Learn all about teaching Soft C and Soft G sounds! Review the rule for when the letters G and C will say their soft sounds (C says /s/ and G says /j/), and grab a FREE Gentle Cindy anchor chart to display and add to your students’ phonics notebooks!
All About Soft C and Soft G
The soft sound of the letters C and G is the second sound we introduce to students, usually mid-first grade. It is the less common sound that these letters make. The rule is the same for when G and C will say their soft sounds.
👉 Rule for Soft G & Soft C: The Letters C and G will say their soft sounds when followed by the letters E, I, or Y.
- C will say /s/ like city.
- G will say /j/ like gem.
Soft C Word Examples:
Soft G Word Examples:
How to Teach Soft C and G
The Orton Gillingham-trained fellow that I trained with first introduced me to Gentle Cindy a few years back.
Gentle Cindy is essentially a visual image that helps students remember the rules for the Soft sound of C and G. Just listen to her name:
Gentle Cindy: Gentle makes the soft G sound – /j/. Cindy makes the soft C sound – /s/.
Not only does her name help us, but her face does too! Her eyes are actually the letter E, her nose is the letter I, and her mouth is the letter Y.
👌 This visual clearly reinforces the rule for Soft C and G: When followed by the letters E, I, or Y, the letters C and G will say their soft sounds.
Download your FREE Gentle Cindy Poster below.
Print in color to display or in black and white and let students color it in!!
👩🏼 Gentle Cindy as a Visual Aid
I always start by telling my students about how I’m going to draw a picture of the most beautiful girl in the world. Her name is Gentle Cindy.
After I quickly draw a face and hair, I make her eyes as the letter e, her nose as the letter i, and her mouth as the letter y. I then talk about how fancy she is and how she has monogrammed earrings and jeans – G and C.
I ask what they notice about Gentle Cindy, because some of her facial features are a little strange. Kids should point out how she has the letters E, I, and Y on her face. I then explain that we can remember the vowels that make the C and G say their soft sounds by looking at Gentle Cindy’s face.
This gets the rule across in a very visual and memorable way, and the students LOVE it. We have to make phonics instruction FUN whenever we can!
👉 Use my Soft C and G word list to examples of words to show how C + E, I, or Y make the /s/ sound, and C + E, I, or Y make the /k/ sound.
👉 Have students practice drawing their own versions of Gentle Cindy in their phonics notebooks. We draw Gentle Cindy, write the rules, and write examples of Soft C and G words.
By the end of the week, I give the kids a Gentle Cindy Quiz. I hand kids blank paper and they must draw their own versions of Gentle Cindy (or Gentleman Caesar, because he’s always an option too!) I’m always amazed because every child shows mastery on this fun quiz! It’s actually quite easy for them to remember.
We continue practicing throughout the week with lots of word reading, decodable sentence and passage reading, and word and sentence dictation practice.
We also use Soft C and Soft G word sorts to help kids tell the difference between the two sounds in words.
Kids typically need a lot of practice with this skill, so providing multiple opportunities for repeated exposure and practice is important.
Soft C and G Anchor Chart
- For classroom use, we recommend enlarging the Gentle Cindy Anchor Chart and printing in color.
- For individual use, print the black and white versions to include in their phonics notebooks. Kids enjoy making the anchor chart individualized with their own creativity.
- Once you’ve taught the soft sounds of C and G, be sure you add the graphemes to your sound wall. Displaying the Gentle Cindy Anchor chart nearby is a great idea!
- All About R-Controlled Vowels
- Consonant+LE Read & Match Worksheet
- All About Word Ladders
- Free Heart Word Resources
🖨Download & Print
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