In this post, we examine a strong phonics scope and sequence for Kindergarten – 2nd grade students. Research shows students must be taught with a systematic and explicit approach phonics in order to build solid foundations for reading.
Too often it is assumed that learning to read is a natural process, like learning to talk or walk. But decades of research has shown us that learning to read doesn’t come naturally. English decoding skills are not intuitive. We must explicitly teach our students how to connect sounds with letters. We must teach phonics!
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But even when you know phonics instruction is an integral part of literacy instruction, it can be overwhelming to know how to begin teaching it. There is not one single way to teach phonics, but as Wiley Blevins explains in his book, A Fresh Look at Phonics, phonics instruction must be systematic and explicit. This means it progresses through a specific scope and sequence that will help you look ahead to see where development is going, and intentionally scaffold your students’ learning.
According to Blevins, a strong phonics scope and sequence builds from the simplest to the most complex. It builds on previous learning, is created to teach students to form words as early as possible, and teaches high-frequency sounds before less useful sounds. It minimizes learning interference and allows for differentiation.
I realize your school may not provide you with a scope and sequence for phonics, so to help you out I’ll share with you the one that Blevins recommends for primary grades. It looks like this:
- Short-vowel vowel-consonant (VC) and CVC words (e.g. at, sat)
- Short-vowel words with blends and digraphs (e.g., flat, chat); contrast fat and flat, hat and chat
- Long-vowel CVCe words (e.g. bite, hate); contrast bit and bite, hat and hate
- Long-vowel words representing multiple spellings (e.g. maid, stay, coat, grow) contrast mad and maid; cot, cat and coat
- Words with r-controlled vowels, complex vowels, and diphthongs (e.g. part, spoil, mouth, bird); contrast pat and part, spill and spoil, mouth and mouth, bid and bird
- Simple multisyllabic words containing common prefixes and suffixes (e.g. reread, trusted); contrast read and reread, trust and trusted
- More complex multisyllabic words using common syllable types (e.g. candle, napkin); contrast can and candle, nap and napkin
A Problem with Phonics Instruction and How to Fix It
Students simply do not get adequate review and repetition. The goal of phonics instruction must be mastery, not exposure. Blevins believes a new skill should be systematically and purposefully reviewed for four to six weeks after being introduced. Don’t give up on it until all of your students can successfully apply the skill to authentic reading and writing experiences well after the initial introduction!
Most curriculums are pretty fast paced so you have to really be intentional to find time for review and repetition. In his book, Blevins suggests the following types of practice which will allow you to weave in the review and repetition your students will need for mastery.
- Blending work: List words with the new target skill as well as work skills previously taught.
- Dictation: Model how you transfer phonics skills to spelling, allow students to apply and try it out. Include words with patterns you have previously taught.
- Rereading decodable stories: Create a system where students reread stories independently or with a partner. Blevins suggests making “story sheets” by typing the stories out in pieces of paper and making copies for students. Then assign specific stories to reread each day. To keep things fresh, you could also type out new stories that focus on previously taught skills.
- Word building: Use a limited number of letter cards to build a series of words that vary by one or two letters. For example, words would be built in this sequence: up, cup, cut, but, bug and rug. Build in review by modifying the sequence to include a few previously taught skills. Add the short vowels a and i and the sequence becomes: up, cup, cap, cat, cut, but, bat, bug, big, rig, rag, and rug!
- Word Sorts: Give students word cards and ask them to sort them by related sounds or spellings. Include words with patterns you have previously taught.
But even with a scope and sequence to guide you and ideas for how to ensure mastery, it can be difficult to find specific phonics activities that meet those needs. So today I am excited to share with you my digital phonics activities for K-2 students!
They are going to save you HOURS of prep time plus your students will be so engaged in meaningful hands-on learning!
They have been created using the scope and sequence in A Fresh Look at Phonics. Each activity focuses on a target skill and is paired with a review of skills that have been previously taught to help give students the review and repetition they need to achieve mastery!
These engaging, interactive DIGITAL activities will help your Kindergarten, first grade, and second grade students master phonics skills and spelling patterns! This NO PREP resource has been PRELOADED for you! It just takes one simple click to add them to your Seesaw library or Google Drive! Then all that’s left to do is assign them!
The bundle includes 300+ pages of interactive, self-checking, digital activities focused on phonetic word patterns broken up into word study units. Each unit focuses on one phonetic skill with tasks of varying levels to help you easily differentiate learning.
Included in the year-long Digital Phonics Activities Bundle:
- CVC Activities
- Digraph Activities
- Consonant Blend Activities
- Silent E Activities
- Long Vowel Team Activities
- Diphthong Activities
- R-Controlled Vowel Activities
Students will love these interactive phonics sentence activities! This resource includes both PRINTABLE decodable sentence worksheets perfect for your literacy centers, as well as NO PREP DIGITAL activities! The slides have all been PRELOADED for you! With one click you’ve added them to your Seesaw library or Google Drive! Then just assign them to your students!
There are 265 decodable sentences with early sight words. Students will demonstrate comprehension by reading and matching the picture, then reread the sentences to build reading fluency. There are 5 sentences on each slide/printable for students to read.
Included in the year-long decodable Phonics Sentence Matching Bundle:
- CVC Sentences
- Blend & Digraph Sentences
- Long Vowel Sentences
- Diphthong & R-Controlled Vowel Sentences
Students will love these hands-on phonics activities! They will seek words by indicated phonetic pattern, sort them into columns, and read the lists of words.
There are 40 printable worksheets that are perfect for morning work, literacy centers, or homework. Also included are PRELOADED digital activities created in Google Slides and Seesaw, all the prep work is DONE for you, just click the link and add these activities to your drive or library!
Included in the year-long Seek, Sort, Read phonics bundle:
- CVC (short vowels)
- Digraph & Blends
- CVCe (silent e) & Long Vowels
- Diphthong and R-Controlled Vowels
The activities in each of the bundles all follow the same format. This means you don’t have to waste time teaching procedures and expectations for each and every task you assign. Once students have gotten the hang of one of the activities, they’ll be clear on how to complete the others. All you have to do is assign them! And with so many activities included in each bundle, you are sure to have enough phonics activities to last you all year long!
I hope the information I’ve shared today is helpful to you as you work to make a systematic plan for what phonics instruction will look like in your classroom, and that the resources will make that plan feel more easily attainable!
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