No matter what your curriculum looks like, phonics instruction for primary grades is a big undertaking.
One super effective way I initiate my phonics instruction each year with my first-graders is with a Letter Sounds Bootcamp. I usually spend most of September teaching and reviewing letter sounds that were taught in Kindergarten, but need a little reinforcement early on.
Kindergarten is sometimes a student’s first ever exposure to letter sounds learning. It takes practice, practice, and even more practice to get those sounds to move from working memory to long-term memory that kids can call on anytime to help build their understanding.
First grade teachers are likely to have students come to our classroom without knowing all the letter sounds that they were taught during the previous school year. Whether it’s due to the summer slide, or there are students who never quite grasped the letter sounds during kindergarten, the bootcamp helps us really reinforce the foundational skills they will need to proceed with CVC words and other phonics skills for the year.
Letter Sounds aren’t just for kindergarten and first-grade students though. If you have some older learners in your classroom that could benefit from extra practice with letter sounds during intervention time, or you want to send some practice home to build up their proficiency, you’ll also want to check out what I’ve got for you in this post!
Helping All Students Shine With Letter Sounds
I want to share three great resources to help your little learners build and strengthen these fundamental skills, with daily consistency and repetition they need to prepare for phonics instruction for the rest of the school year.
To make sure we are reaching all students, and giving them meaningful practice that will “stick”, teachers can focus on many learning modalities when it comes to building letter sound proficiency. In my class, we practice letter sounds together with:
- Simple printable activity worksheets
- Hands-on letter sound games
- Literacy centers
You may have a different curriculum depending on your state requirements and your school resources, but brain science tells us it’s important that kids get a mix of paper/pencil activities, whole class experiences, and interactive hands-on games to maximize engagement and concrete learning. I’m also including digital resources in this post that can be used for virtual or in-class learning.
Let the Games Begin!
Routine, Repetition, and Engagement are key to learning phonics skills. Games are a great way to build all three of these into your instruction. Starting with digital activities that you can use in class or virtually.
Flash Phonics is one of the favorite literacy resources I provide, and it has a high rating for the way it engages students and builds their independence. I especially want to highlight the variety of ways it can be used flexibly to meet the needs of your students.
This set includes a ton of phonics games but start with the beginning sounds games and you can build from there throughout the rest of your school year.
Use it on your virtual or interactive whiteboard, or have students use it on their individual chromebooks, tablets, or other devices independently.
No Prep time? No Problem!
Printable worksheets and activity sets are so great for flexible use. Check out this Print and Go Phonics set and use it with your class for homework, extra practice, center activities, assessments and more!
Looking for no-prep activities that will make life easier for you and more engaging for your little learners? OF COURSE YOU ARE!! This set includes these great activities:
- Alphabet Tracing
- Missing Letters
- Beginning Sounds
- Write the Sound
- Find the Word
- Which Word?
- Which Doesn’t Fit?
- Trace & Color
- Find the Sound
- Match the Sound
- Spin & Find
- My Alphabet Book
- Assessment Pages
- Student Data Recording
Get Your Kids Ready for Reading with Customizable Phonics Instruction
I’ve got another set that lets you focus on flexibility; Reading Warm-ups that are not only available in both Print and Digital formats, but come with editable pages that you can alter to meet your specific curriculum and classroom needs.
- Letter sounds:
- Long vowels
- R-Controlled Vowels
Building our students’ phonics skills takes routine, repetition, flexibility, and lots of different ways to practice. Consider a Letter Sounds Bootcamp to get the ball rolling the right way this year!
Make sure you stay tuned for more resources I’ll be featuring this school year, and follow me on Facebook and Instagram for up-to-date information on new products, sales on my best resources, and collaboration with other teachers to help all students shine!