Phonics Activities

A variety of phonics activities will teach and reinforce reading skills.

Simple Reading Strategy

1. Use phonic word families to teach words in groups.
These can include simple endings such as OR it could include more complex words such as

2. Teach irregular or phonetically difficult words as sight words.
When you come across words that are common but have difficult phonic rules, it works well to teach them as sight words. Tell the sudent what the word is. Teach them to spell it. Have them practice reading it.

3. Some sight words and phonics families are closely related.
Many of the words in the dolch list (which is the most common sight word list used) are words that are also taught in beginning phonic lessons.

When possible, teach sight words in groups. It may be hard to explain to a first grader the "phonic rules" of

Thus these types of words are often taught as sight words. But teach words with similar patterns as a group.

It is far easier to learn those three irregular words together than separately.

Getting Started

Phonic Word Families:
Prepare lists of related words by writing them in a vertical list. The lists can be on a strip of paper or in a notebook.
Develop each list with about three to five words. For example: Later, you may add more difficult words to this list. Such as:

Sight Words:
When you come across a common word with a phonetically complex spelling, it often works best to teach it as a sight word.

Now, I will mention that the term "sight words" means different things to different people. In this case, I simply mean show them the word, have them read it, have them write it, and continue to expose them to that word through repetition. There are numerous words that are needed in order to read simple sentences that are commonly taught in this way. Here are some examples:

Make flash cards of common sight words from index cards. You can either teach words in a particular order determined by a curriculum you buy, or you may teach them in the order you find you need them as students begin reading simple sentences.

You may also print our free flashcards for kindergarten words, or 1st grade words, or second grade words.

There are different games and phonics activities that can be done with your sight word cards and word family lists.

Word Games and Phonics Activities

Roll and Read and Write

Have your phonic word lists in a notebook or on strips. Choose two different lists with different word families. Have the student roll a dice, and count down the words on the first page until they get to that number. Repeat with the second page. The student needs to think of a sentence with those two words. You can write the sentence together, letting the students write the words they have already learned.

Three Minute Stack

Have a stack of cards of words they have learned. Use a timer and see how many they can read in three minutes. Review the ones that took longer for them to read.

Alphabetize My Word Cards

Have the student choose five different word cards without looking at the words. Put them in alphabetical order (once this skill is introduced.)

Phonics Find

4. Make a strip writing the alphabet vertically. It would look like this:

You can also include consonant blends and diphthongs when they are learned:

Write word families across a small piece of paper. For instance: Give the student the word family and have them find which letters will make a word. This activity naturally leads to some misspelled words:

Spelling Tower

Have an oral "spelling bee" with words the student has learned previously. For each word they spell correctly give them a block to make a tower. You can use connecting beads, dominoes, pennies or any other object as a reinforcement.

Mother May I

Play a variation of Mother-May-I. Have the student read through one list of phonic word families. If they get all the words correct, they get to take a giant step; starting at one wall and progressing towards the wall at the end of the room or hallway.

Alternatively, if you have blocks on your kitchen tiles, they can step from block to block.

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Read more Fun Reading Activities to reinforce reading and phonics skills

Ready To Use Resources

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