Building Phonetic Mastery!
It’s difficult for me to narrow down my favorite thing to teach in 1st grade. Some days it is teaching reading, some days it is writing – other days math.
Mostly, though, it has something to do with ELA. The simple fact is we cover a LOT of language arts standards in 1st grade and the growth is so measurable! The reward is great for both the kiddos and the teacher! Even after all these years, the growth still amazes me.
We do a lot of work with sight words and comprehension – but my absolute favorite part of teaching children how to read is phonics.
Phonetic rules make my super organized side very happy. When the structure of the word spelling makes sense – it just beyond fabulous. Especially when the kiddos recognize that structure.
I cannot believe that we start with things as simple as short vowels in August/September and end with long vowels, blends, digraphs and diphthongs by June!
My kiddos practice phonics in some fashion every single day. I always have sentence builder cards available to them during word work.
They also work independently after lessons on a particular phonetic rule.
My kiddos love to draw pictures. “Drawing Time” because you had to read a word to know what to draw is a win-win for everyone!
Isolating sounds can be very challenging for some of the young ones, especially English Language Learners. Using sound boxes on scrap paper or white boards is a great way to practice isolating sounds.
Take It a Step Farther:
Draw sound boxes to match your word on the board. Give your students a hint as to what the word might be. Have them use their white boards or scrap paper to write the word they believe you are thinking about. Note their guess must match the sound boxes you wrote on the board. (Sound boxes match the letter size – tall boxes (h, t, f, etc.), average boxes (a, e, o, u, c, etc) low boxes (g, y, j), use stacked boxes for the letter i.
During guided reading and whole group lessons we often work with little readers. We read, re-read, highlight, read backwards, circle and quiz each other about the rules we find in little books.
Here are a few great questions to ask during guided reading to get the kiddos engaged and involved – and most importantly cementing that phonetic schema!
Guided Reading Interactive Reader Ideas:
“I’m looking at a page that has 3 short /o/ words. One of those words is the last word on the page.”
“This word is on page 2 and rhymes with hot.”
“How many short /o/ words were in the book in all?”
“I’m starting the timer, who will highlight the most short words in the book the fastest?!”
I like to encourage the kids to color the pictures on their free time – it keeps them engaged in the book and looking at words!
Often I collect work that we’ve done that indicates they can dig deep and show mastery of new concepts while using the skill in conjunction with others. For example, decoding an incomplete sentence and using rhyming skills to find and spelling the missing word; and finding isolated sounds that work together to create words – even if they aren’t lined up.
Throughout the year as we introduce long vowels, diphthongs, digraphs and r-controlled vowels I like to keep some sort of similarity in the actual way we practice those concepts.
I want my kids to learn the new academic concept not how to perform a task. Once they’ve made progress on the concept, we can vary the tasks to add some depth and complexity AND allow the kiddos to prove concept mastery.
Mastery of the standards may take a bit of time but it sure is exciting when they achieve it! Opening the door to reading is just amazing! I love being part of this knowledge gain!
Card games are some of my kiddos’ favorite work work activities! We have a lot of them. I find that the kids will not only play them as I have directed them – but they change it up! I have card games in all of my phonic resources.
This is our Bossy R game. It is like Old Maid. Cards are dealt to two or three players, they make matches and pull from the deck until every card has been matched but the “broken microphone”. My kids love it, but they will also use these cards to play Bossy R Go Fish and Concentration. They even use them to build sentences writing the missing words on slips of paper!
Interactive readers are my favorite though! I LOVE that little books can be used in so many ways! They make planning for reading groups quite simple and they keep things moving, kiddos engaged, and schema building! You can’t beat that!
All of the items in this post are from my phonics resources. You can get them individually or together in the money-saving Phonics Mega Bundle. I use these three resources throughout the year! The Short Vowel Practice and Review takes us through the first trimester, Long Vowel Practice and Review takes us through the second trimester and Bossy R and the Diphthongs closes out the year!