The Best Cumulative Practice Center Activities

In this post, I answer “what is cumulative review?” and suggest literacy center activities for kindergarten, first and second-grade students that provide the cumulative practice and review of the phonics skills you have taught. 

In my study of the Science of Reading it has become clear to me that we far underestimate the amount of time it takes our students to master phonics skills.  Most curriculums simply move too quickly.  Many of them want us to introduce a new phonics skill each week. But one week is not enough.

Students need a substantial amount of purposeful and systematic review to master the skills we teach them. In his book, A Fresh Look at Phonics, Wiley Blevins states that after a new skill is introduced, it should be reviewed for the next four to six weeks. We cannot give up until ALL students can apply the skill to authentic reading and writing experiences.

So how do we do this??   How can we give our students the practice they need to truly master the skills we teach while still keeping up with the curriculum calendar?  The answer is through cumulative practice.  

What is Cumulative Practice?

Cumulative practice is the systematic addition of a just-learned skill to previously learned and related skills. It is one of the essential, evidence-based features of quality instruction. Once a student moves forward with a new concept, they must continue to review the skills they already learned.  Cumulative review activities are designed to focus on a target skill AND include skills that you have previously taught. This type of practice helps ensure students are not just exposed to skills, but that they actually master them. 

Today I want to help you see how you can bring more cumulative review into your classroom.  I’ll share literacy center activities that were designed to provide students with the cumulative practice they need to master the phonics skills you have taught. 

Cumulative Review Center Activities

While I love literacy centers, I know they can be a challenging part of the day.  There is a lot to plan, organize and manage.  Add in trying to create cumulative review activities and it can get to be TOO MUCH.  This is when it is important to work smarter, not harder. Instead of trying to create resources that offer cumulative practice, look for activities that are intentionally designed to do that!  

Today I’m happy to share three resources that were systematically created to offer practice with a target phonics skill and review of skills you have previously taught.  Let’s take a look at each one… 

Decodable Passages

These phonics-based decodable passages each contain target phonics skill words, as well as previously taught phonics skill words, and irregular high-frequency words.  

The resource is aligned to a research-based, systematic phonics scope and sequence. This helps to ensure you teach the phonics skills in the correct order and provide solid review of the skills that have recently been taught. 

Included with each passage:

💗 Explicit lesson plans with suggested pacing

💗 Activities for before, during, and after reading

💗 Blending lines to practice skills and frontload before reading

💗 Written and oral comprehension response questions specific to the passage

💗 Audio recording for those students who may need extra support

💗 Write and retell story response questions

💗 Printable passages give students the opportunity to re-read and build fluency

After students have received explicit instruction and guided practice using the decodables, they can reread the passages and blending lines on their own in a literacy center.

To help keep students accountable for their rereading, Blevins suggests students reread to a partner. The partner follows along and then signs and dates the back of the passage. The students can interact, support, and assist each other, as needed. Finally, you can also send copies of the passages home for students to reread and practice with families.

Decodable Sentence Building

These differentiated decodable sentence building activities give students practice reading and writing words that contain targeted phonics skills you have taught.  It contains 210 phonics-based controlled sentences and is the perfect practice activity to go along with my Decodable Passages bundle

Each sentence is a phonics-based controlled text sentence. It contains target phonics skill words, previously taught phonics skill words and irregular high-frequency words. This ensures students get the cumulative review we know they need for mastery.  

Systematically designed, the sentences build on phonics skills and in complexity.  As you progress through the resource, the sentences get more complex.  You’ll find compound sentences and a mix of punctuation.  Later sentences even include quotations and commas.  

After building each sentence with word cards, students write the sentence on their printable. To help you differentiate I created two versions of each printable sheet.  One version has a sentence stem that requires the student to only fill in the blank with a target phonics skill word. The other version requires the student to write the entire sentence.

Word Mapping 

Word mapping activities are a powerful way to help students build their word recognition and decoding skills. Included in this BUNDLE are interactive, self-checking printable activities and digital slides for over 485 words! 

This resource comes with printable mapping boards and word image cards for your guided group instruction and independent practice.

You’ll also get 42 printable phoneme tapping and mapping worksheets that provide practice with short vowels, blends, digraphs, long vowels, CVCe, R-controlled, and diphthong words.  After students receive direct instruction and guided practice, you can use these printables in your literacy centers to provide students with the review they need to master the skill!  

For more cumulative practice ideas try using the digital word mapping activities that are included in the bundle. Students will first see a picture of the word to build meaning. Next, they hear an audio recording of the word and map the phonemes (sounds) they hear. Finally, they will tap the sounds and spell the word using graphemes.

Looking for even more cumulative review activities? Take a look at the post, Phonics Review Activities. In it I share five phonics activities that will add a systematic and purposeful review into your day WITHOUT increasing your instructional time!  

I hope the information and resources I’ve shared here today will help you provide your students with the cumulative review and practice they need to master the skills you teach!

-shop this post-




Shopping cart0
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping