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All About Hard G and Soft G Words: Free Worksheet

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Did you know the letter G can make two sounds? Learn all about the two sounds that G can make: /g/ like gate and /j/ like gem. You’ll also get teaching tips and word lists too! Then grab a FREE word sort for students to practice the Soft G and Hard G sounds.

Whiteboard with hard G and soft G sound sounds, words, rules, sample Soft G sorting worksheet.

All About Hard and Soft G

The letter G can make two sounds:

  1. /g/ like gate
  2. /j/ like gem

👆🏼 The first sound of G, the /g/ sound (like gate), is the sound we introduce in pre-k and kindergarten. We call this the hard sound.

This is the most common sound of the letter and is represented in over 1300 English words.

✌🏼 The second sound of G, the /j/ sound (like gem), is called the soft sound. This is the same sound that the letter J says. Over 700 words include this sound.

Most phonics program introduce the hard sound first, then introduce soft sounds in first grade. It is usually introduced after all letters a-z, floss, blends, digraphs, and long vowels. Learn about Hard and Soft C, too!

Soft G Rule

How do we know whether a word has a soft G or hard G sound? Well, all we have to do is look at the letter that comes right after it!

👉 Soft G Rule: When the letter G is followed by an E, I, or Y, it will usually say it’s soft sound – /j/

👉 Hard G Rule: If the letter after the G is not an E, I, or Y, the G will usually say its hard sound – /g/.

Visual with the difference between hard G and soft G with rules, pictures, and example words.

Soft G Words

The most common words that include a Soft G sound:

  • large
  • energy
  • gem
  • gentle
  • page
  • strange
  • age
  • George
  • village
  • general
  • giant
  • danger
  • magic
  • message
  • engine
  • stage
  • orange
  • cage
  • Virginia
  • original
  • voyage
  • vegetable
  • language
Elkonin box printable with the word gem spelled out.
Use Sound Boxes for multisensory practice!

Teaching Tips

You can introduce Soft C and G together since the rules are exactly the same! Use our FREE anchor chart and coloring sheet for Soft C and G. Then, spend a few days working on each one separately.

I usually teach Soft C first, since there are less exceptions to the rule. Why? Because when you need to use a hard C sound, you can use the letter K. Since we don’t have any other letters that represent Hard G, sometimes we have a word that breaks the rule. Some common rule breakers include: get, girl, give, and begin.

Students will need explicit teaching that the hard /g/ sound should NOT be changed when adding a suffix to a base word. When adding a suffix that begins with I, E, or Y, the hard /g/ maintains it’s hard sound.

For example:

  • bug ➡ bugged
  • dog ➡ doggie
  • rage ➡ raging
  • twig ➡ twiggy

Another thing to explicitly teach is this fun fact: When the /j/ sound is at the end of a word, it will always be a g with a silent e. When mapping words with /j/ at the end, be sure kids include the silent E in the same sound box as the G.

Once you’ve taught the Soft G sound, be sure to add the letter G under the /J/ phoneme on your sound wall. Students will now know the two ways to spell /j/.

Collage showing the cut and paste Hard & Soft G worksheet completed.

Soft G Worksheet

Download this FREE worksheet designed to help kids learn how to distinguish between hard and soft G words. All you’ll need is a highlighter, glue, and scissors.

This is the perfect activity for kids to notice the vowels that make the letter G say it’s soft or hard sound!

We love it because it forces kids to locate the letter G and see which letter follows. Then they must apply the rule to read the word accurately.

Students cut and sort the words into the appropriate columns, clearly showing which sound the G makes. Kids can read and re-read for fluency!

Looking for more? Get our decodable sentences that include over 62 phonics concepts, including Soft G!

Related Posts

Whiteboard with hard G and soft G sound sounds, words, rules, sample Soft G sorting worksheet.

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