Phonics Kit

The Phonics Toolkit is now available at Teachers Pay Teachers. Transform students into super readers with memorable introductions to patterns with fun rhymes, 16 games,  24 worksheets, 11 word sorts and more. Learn more about the Phonics Toolkit and get your copy today! Designed to be portable, inexpensive to create, and easy to use, it provides many resources for learning phonics skills.

Once your kit is set up, add some of the resources from others that are compiled here. Many of these are provided free for personal or classroom use by the websites in the links. A magnet board and magnetic letters are a great addition for practicing words.

You may also want to check out 10 Steps to Reading, which includes links to my favorite free online resources for learning phonics. There is a downloadable pdf version.

Each post below includes videos, printable games, and online games to learn the concept as well. Many online games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Puffin browser. They are collected in one place here at Symbaloo.

Materials:

Option 1: Use a binder notebook with dividers, zip-lock bags for the sorts, and a separate binder for the games. Keep it all in a tote bag.

Option 2: Use a separate plastic pronged folder with pockets for each concept or pattern. Keep the folders in a plastic Sterlite file bin.

For the word sorts:

  • Card stock for printing some of the activities.
  • Plastic zip-lock bags from the hobby area, 2″x 3″ are great for holding the sort cards. They can be kept in larger zip-lock bags, or punched with a hole punch and added onto the prongs of the folders.

For the kit:

  • Binders -OR-
  • Plastic pronged folders with pockets. These are about anywhere for around .50 each.
  • Sterlite plastic file bin & hanging folders
  • Transparent plastic bingo chips in assorted colors are great as markers for games and other uses. They can be found at Oriental Trading Company, or I found mine at Mardel.

The materials in the kit and compiled here are designed to practice spotting different patterns. There are lots of sorts to do, games to play, and things to read. For the sorts, you can use containers like Athenos feta cheese or these hardware containers. Add frog eyes from tes, and use name tag holders as pockets to change the pattern for the sort you are working on.

ScrewContainer1 screwcontainer2

For a portable kit, pockets can be made from 10.5 oz candy packages, which fold flat for transporting, but stand up for sorts. I taped a file cabinet graphic on the front of mine and attached name tag holders. It was such a sacrifice to eat all that candy, but anything for the cause of literacy!

Create a section or folder for each of the topics below.

PHONICS BASICS

26 letters amaze and astound! They make 44 sounds when they move around! These resources can go into a student folder as well as in front of the binder or file box.

  1. Phonics Basics
  2. Short Vowels
  3. Silent e
  4. Bossy R
  5. Digraphs
  6. Diphthongs – Vowel Teams with (mostly) new sounds
  7. Vowel Teams
  8. Letters With More Than One Sound
    • Consonants that vary: Hard & Soft C & G, C & K
    • Vowels that vary: Tricky Y
  9. English is Weird: Schwa & Sight Words
  10. Syllables : Open & Closed | Consonant -le

PHONICS RESOURCES FROM THE DAILY PLANIT

Free:

  • Bookmark Set Freebie – These bookmarks include Write the Pattern activities for many Phonics Patterns.
  • Pattern Chart Set Freebie – These can be used as sort mats, posters, or printed on business cards for other sorts. Credits: Some artwork copyrighted by Mark A Hicks, illustrator, www.MARKiX.net. Used with permission. Sources for other graphics at Pinterest.

PatternCharts

The Super Tutor Tools Store at Teachers Pay Teachers has many resources I’ve created for tutoring reading. Most have a small charge, but there are a few freebies there too.

For even more resources, check out:

A Phonics Kit provides tools for learning reading skills.

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Posted in phonics

The ABCs of Games For Reading

The ABCs of Games for Reading

Active Games, Board Games, and Card Games

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. For more ideas, check out the Phonics Kit post.

Alphabet

Phonemic Awareness

Short Vowels (CVC words)

Word Families

Blends

  • 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. 
  • B. Picture blend (flyingintolearning) match onto chart (thisreadingmama)
  • C. Initial Blends go fish (Adrian Bruce)

Silent e

Bossy R

Digraphs -H bros

Diphthongs (vowel teams that make new sounds)

Vowel Teams that are often long

  • 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.
  • B. Nice Dice Vowel Teams
  • C. Vowel Pattern Yahtzee

Sight Words

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.

 

ShortLongBossyR

You can also download a worksheet. It can be printed on cardstock and the words cut apart for a word sort.

Get many of the board games from the Daily PlanIt in one bargain kit, plus 24 worksheets, 11 word sorts, and more. Learn more about the Phonics Toolkit and get your copy today!

 

Posted in phonics

Incentives for Reading

The statistics below paint a graphic picture of the importance of literacy.

Two thirds of students who can’t read proficiently by the end of 4th grade end up in jail or on welfare…and 37% of fourth graders cannot read at the basic level.

Statistics from: Begin to Read Literacy Statistics & Pennsylvania Department of Education

Why reading 20 minutes a day is important

Students who read 20 minutes a day from Kindergarten through 6th grade score in the 90th percentile on tests, as the graphic below from edudemic illustrates.

Basically, reading makes you a Smartie!

There are many more benefits of reading too: It’s good for your brain, reduces stress, income is higher, and you even live longer. “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry Truman. “5 ways reading makes you a better leader” at michaelhyatt.com

The value of incentives and rewards for reading (or anything) can be debated. However, providing feedback on progress and explaining why reading is important can be beneficial. Here are some ideas for a simple incentive program to encourage reading and playing phonics games to increase literacy skills.

DOWNLOAD Bookmarks

READ bookmarks: each day that you read 20 minutes, color or punch a star on the READ bookmark. 5 stars = 1 gold (chocolate or token) coin. 1 full bookmark (4 gold coins – 20 days of 20 minutes of reading) = 1 book buck.

PLAY bookmarks to earn Extra Credit: Each day that you play a phonics game, color or punch a star on the PLAY bookmark. 1 full bookmark (20 stars/20 days) = 1 gold (chocolate or token) coin.

Please note that many online phonics games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Puffin browser. Free online phonics games are collected in one place here at Symbaloo.

Bookbucks from imaginationsoup.net.

A bulletin board like this one with student names and how many bookbucks have been earned might encourage more reading too. Another option is a thermometer chart to track class progress posting the total number of minutes read within a time period. Set a goal and have a class party when it is reached.

How about modifying this idea from Crayons & Cuties in Kindergarten to celebrate learning 100 sight words?

Post a list of prizes and how many Book Bucks they cost. Here are some ideas for prizes:

  • Non-candy: READ Pencils, READ bracelets, Notepads, Magnetic bookmarks, Alphabetimals coloring book, Target bargains like these Dr. Seuss bags, Library card socks…more ideas are at my Library & Books Pinterest Board.
  • Super Reader – anything with a Superman theme: can coosies, socks, etc.
  • Books: Feed Me Words, books by Brian P Cleary, or any you choose.
  • Literacy Games for about $15: Boggle Jr, Word Spin, Bananagrams

The statistics show that improved literacy skills lead to a better life. Learn more about how to create a phonics kit for teaching reading.

 

Posted in phonics

7 Work Smarter Principles

Great At Work: How Top Performers Work Less and Achieve More, Morten Hansen

I recently finished “Great at Work” by Morten T Hansen, who illustrates with examples and research 7 principles for working smarter. I was most interested in the first part of the book, which covers mastering your own work. The second part involves working with others, and a final part is about work/life balance. Here are my notes on the book.

  1. Do less, then obsess. Identify high value priorities and focus on those. Occam’s Razor: seek the simplest solution-as few as you can, as many as you must. *This principle is important for work/life balance.
  2. Redesign work. Add activities that create value, stop or reject those that don’t. Pursue value instead of goals: there’s a great table with examples of how value creation differs from goals. Redesign for value: Value =benefits to others x quality x efficiency. Quality=accurate, reliable, novel. Efficiency=doing things right. (see this Peter Drucker quote)
  3. Don’t just learn, loop. Try experiments, measure the outcome, get feedback, modify based on the results.
  4. P-Squared-tap into passion and purpose. Match excitement and enthusiasm with contribution to society. Both are needed for high performance. *This principle is important for job satisfaction.
  5. Forceful champions-advocate by evoking emotions with stories of impact. Use smart grit to gain insight into the concerns of opposition, design strategies to overcome the concerns, then persevere in the face of difficulty.
  6. Fight & Unite-Have effective meetings, commit to decisions.
  7. Two sins of collaboration: failing to, and over-collaboration. To be disciplined: know when to and why, What’s the Benefit? Know the common goal, reward results, not activities. Trust boosters: verify, start small, clarify & educate, bond w/team exercises.

Further Reading:

Posted in Books, goals, productivity

Annual Review Toolkit

PlannerTabs

The Annual Review Toolkit contains 27 printable tools in a 30 page pdf to create a binder with everything you need to stay on top of regular reviews and on target with goals that align with your values. It includes Productivity Tools for a System & Routine, Goal Tools for Review, Brand & Purpose Tools for Focus. It gathers many of my best resources in one place together with the steps for an annual review.

An Annual Review Binder includes:

See the full contents of what is included. Available free for a limited time, grab yours now before this offer goes away!

DOWNLOAD The Annual Review Toolkit pdf

Posted in goals, productivity

Review of Books Read in 2017

2017Books

I recently read “Mind Hacking” by Sir John Hargrave. I enjoyed this look at changing the mind from the viewpoint of a computer programmer with proven “geek” cred. Throughout the book there are mind experiments that virtually gamify mental change. In the spirit of open source and collaboration, the author provides the book free online as well as for purchase. There are links to both at www.gitbook.com/book/jhargrave/mind-hacking/details, plus a free app.

The hacking process includes:

Analyzing – We can change our mental loops. This section of the book is about becoming more aware of where the attention is, eliminating distractions, and retraining attention with meditation.

Imagining – This section talks about thought experiments and exploring the mind to expand what is possible. “Imagination is hard mental work” but everything that is created is imagined first.

Reprogramming – The author talks about the power of writing things down (“Until it’s on paper, it’s vapor”), and how mental simulations (aka vizualizations) can help athletes improve performance. He describes agile development, where a minimum viable product is released and then improved upon. He suggests using LASER subgoals that are: Limited, Achievable, Specific, Evaluated, and Repeatable for improved focus.

Many of the books that I read in the past year were Screen & Page Reads. I wrote one post referring to “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind,” by Vishen Lakhiani: End Goals Lead to a Meaningful Journey.

My favorite fiction book this year was by far “Last Days of Night” by Graham Moore. Set in the days of the discovery of electricity, and based on fact, this is the story of the competition between Westinghouse and Edison to be the dominant force. I found it fascinating!

 

Posted in Books

Letters With More Than One Sound

When the same letters make more than one sound, you really know that English is Weird.

CONSONANTS

The letters C and G can make hard or soft sounds.

C is hard before A, O & U. With the others, a soft C will do.

HardSoftC2

G is often hard before A, O & U. With the others, a soft G will often do.

HardSoftG

(But this is not always true, which you know if you get a gift given to you!)

When the K sound is heard at the beginning of a word:

K takes i & e, C takes the other three.

K&C2

When the K sound is heard at the end of a word:

A CK is often needed after a vowel that is short. The K needs help to make it work.

KorCK

Artwork copyrighted by Mark A. Hicks, illustrator, www.MARKiX.net. Used with permission.

With a consonant between it is a new task, it takes just a k so remember to ask. Drink milk, dunk a basket, or honk at an elk: the consonant means there is only a k.

Don’t panic, but there’s one more thing to see. Some two syllable words with a short I only need c. (like a picnic in the attic, it’s a little like magic.)

The rest of the time, a k is just fine. For words with bossy r, and vowel teams that are long or diphthongs, a k on it’s own will park. (The beak of a hawk, a look at a book, a weak croak from a throat, a stork with a fork, a dog that will bark.)

A set of anchor charts, and worksheets and word sorts for the /k/ sound at the beginning and end of words is available at TeachersPayTeachers. Learn more about spelling the K sound from thisreadingmama, and WATCH ck at Kids vs Phonics.

Note that many online games require flash and may not work well on mobile devices. Downloading the Puffin browser can be helpful.

PLAY ONLINE Picture Palace from literactive.

The letter S can also make more than one sound. S can say snake, probably everyone knows. It can also say /z/ when a nose smells a rose.

VOWELS

We have met OO/OO, one of the diphthongs. Which might be short, or could be long. More vowels that can vary are OW, EA, IE. The letter Y can be Tricky indeed with the sounds it can make, up to three.

2Sounds

Y at the end of a one syllable word, often says a long “I” as in fly.

FlyI

R controlled vowels may be trickiest of all…but I forgot to mention that A can say short O like in watch or in ball. The Sounds of A Worksheet/Word Sort is available at TeachersPayTeachers.

AlikeO

AR can sound like ER, as in pillar or dollar. So can OR, when you start your motor. When there is an E before AR all bets are off. It might be ER when you learn, or maybe a long e that you hear. It can even be a polar bear on a chair.

Last, but not least of all, is the amazing schwa. Any vowel can make this lazy “uh” sound, so watch out for schwas all around!

SchwaCard

These guidelines may help you to figure out the many sounds you will discover all about.

Teach reading skills using hands-on, fun activities: memorable introductions to patterns with fun rhymes, 16 games,  24 worksheets, 11 word sorts and more. Learn more about the Phonics Toolkit and get your copy today!

 

Posted in phonics

10 Steps to Reading

Explore 10 ways you can develop reading skills. Download the 10 Steps to Reading Handout (pdf) with these tips which include my favorite free online resources. Credits for illustrations: quite a few are from artist Mark A Hicks who contributed to Discovery Education Clipart. Pattern charts from boostforreaders. Sources for others at Pinterest.Reading101

10 Steps to Reading

1. Learn letters & sounds, and practice hearing and manipulating sounds – Phonemic awareness

2. Create a phonics kitBegin with short vowels and CVC words (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant), continue with consonant blends

3. Learn phonics patterns in sequence as the student is ready. The sequence in different programs can vary, but generally: Silent e, Bossy r, Vowel Teams, Diphthongs, and Digraphs.

4. Practice patterns with picture and word sorts

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 the phonics kit post. There are also many free online games at SymbalooUse the Puffin browser for 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 wordsThese high frequency words often 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.

10. Read “Phonics from A to Z” by Wiley Blevins (online at issuu)

Learn more at Reading Basics from ReadingRockets.org. They have a Get Ready to Read screening tool too.

Posted in phonics
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