Lesson plan

The Two Sounds of C and G

Does that pesky letter G say /g/ or /j/? How about the sneaky letter C, does it say /k/ or /s/? Use this lesson to teach your students how to tell the difference between the hard and soft sounds of consonants.
GradeSubjectView aligned standards

Students will be able to understand that some consonants have two sounds and will be able to read words with the consonants “G” and “C” that use both hard and soft sounds.

(5 minutes)
  • Gather students to the rug for the start of the lesson.
  • Ask students to name the 5 vowels, A, E, I, O, and U. Ask them what makes vowels special. Answers might include, "Each letter makes two sounds," or "Vowels are sometimes silent within a word."
  • Say, “Today we are going to learn about some special consonants that also make two sounds. The letters C and G.
  • Both the C and the G make a hard sound, like the /g/ sound in the word “goat” or the /c/ sound, like in the word “cup” and a soft sound, like the /j/ sound you hear in the word “germ” or the /s/ sound you hear in the word “city.”
  • Tell them that here is a handy trick to figuring out if the letter will be using its soft or hard sound. Look at the word and if the letter after the c or g is an i, e, or y, then the g or c will most likely make the soft sound. If the letter after the g or c is any other letter, it will most likely make the hard sound. The hard sound is more common for both the c and the g.
(10 minutes)
  • Show the class one word at a time written on the board and model thinking aloud how to tell if the word contains a soft or hard sound. For example, say, “Hmm the word “giant” written on the board has an i after the letter g, that means the g will make the soft sound that sound like /j/. Let me try it out and see if it makes sense, “giant” yes, that sounds good.”
  • Repeat with the words: gas, car, rice.
  • Write each word on the board as you read it.
  • Ask students to notice the letter that follows the letter G or C.
(10 minutes)
  • Write a new set of words on the whiteboard that include: circus, candle, cent, coat, germ, giraffe, glass, good. Point to one of the words you wrote on the whiteboard and ask the students to help you identify whether the word has a hard or soft sound. Circle the hard sounds and underline the soft sounds.
  • Pass out a whiteboard and dry erase marker to each student.
  • Ask the students to write each word on their board and circle the letters that have a hard sound and underline the letters that have soft sounds.
  • Go over each word by reading it chorally with the class and circle the hard sounds and underline the soft sounds on the whiteboard.
(20 minutes)
  • Project the worksheet titled Consonants: Hard or Soft? and go over the instructions with the class. Then have the students complete the worksheet independently.


  • During the independent Consonants: Hard or Soft? activity, group students who need additional support with a partner or gather in a small group and work together with the teacher or aide to complete the activity.


  • Ask students to go on “hard or soft” hunt to find words that contain the hard and soft sounds of C and G. Give students a clipboard and pencil and ask them to search through a variety of books and record the words they find. More advanced students can use the words from their hunt to write their own story.
(5 minutes)

Collect the Consonants: Hard or Soft? worksheets and assess whether students were able to correctly sort each word by its corresponding sound.

(5 minutes)

After the 20 minutes of independent work time has concluded, ask students to return to the rug and pass their worksheets to the teacher. Review the worksheet as a whole class. Discuss student questions as needed. Close by saying, “Hard and soft sounds can be tricky, but if we remember that if the letter after the c or g is an i, e, or y then the g or c will most likely make the soft sound, and if the letter after the g or c is any other letter, it will most likely make the hard sound then we’ll be able to remember how to pronounce the word.”

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