Phonics is the back bone of almost all reading instruction. As a teacher of young primary students, we spend countless hours of the school year teaching phonics skills. We’ve come up with some fun phonics activities and resources you can add to your large phonics instruction toolbox.
- Make a Match – Using a die cut machine, create 26 pairs of objects and write the uppercase and lowercase of each letter of the alphabet. Students can play in pairs or groups to “make matches”.
- Pancake Flip – Cut out 5-10 brown circles and write the letters that you are currently working on in class (may want to do 3-4 circles for each letter). Using a spatula, students “flip” over the circles and say the letter name.
- Letter Game Board – Print out a couple of free game board templates. Fill in the blank spaces with letters that you are working on. Find a die and a couple of cubes or other math manipulative items and students can play a letter identification game.
- Play Dough Mats – Give your tactile students a chance to roll out play dough and model the letters of the alphabet. We have a great center with the mats already created, and they also have a chance to practice writing the letters. Just print, laminate and go!
Adding Consonant/Vowel Sounds
- Picture Sorting Mats – using picture cards that you have on hand, create sorting mats for the letter sounds you are studying. Students will sort pictures that begin (or end) with that particular letter sound. We have a set of Picture Sorting Mats for you!
- Roll a Word – Have students sit in a circle. Using the letter sounds you are currently working on, flip over a letter card. You start with the ball and roll it to a student who has to say a word that begins with that sound. They then roll the ball to a new student who says another word and so on. When they can no longer come up with words, move on to a new letter sound. This is a great activity to do outside if weather permits!
- Magazine/Newspaper Ad Scavenger Hunt – Students will go through old magazines and newspapers, searching for pictures that begin with a given letter sound.
- Letter/Sound Crowns – We have all the letters on these lovely crowns! Students can identify the letter by circling it, practice writing it, and identify pictures that begin with that sound. They also get to wear their hard work home on their head with pride!
- Building Word Mats – Begin with a variety of CVC picture cards. Students flip over a picture card and using foam letters or magnetic letters, they build the CVC word. Lastly, they have to record the word either on a recording sheet, or on a whiteboard.
- Spoon Match Word Families – Using plastic spoons and note cards, write a variety of beginning consonant sounds on the back of the plastic spoons and word families on the note cards. Students grab a word family, lay it down and then continue grabbing spoons to create words. They are only to record the “real” words on their paper. 😉
- Mixed Up CVC Packages – Write a variety of CVC words on sentence strips. (I use colored strips, so that students can keep the pieces in the correct containers.) Cut the letters in each word apart and put each word in a separate container. (plastic snack bags, baby food containers, envelopes, eggs, or any other small container you may have on hand) Students will open one container at a time and put the word together, then record it on their accountability page.
- CVC Puzzles – Here is a quick resource that we have already created where students can match the puzzle pieces to build CVC words using pictures. It is ready to go… just copy, laminate and cut apart. (I recommend copying each word family on a different color, so students are easily able to sort them apart.)
- Beginning Blends Crowns – Just like the letter/sound crowns from above, we also have a set of crowns specific to beginning blends. Students are able to practice writing the blend and identifying pictures that begin with that particular blend.
- Ending Blend Detectives – Students can “Write the Room” by using a recording sheet and ending blend cards that you place around the classroom. Write the ending blends on separate note cards (-mp, -st, -ft, -sk, -nd, -nk). I would recommend making at least two cards of each blend, so that students are more spread out. Give them a chart with the blends along the top. When they find a “blend card”, they record at least one word with that blend, then move on to look for another card.
- Roll a Beginning Blend – Using cubes (I like to use dry erase cubes), write a beginning blend on each cube face. As students roll and come up with a blend, they will need to write down a word with that blend.
- Ending Blend Write and Wipe Cards – This is a quick to use resource that we have already created. Students identify and circle the correct ending blend using the picture clue. Then they practice writing the word on the line below. Copy, laminate, and cut all for only $2.00!!!
- Beginning Blend Puzzles – With this fun and easy center, students connect pictures that begin with a certain beginning blend to the blend itself. Once the puzzle is complete, the students practice tracing that particular blend. You can always take this center a step further and have your students try to write the words that correspond to the pictures in each puzzle.
So I know that many sight words don’t follow any Phonics rules (which is so hard for our emergent readers to understand). Nevertheless, they are an integral part of reading instruction, so am adding a few learning activities for sight words also. 😉
- HFW Memory – Make some die cut shapes, or use calendar cut-outs and write pairs of sight words on them. (I recommend choosing about 10 words that your class is currently working on.) The students lay the shapes word side down and playing with a partner, they try to make matches with the sight words. In order to keep the pair of words, they have to be READ CORRECTLY.
- Build, Write, Read – Create a Power Point that has at least 10 sight words. Put one sight word on each slide. Students will have magnetic, foam, or plastic letters to “build” the sight word they see. Then, they “write” the word either on paper or a whiteboard. Lastly, they “read” the word aloud. This can be a center or whole group activity.
- Partner Poster Words – On a large piece of chart paper, write a variety of sight words. Then, leave a pointer stick by the chart paper for students to practice playing “teacher” with a partner. While working with a partner, one student will point to the words while the other reads them. They would then switch jobs and play again.
- Sight Word Paint/Practice – These are great sheets for your students to use as added practice! Students get to practice reading, tracing, and writing each of the first 300 sight words on the Fry’s list. There is also a fun spot where students can use Q-tips and paint to “dot” each word! It’s a fun and engaging resource!
Finally, you can tie all of these components together when practicing fluency. Here are a few items you can use to practice.
- Leveled Readers – Have your students practice their differentiated readers as often as possible. The more opportunities they have to read the same text, the more fluent they will become. When they aren’t having to work on decoding words, they can add voices to text and bring the story to life.
- Fluency Passages – We offer a wide variety of fluency passages based on different phonics skills. Students have recording boxes on the bottom of each page to record how many words they read in one minute and how many, if any, errors they make. These are great to either use in class so students can track their progress, or send home for weekly fluency homework.
- Comprehension Sticks – On large popsicle sticks, write a variety of generic comprehension questions. (Who are the main characters? What is the problem in the story? How would you change the ending of the story?) During centers, place the cup of sticks, and when students are done reading a story, they can pull a stick or two and write out their responses to the questions.
-Written by Janessa Fletcher
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