After learning about Consonant Digraphs with short vowels at the end of the SOUND OUT WORDS section (II.c), and about Bossy R (III.b), it is time to learn about words that have BOTH! Words like…
I was inspired by Shark Week to put together a free set of activities that includes a worksheet, a word search, and a word sort. The words can be sorted two ways: by digraphs or by the Bossy R vowel. The SHARK CHART freebie is available to download at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.
When it comes to hands-on games to practice reading skills, a good mix includes Active games, Board games, and Card games. (For free online games for phonics, check out this Symbaloo.) This post contains ideas for each kind of hands-on game.
A. Word family toss (icanteachmychild) or roll through correct plastic tube into a bucket.
B. Word Family Treasure (free from Super Tutor Tools) Write word family endings onto the game board. Print cards with word families (flyingintolearning) to draw & match with the endings. Get extra treasure for spotting a rhyming pair. Printable treasure coins at Battle For Sight Words from Liz’s Early Learning Spot.
A. Blend target shoot. Write two different blends with dry erase marker on Solo plastic plates. Mix pictures for the two blends (from flyingintolearning below) to draw and throw a suction cup ball to hit the correct target.
A. Pick & Toss – Cut 3 equal size holes in a large box or trifold presentation board. Label the holes AI, EA, & OA. Print Marshmallow Match from thebubblegumtree & cut out the word cards. Take turns drawing a card & tossing a ball or beanbag through the correct hole. 1st one to match & toss all three targets wins.
C. Sight Word Sentence Shake: cut words in columns apart and put into a bottle. Shake a word from each bottle to make a sentence. (free at Super Tutor Tools)
SHORT, LONG, or BOSSY R
After learning about Silent e and Bossy R, click on the wheel below to practice the patterns! Make three columns on the top of a page, with the headings: SHORT, LONG, or BOSSY R. Take turns spinning the wheel to choose a column, then roll dice to choose a word. See who can make the longest list of words in 5 minutes.
This set of word sort games designed to go along with the Phonics Pow Toolkit is available as a free download. (link below) Word sorts are a tool for teaching reading skills that have been shown to be effective. We’ve got you covered! Print on cardstock, cut out, store in zip-lock bags, and play while learning.
Fill the phonogram card with one word card of each pattern for a quick game (player who fills card first wins), or use all the word cards for a longer game (player with the most word cards wins). Mix skip (the turn is skipped if drawn) and swipe (player can take a word card from the other player) cards in with word cards to add fun. POW!
Reading 20 minutes a day has been shown by research to have many benefits. Students who read 20 minutes a day from kindergarten through 6th grade are likely to score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests. Basically, reading makes you a smartie!
Below is a collection of great options for reading. Check your local library or a bookstore for books to target specific phonics skills, and explore the links below for books you can access anytime! Besides books and ebooks, your library may provide online access to resources like Bookflix from Scholastic – check with them.
This Symbaloo collection has links to many websites that provide books online. Some even include audio and/or video!
5. Play games that encourage literacy. Hands on games include traditional games like Boggle and Bananagrams, as well as many free printable games that can be found through links on specific phonics skills. Free online games are also available at this Symbaloo. The Mozilla Firefox browser may help with Flash games on mobile devices.
6. Read books to practice the patterns. The books from Progressive Phonics are free, fun, and practice the phonics patterns. They can be printed or read online.
7. Learn sight words. Many high frequency words are not decodable with phonics guidelines.
8. Encourage reading 20 minutes a day. Children who do this from Kindergarten through 6th grade score 90% better than their peers on tests. Check out more Benefits of reading.
9. Use your library. Attend storytimes, participate in summer reading programs, check out books & online resources. Choose fun books at the right level.
The sequence followed by different methods of teaching reading can vary. The Phonics Pow Toolkit is designed to help teachers teach, and students learn with a sensible sequence that builds on skills as they are learned. It is organized in five sections, with most sections having three parts (except the vowel pattern section, which has six). Color coding often provides clues, like the color RED (a CVC word with a short vowel) for the SOUND OUT WORDS section. As much as possible, one syllable words that include only patterns that have been learned are used until the final section.
Closed syllables often have a short vowel (with some exceptions). Open syllables have a long vowel sound, and are most often found in words with more than one syllable. However, there are some one syllable words that are open, like: he, me, we, no, go, and so. These are sight words that are frequently seen in written text, so introducing open and closed syllables with one syllable words is a good plan.
Blends are introduced next, with words that have a short vowel.
Consonant patterns are placed together in one section for convenience. Digraphs are a pair of letters that represent one sound. Consonant digraphs may be introduced with words that have a short vowel at the end of the SOUND OUT WORDS section. Many words with consonant digraphs have advanced vowel patterns that have not been introduced yet, so those are covered as patterns are learned.
The schwa sound is usually a quick and weak “uh” that can be made by any vowel. It is often found in words with more than one syllable. However, there are a few one syllable words with the schwa sound like: of, from, and was. At the end of the silent e section, more is learned with words like “love” and “gloves,” which make the schwa sound instead of being long. The idea of schwa is introduced as a way that vowels can vary.
Learning Vowel Patterns begins with Silent e, then Bossy R, followed by Diphthongs and Vowel Teams. Vowel digraphs or combinations are separated into those that often make a long vowel sound (vowel teams) and those that make mostly new sounds (diphthongs). When diphthongs are introduced first, many of the remaining combinations make a long vowel sound. However, this is not always reliable, and there are many exceptions to learn about, so they are the last vowel patterns to learn. The final section includes Consonant-le syllables and more work with multi-syllable words.
Phonics instruction that is systematic (presented in a logical sequence) and explicit (directly taught) has been shown by research to be beneficial in teaching reading. Learn more about the Phonics Pow Toolkit and how to be a super reading teacher.
One of the reasons that English is challenging to learn to read is that 26 letters make 44 sounds, called phonemes! This means that sometimes letters combine to make sounds. Phonograms are the written representation of a sound, also known as graphemes, and there are 72 phonograms.
The Phonogram Chart below is available free from the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.
There are lots of exceptions, so the “rules” are more like guidelines. With a few exceptions, the 21 consonants make one sound, so an alphabet chart represents a lot of them. Things begin to get interesting with the vowels, which can be short, or long, or make new sounds.
The first focus in learning to read is on the short vowels. Long vowels say the letter name, while short vowels say the sound. Short vowels are found in words with closed syllables, like those formed by a consonant-vowel-consonant known as CVC words (as in cat and dog).
Next, learn about silent e; an e at the end of a word (except two e’s are like twins that often like to stick together) changes the vowel to the long sound.
Continue with Bossy R: an r after each vowel changes the sound it makes.
Now we are beginning to get into advanced phonics code.
Two letters can work together. Sometimes they make new sounds, like the consonant digraphs CH, SH, TH, WH & NG. (PH can make the /f/ sound)
Vowels can also work together; some can make new sounds, and some (often) make a long vowel sound. Diphthongs are (mostly) vowels that work together to make (mostly) new sounds.
One sound can be represented in different ways. Many of the diphthongs are like this: OI & OY make the same sound, as do OU & OW (although OW can also make a long O sound), and OU has many variations. AU & AW make the same sound as a short O.
One letter or set of letters can make more than one sound. OO & OO is just one example!
Once the diphthong patterns are learned, many of the remaining vowel teams are often (but not always) long.
2 letters that work together, some vowels work as a team. 2 letters can work together, and the first one likes to speak. They might be long (except the diphthongs!), here are some you may have seen.
This part of the chart includes Tricky Y, which can sometimes be a vowel that makes the long I sound, and sometimes the long E sound. Once again, one sound can be represented in different ways.
When all of these phonics patterns are put together, the result is a one page vowel chart that represents many of the vowel sounds.
This plan to follow for tutoring students learning to read was Inspired by Phonics Intervention from Sarah’s First Grade Snippets. The amount of time spent on different activities varies depending on the needs of the student. The assessments at the end of this post help know where to start. These activities can begin once letter names and sounds have been learned.
Build words (with a magnetic whiteboard and letters, or online magnetic letters from goteachthis.com) Say a word, “how many sounds do you hear? What is the first sound? Etc.” The student uses letter tiles to build it, then writes it.
Learning to read isn’t an easy skill to master, and it takes time and practice. But sometimes practicing the skills needed for reading can be fun! Many websites provide free online games that make learning more fun. However, it is not always easy to find games that target a specific phonics skill. The games in … Continue reading “Fun Online Phonics Games”
Learning to read isn’t an easy skill to master, and it takes time and practice. But sometimes practicing the skills needed for reading can be fun! Many websites provide free online games that make learning more fun. However, it is not always easy to find games that target a specific phonics skill. The games in this post are targeted to practice the skills needed to understand the 44 sounds of the English language.
Please note that many of the games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download Mozilla Firefox. Sadly, Flash will reach end of life at the end of 2020. Some more mobile friendly games are collected at this Symbaloo. More online games at these Symbaloo collections.
abcya.com – a teacher-created website that provides fun and educational games for kids. Pre-K through 5th grade, and includes games for learning letters (also numbers and more) It is free for use on pcs (ads) and can be obtained for mobile or tablet use with a subscription.
arcademics.com – arcademic skill builders are free online educational video games that offer a powerful approach to learning basic math, language arts, vocabulary and thinking skills. These are highly engaging and some are multi-player. Apps are available for both Android and iOS.
Skillswise – provided by the British Broadcasting Corporation, this website includes a section of English Games. There is lots more about reading, writing, and math for higher levels.
softschools.com – provides many resources for free, including Phonics plus other resources. A premium subscription is available that removes ads and lets teachers set up student account to track progress.
starfall.com – provides some free content on phonics aimed at early grade levels, with expanded content available for a subscription. Starfall classic, free app is available.
turtlediary.com – provides many resources for free on PC only. Premium subscription removes ads and allows mobile play. app is available
Too many people struggle with learning to read. Low literacy levels often lead to limited opportunities for employment, according to literacy statistics at Phonics Facts. Make a difference by sharing the resources at Phonics Pow to help others teach reading.