At the beginning of the year, I created an Alphabet Book to use with my students. I thought they would all come in knowing their ABC’s and that this would be a great way to review while we looked at different types of words. I was so excited about them that I had them copied and stapled before the school year began. Then, I got my class, and more than half of them didn’t know all of their letters or letter sounds, and I put all of the Alphabet Books on the shelf indefinitely.
Fast forward 13 weeks, and all of my kids now know all of their letters and letter sounds!!! In fact, most of my kids are now reading at a Reading A-Z level of C or higher (yeah!!!!!!). So, I pulled out the Alphabet Books, and the kids are in love!
The books are a super simple way for them to “collect” words from around the room, or in books. After they have “collected” their words, it’s a good way to work on reading common words. Each page is coordinated to my phonics posters, and has lines for students to write down words from our word wall. (Did you hear that my word wall is exploding? If not, check out this post from earlier this week.) The kids have had a great time with this center, and we are beginning to use the books in reading time too. Plus, it’s a low maintenance literacy center – which is really nice at this time of the year when my kids are a little crazier than normal!
As a first grade teacher, phonics is a key skill we work on. Since so many of kids are visual and musical, I have found that videos are a GREAT way to get my kids interested and learning phonics. Here are a few I have used with my kids:
1. The Leap Frog Videos – My personal sons have used these Leap Frog Videos to learn phonics, and they were well worth the money (My middle son literally went from knowing 2 letters to 26 in 3 weeks of repeated viewing!), especially as I then turned around and brought them to my classroom. There are 3 different videos, The Talking Letter Factory, The Talking Words Factory and The Code Word Caper. The Talking Letter Factory just does letters, and each letter has a silly memory device to help kids remember what sound the letter says (my kids like to go u, u, up!). The Talking Words Factory puts together cvc words, and does a little bit on blending. It also talks about vowels being the sticky glue that holds words together, so I used it when introducing vowels. The Code Word Caper talks about complex words, with digraphs and silent e’s, which is where my kids are now, so it is our new favorite.
2. You Tube Videos – I know that many of you don’t have access to YouTube in the classroom, but if you do, these are both AWESOME videos that my kids love. The first is a jazzy song that talks about the short vowel songs. My kids love to dance to it, but they sing along too and now they all know short vowel sounds!!!
The second song is called SuperE. I wasn’t sure of this one at first, but the kids LOVE it, and they are so excited when they find a word with a “super e”, that I’ve come to love this video too.
3. Starfall – If you aren’t aware of Starfall, you are missing out on the biggest and best FREE source of phonics material I’ve ever found. It is an interactive educational website that I love to use during literacy centers. There are 4 levels on Starfall, ABC’s, Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read and I’m Reading. The first two levels include songs and games for letters, books where the computer will sound out words clicked on and creating words games. The higher two levels and a variety of e-books and activities for students who are past the phonics level.
Hope these resources help you with phonics in your classroom. Do you know of a great phonics site? Post us a comment and share with the group!