, vet
  • Gaining confidence: valley, vase, vegan, vendor, venom, very, vessel, vest, vicar, visit, vocal, volley
  • More difficult: vacant, vain, value, vanilla, varied, various, veggie, vein, velvet, verb, verify, verse, versus, victory, video, view, viking, village, vine, vinegar, vintage, viola, violin, virtual, virus, visible, vitamin, voice, void, volcano, volume, vomit, vote, vowel, voyage
  • Tricky: vacation, vaccination, vaccine, vacuum, valedictory, valuable, vampire, vandalise (GB), vandalize, variety, vegetable, vehicle, venue, verdict, vertical, veteran, villain, violent, violet, visible, vision, vocabulary, volunteer

  • W w

  • Just starting: was, wax, we, web, wet, wig, win, won, wow
  • Gaining confidence: wack, wait, wake, walk, wall, wand, want, warm, wash, wasp, wave, wavy, weak, wear, week, well, welly, went, wept, were, west, wide, wife, wifi, wild, will, wimp, wind, wine, wing, wink, winner, winter, wipe, wire, wise, wish, with, woke, wolf, woman, wood weed, woof, wool, word, work, world, worm, worn, worry, wrap
  • More difficult: waddle, wafer, wager, wagon, waiter, wallet, walnut, walnut, walrus, waltz, warmups, warrant, warrior, wasabi, washroom, waste, wasted, watch, water, wealthy, weapon, weasel, weather, weave, webcam, website, wedding, wedge, weekday, weekend, weevil, weight, weird, welcome, welfare, welsh, western, wicked, widget, widow, width, wiggle, wigwam, wildlife, wince, winch, window, wingman, wingnut, wisdom, within, without, witty, wizard, wobble, wombat, wonky, worktop, world, worse, worth, would, wound
  • Tricky: wallpaper, waltzer, wardrobe, warehouse, warlock, warlord, washbowl, washday, wastebasket, waterbed, watercolor, watercress, waterfall, watermark, watermelon, waterproof, waterski, waxwork, weakness, weatherman, webcast, weeknight, weiner, werewolf, wetsuit, widespread, wildcard, wildcat, wilderness, wildfire, willpower, windmill, windowpane, windowsill, windpipe, windsurf, wingspan, wipeout, wireless, wisecrack, wiseguy, witchcraft, witness, wolverine, wonderful, wonderland, woodchuck, woodland, workbook, workforce, worksheet, workshop, worship, worthwhile

  • X x - more commonly found at the end of a word

  • Just starting - x at the end of words: box, fox, ox, pox
  • More difficult: x-box, x-men, x-ray
  • Tricky: xylophone

  • Y y

  • Just starting: yak, yam, yes, yet
  • Gaining confidence: yard, yarn, yell, yoga, yummy
  • More difficult: yardwork, yawn, year, yellow, yodel, yogurt, youth
  • Tricky: yacht, yearbook, yearn, yeast, yesterday, young, your, yourself, yuletide

  • Z z

  • Just starting: zag, zap, zed, zen, zig, zip, zit, zoo
  • Gaining confidence: zany, zeal, zebu, zero, zest, zinc, zing, zone, zoom
  • More difficult: zebra, zigzag, zipper, zircon, zonal, zookeeper
  • Tricky: zealot, zenith, ziggurat, zilch, zillion, zither, zodiac, zombie, zucchini


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