To help my 5 year old daughter learn to listen and identify sounds in words I made up a little game that we call "Word Bridges". I drew a picture of a river in the middle of the page with a green grassy bank on each side. Just to add interest I added a tree, a sun, and a few clouds. Because she insisted, I also added a house on one side of the river, and in this house lives a family of frogs. The frogs love to visit the tree, but unfortunately there is no way to cross the river without being swept away in the current. So it is up to her to complete a word bridge.
I construct a partially complete bridge for her and tell her what the word is. She has to figure out what letter is missing to finish the bridge so the frogs can hop across.
Sometimes the first letter is missing. She has to listen for the beginning sound.
And sometimes its the ending sound she has to listen for.
Other times, she must listen for a vowel sound in the middle.
What's really cute about this is that she will often extend the learning by making up stories as she plays the game. Today the momma frog kept getting separated from her baby frogs. It was up to her to reconstruct the bridge each time so they could get home to their momma.
One of the greatest advantages to homeschooling is how personal it becomes. I love seeing my children learn, and when they do it with a smile on their face...well, that's just all the better!