Last week we looked at how to schedule and structure your small group phonics lessons. One question remains … what are the rest of the students doing while you teach small groups? Today I’m sharing ideas for phonics centers!
As you teach your small groups (see last week’s post for all the details), the rest of your class needs to be working independently.
But classroom time is valuable. How can you make sure that they’re doing work that will help them grow as readers?
Ideas for meaningful literacy centers
1 – Word work (phonics centers)
2 – Buddy reading (decodable passages or books, reader’s theater, partner plays, etc.)
3- High frequency word practice (editable reading games are perfect for this!)
3- Listen to audio books
4- Independent reading of books students are accountable for (such as decodable books you’ve used in phonics lessons)
Beginning readers who are learning to decode will benefit from a lot of word reading practice at centers.
Here are some ideas for low prep phonics centers your students will love!
1- Roll & Read Games
I’m currently working with my youngest as I work toward a certificate in Orton-Gillingham. As I look for activities that will build fluency with our current sound-spelling, I often reach for Roll & Read.
We take turns rolling a die and reading the corresponding column as smoothly as we can. Sometimes we’ll pause so I can explain the meaning of a word.
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When one of us reads a column, we color a dot at the bottom to show that we’ve read it. We stop playing when we’ve colored in the circles for all six columns.
My son loves the fast pace, and these games have been great for building his fluency with tougher words!
In the shop:
- Roll & Read Level 1 – CVC Words, Blends, Digraphs & More
- Roll & Read Level 2 – CVCE Words, Vowel Teams, R-Controlled Vowels & More
- Roll & Read Level 3 – Diphthongs, Prefixes, Suffixes & More
2- Follow the Path Games
Even my reluctant readers have been willing to play these Follow the Path games with me, because they enjoy the race to the final space. (And more often than not, after we’re done they ask “Can we play again?”)
These aren’t quite no-prep, because you need to cut out the cards for each game. But it’s worth the trouble, because when kids land on a gumball they draw a card and read four words in a row.
In the shop:
- Follow the Path Level 1 – CVC Words, Blends, Digraphs & More
- Follow the Path Level 2 – CVCE Words, Vowel Teams, R-Controlled Vowels & More
- Follow the Path Level 3 – Diphthongs, Prefixes, Suffixes & More
3 – Four in a Row
Here’s another no-prep game that’s easy for you and fun for kids. Just print the game of your choice, and have kids take turns reading words and covering with a manipulative.
Whoever gets four in a row first, wins! This is a quick game, so after kids finish they can play a few more times.
In the shop:
- Four in a Row Level 1 – CVC Words, Blends, Digraphs & More
- Four in a Row Level 2 – CVCE Words, Vowel Teams, R-Controlled Vowels & More
- Four in a Row Level 3 – Diphthongs, Prefixes, Suffixes & More
4 – Buddy Spelling
Unlike our other games, this one focuses on encoding (spelling) in addition to decoding. With this game, students roll a die and note the space they land on. Then the other player reads a word from the answer key for the first player to spell.
Finally, the first player checks his/her spelling against the answer key and marks the appropriate face on their recording sheet (see image above).
In the shop:
- Buddy Spelling Level 1 – CVC Words, Blends, Digraphs & More
- Buddy Spelling Level 2 – CVCE Words, Vowel Teams, R-Controlled Vowels & More
- Buddy Spelling Level 3 – Diphthongs, Prefixes, Suffixes & More
And there you have it! We’ve got four simple phonics centers that you can pull out again and again.
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Have you seen the rest of our phonics series?