Phonics centers are the core of my teaching when it comes to emergent readers. As an early literacy teacher for over 25 years, I’ve learned a thing or two about how children successfully acquire and practice reading skills. In Kindergarten, our focus is letter sounds. That is the foundation of decoding letters as symbols for sounds we hear in language.
Once students can tell you which letter makes which sound, we are ready to move on to isolating those sounds. The next step is learning to both blend (put together sounds) and segment (break a word apart into it’s individual sounds). Phonics centers are perfect for teaching this in a fun, interactive way.
In first grade, there are many different ways to help students practice manipulating letters and sounds, and one of the best ways is focusing on CVC words and word families. In this post, I’ve outlined some of the simple activities I’ve used over the years to teach my students to read. I’ve included pictures of my students’ favorite activities to give you a sense of we use a mixture of hands-on activities and simple writing tasks. Many of the tasks include versions to explore advanced spelling patterns as well, such as blends and digraphs. This is a easy way to differentiate your centers and instruction.
NOTE: All of the phonics centers pictured in this post are from the Phonics Bundles Collection. You can choose to see specific pictures by clicking the links at the bottom of this post.
PROMOTING SUCCESS IN READING
Some things to keep in mind when planning your phonics centers:
- Provide a lot of time and repetition to foster confidence and mastery.
- Make sure activities are hands-on and FUN.
- Mix activities to include both reading and writing.
- Differentiate by offering extended activities for students who need a challenge.
A PEEK INTO MY CLASSROOM
Looking For a Specific Center?
Here is a visual list of all the centers included in the Literacy Centers Bundle Collection, along with the link to the bundle and a more detailed preview: