Last week I shared math skills games to end homework battles. Making homework easier for students and parents is one thing, but you deserve a break too! Today we’re turning from math skills to phonics, and as always, I want to keep it positive and fun for your students without crazy making for you.
As a new teacher, I didn’t really get the importance of phonics. As I learned more about teaching reading and writing, I discovered that teaching phonics and giving kids lots of practice is essential. Using a variety of activities and games instead of endless drilling helps students master key skills they need for reading and spelling and enjoy it.
Activities to make phonics homework easier
Here are two activities that you can use in class or as a home practice. I suggest using them in class first so students know what they are doing, and then sending them home with instructions (I make that part easier too … keep reading!)
Tap it, map it, zap it (TMZ)
Tap it, map It, zap it (TMZ) helps students to first segment each sound in a word and then write the spellings that we use to represent those sounds.
Start by giving your students a word from your word list or from the type of word you are practicing. In this example, we’ll use little.
Here’s what you do:
Students tap a square as they say each sound in the word.
Students write the spellings for each sound as they say it. One sound for each square.
Finally, zap the word by writing the whole word at the end.
Often students have trouble spelling one part of the word, and this activity lets them focus in on that tricky part.
Reading fluency is the ability to read accurately, quickly and expressively. Fluency boards are a fabulous tool for developing fluency. Do you need to target particular words such as high frequency words or words students struggle with? Fluency boards work well in the classroom and at home.
I use a 20-square grid for fluency boards. You can use 20 different words or repeat words. I like to repeat words in a different order in each row for additional practice on a small group of words. Often the words are similar in some way—all CVC words or focusing on a particular digraph.
To use the fluency board, time your students for 30 seconds and see how many words they can read in that time. If they finish reading the board, then they read it again until the time is up. Get them to record how many words they read in the time. They can do similar practice at home.
More homework tools
Both TMZ and Fluency Boards work well in the classroom, but they can also easily be sent home for home practice. To make phonics homework easier—on you—I’ve put together a quick pack of worksheets and a home practice tracker. And stay tuned. I have more phonics homework help coming early next year!
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