1. Overview

You will play three sounds for your child and ask him to say which sound came first, next, or last. This is a sequel to First Sound, Last Sound (A4), which had sequences of just two sounds. Adding a third sound makes the task more complicated and further develops your child’s memory and attention skills.
first next last sounds
A6: First, Next & Last Sounds
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2. Materials


A smartphone or computer that can play the sounds below:
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3. Activity

Prepare the child by playing all the sounds you are going to use, naming each sound as you hear it. This gets the child familiar with the sounds and their names. Demonstrate the game by playing three different sounds, and naming the sounds along with their order.
Adult: I just played three sounds. The first sound was a cow. The next sound was a frog. And the last sound was a doorbell.
Note: Next is an easier concept for young children to understand than middle.
Video: How to play First, Next & Last Sounds
Start the game by playing three sounds and asking the child to name the sounds.
Adult: I am going to play three different sounds for you. Listen. [play Donkey, Sneezing, and Knocking] What was the first sound you heard? Child: A donkey! Adult: What was the next sound? Child: Sneezing. Adult: What was the last sound? Child: Knocking!
Mix up the order of your questions. Sometimes ask him to name the first sound, sometimes the last sound, and sometimes the middle sound. (This may be difficult for younger children who don’t yet grasp the concept of middle.) As your child gets the hang of it, give less guidance with each round. For example, don’t tell him the number of sounds.
Adult: OK, listen to these sounds. [play Pig, Lion, and Bell] How many sounds did you hear? Child: Three! Adult: Right. Which sound was in the middle? Child: Pig. Adult: No, the pig was the first sound. Listen again. [play Pig, Lion, and Bell] Which sound was in the middle, after the first sound? Child: Lion! Adult: Good job.
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4. Confidence Builder

If the child has trouble identifying the order of the sounds, ask for just one of the sounds. Tell him in advance which sound you want him to listen for.
Adult: I am going to play three sounds for you. Listen, and then tell me the first sound. [play Donkey, Duck, and Foghorn] What was the first sound? Child: A donkey!
If the child has trouble identifying a sound, you can help by giving him two options.
Adult: OK, what was the first sound? Child: Um…I dunno. Adult: Was the first sound a bird, or an ambulance? Child: It was a bird!
If your child really struggles with remembering three sounds, go back for a while to the First Sound, Last Sound activity, which uses just two sounds at a time, or Name That Sound, which uses just one sound at a time. ↑ Top

5. Extensions

  • Once the child has mastered the basic game, make it harder by adding a fourth sound to the sequence.
  • While your child has his eyes closed, play a sequence of three or four sounds. After he’s identified them, ask him to close his eyes again. Play the sequence again, but leave out one of the sounds; then ask the child which sound was left out. This will further stretch his memory skills.
  • Play a sequence of four sounds. Then play the sequence again, but leave out one of the sounds. Ask the child which sound was left out.
  • Play three sounds (e.g., cow, doorbell, car horn). Then ask the child to identify them in reverse order (car horn, doorbell, cow). For example: “What was the last sound you heard?” … “What was the sound before that?” … “And what was the first sound you heard?” This uses the child’s attention skills and adds concentration.
  • Play three sounds (e.g., cow, doorbell, car horn). Then play two of the same sounds and one new sound (e.g., cow, doorbell, pig). Ask the child which sound was left out and which new one was added.
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6. Variations

  • You can play this game with a wide variety of sound or music clips. You can even make your own sounds (e.g., clapping hands, whistling, drumming fingers on a table).
  • You can introduce and practice using ordinal words such as first, second, third, and fourth.
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7. Small Groups (2-5 children)

Lesson Objective: Children will be able to sequence three sounds. GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL1.3b (Activities for this standard will be increased in difficulty to match children’s age group.) Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes: Practice the activity as a group. Play a series of three sounds (for example, cow, sneeze, and dog). Ask the children as a group, “What was the first sound? The next sound? The last sound?” Once the children understand the activity, ask for individual responses. Encourage a child to come up with three sounds on his own. Challenge the other children to name the sounds in the correct sequence. Reinforcement: Play a series of three sounds (e.g., horn, bell, sneeze). Play the same series a second time. Then play just two of the sounds in the series (horn,             , sneeze). Ask the children, “Which sound was missing? Was it the first sound? The second/next sound? Or the last sound?” Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom. ↑ Top

2 Responses to “A6: First, Next & Last Sounds”

  1. Melissa

    How long do I spend on the activities before moving on? Do I move on when they master it? Thanks in advance!

  2. Andrew

    Melissa has a good question. Some children (anecdotally, including ASD students), don’t get this after doing it so many times, so I wonder if it actually helps.


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