Need individual or small group activities? Homework ideas? Whole class games? Let’s focus on phonics and get you some ideas you can put into use right away.
You have a lot to cover when you focus on phonics, so today, I have some ideas specifically for CVC words and blends. (But scroll down to the end if you need ideas for other phonics skills.)
Focus on phonics game: I spy with my little eye
Try playing ‘I-spy’ with CVC words. Pick an item in the classroom, such as the mat. Then say: “I spy with my little eye a m-a-t.” Your students need to then blend the sounds together to tell you the item.
To help students hear the word when doing oral blending, hold each of the sounds a little bit longer and don’t have a pause between each sound. You can add more pause and decrease the hold on sounds as students get better at hearing these sounds.
What else can you use in this game? Of course not everything in your room is a CVC word, but you’ll likely find plenty of things including hat and/or cap, pen, mug or cup, sun (in a picture or out the window), map, and Tom (or another child with a CVC name like Tim, Dan, or Liv).
You can easily adapt this game to focus on blends. After you introduce blends, play the same game using words like desk, mats, belt, hand, cups, or plant.
Focus on phonics tools: Fluency boards
Create a fluency board using CVC or blend words. You can target particular sounds (m—man, mop, mat, mug, map OR nk—blank, tank, stink, think, bunk) or use words students are learning. Print the words on a single sheet of paper or write them on a whiteboard.
Ask your students to read the words aloud while you time them. They should read each row of words and keep going. If they finish, they should start at the top again. Time as they read for 30 seconds. Record or have them record how many words they read in the allotted time. Try this again with the same words to see if students have improved.
Focus on phonics group activity: Find the missing sound
Write a CVC word on the board, leaving out one sound. For example, write d __ g. Then say the word dog, making each sound clear and distinct. Have students fill in the missing sound. Use different words to give many students a chance to fill in the missing letter. You can also do this with a smaller group by writing the words on small whiteboards. Each person could try to fill in the missing letter at the same time. Another variation involves using pictures and a partial word and having students identify the word and then write the missing sounds.
You can easily adapt this activity to practice blends. Simply choose words that include a blend and leave out one of the key letters.
Focus on phonics: Sound change train
Here’s another quick game that allows you to practice sound changes. Start by writing on the board a word, such as pan. Then circle or underline one of the sounds in that word.
Select a student to change that sound to a new one to make a new word, then write that word down. For example, if a was underlined, the student might write pin or pen or pun.
Circle or underline a sound to be changed in the new word. Continue until everyone has a turn.
My students have had lots of fun with these activities, while getting good phonics practice. What’s your favorite CVC or blend activity?
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