Strategies good readers use: 

  • Recognize unfamiliar words, and look at all the letters in order
  • Search mental word bank for similar letter patterns and the sounds associated with them
  • Produce a pronunciation that matches that of a real word that you know
  • Reread the sentence to cross-check your possible pronunciation with meaning. If meaning confirms pronunciation, continue reading. If not, try again!
  • Look for familiar morphemes, and chunk the word by putting letters together that usually go to together in the words you know.

Guess the covered word activities:

  1. Before class begins, write four or five sentences on the board that begin with your students names. i.e. Kate likes to play softball
  2. Cover the last word in each sentence with a sticky note
  3. begin the activity by reading the first sentence and ask students to guess the covered word. Write 4 guesses on the board next to the sentence.
  4. Uncover all the letters up to the vowel, have the students continue offering guesses
  5. after the student guesses the word, include some sentences in which the covered word begins with the digraphs; sh, ch, th, wh.

Using words you know activities:

  • Show students 3 to 5 words they know and have these words pronounced and spelled.
  • Draw 4 columns, and head each column with one of the words. i.e. bike, car, train, or van
  • Tell students that words that rhyme usually have the same spelling pattern. underline the spelling patterns. i.e. i-k-e, a-r, a-i-n, a-n, and have students underline them on their papers.
  • Tell students you are going to show them some new words and that they should write each one  under the word with the same spelling pattern. Show them words you have written on index cards. i.e for bike; hike, pike, spike.
  • Explain to your students that thinking of rhyming words can help them spell
  • End this part  of the lesson by helping students verbalize that in English, words that rhyme often have the same spelling pattern and that good readers and spellers do not sound out every letter, but rather try to think of a rhyming words and read or spell the word using the pattern in the rhyming word.

Making words lessons and activities: (Planning Steps)

  1. Choose your secret word, a word that can be made with all the letters. in choosing this word, consider child interests, the curriculum tie-ins you can make, and the letter-sound patterns to which you can draw children’s attention through the sorting at the end.
  2. Make a list of the other words that can be made from these letters
  3. from all the words you could make, pick 12 to 15 words using this criteria:                          -Words you can sort for the pattern you wan to emphasize. -little words and big words to create a multilevel lesson. – words that can be made with the same letters in different places (barn/bran) so children are reminded that ordering letters is crucial when spelling. -A proper name or two to rind children that we use capital letters. – Words that most students have in their listening vocabulary.
  4. Write all the words on index cards, longest to shortest
  5. have 2 letter words together, etc. order them so you can emphasize letter patterns and how changing the positions of the letters or changing/adding just one letter results in a different word.
  6. Chose some letters or patterns to sort for.
  7.  Chose some transfer words-uncommon words you can read or spell based on the rhyming words.
  8. Store the cards in an envelope. Write the words in order on the envelope, the patterns you will sort for and the transfer words.

Decoding big words:

  1. Store cards in an Have students have a mental store of big words that contain the spelling patterns common to big words
  2. Have students chunk big words into pronounceable segments by comparing the parts of new big words they already know
  3. Students are able to recognize and use common prefixes and and suffixes


Points From Video Resource:

  • The most important thing parents can do for their children is to model reading and to teach them letters.
  • This can be done even as you walk through the grocery store, showing children letters of all the different items in the store and the words they create.
  • It is important to read with their children and to them.

Put Reading First, Phonics Section

  • How long should phonics be taught?
Approximately two years of phonics instruction is sufficient for most students. If phonics
instruction begins early in kindergarten, it should be completed by the end of first grade.
  • Phonics instruction
•helps children learn the relationships between the letters of written
language and the sounds of spoken language.
Phonics instruction is important because
•it leads to an understanding of the alphabetic principle—the systematic and
predictable relationships between written letters and spoken sounds.
  • Programs of phonics instruction are effective when they are
—the plan of instruction includes a carefully selected set of
letter-sound relationships that are organized into a logical sequence.
—the programs provide teachers with precise directions for the
teaching of these relationships.
  • Effective phonics programs provide
•ample opportunities for children to apply what they are learning about
letters and sounds to the reading of words, sentences, and stories.
Systematic and explicit phonics instruction
•significantly improves children’s word recognition, spelling, and reading
•is most effective when it begins in kindergarten or first grade

National Panel Report Summary, Phonics Section

Phonics Instructional Approaches

  • Analogy Phonics
—Teaching students
unfamiliar words by analogy to known
words (e.g., recognizing that the rime
segment of an unfamiliar word is identical to
that of a familiar word, and then blending the
known rime with the new word onset, such
as reading
brick by recognizing that
-ick is
contained in the known word
kick, or
stump by analogy to
  • Analytic Phonics
—Teaching students to
analyze letter-sound relations in previously
learned words to avoid pronouncing sounds
in isolation.
Embedded Phonics
—Teaching students
phonics skills by embedding phonics
instruction in text reading, a more implicit
approach that relies to some extent on
incidental learning.
  • Phonics through Spelling
students to segment words into phonemes
and to select letters for those phonemes
(i.e., teaching students to spell words
  • Synthetic Phonics
—Teaching students
explicitly to convert letters into sounds
(phonemes) and then blend the sounds to
form recognizable words.

Literacy Survival Tips for New Teachers:  Phonics and Phonemic Awareness Guide to Best Practices and Top 5 Phonics Word/Work Lessons by Lori Oczkus

  • Practical Teaching Tip
    If you do not have magnetic letters
    handy, you can cut up large-square
    graph paper and have students write
    individual letters on the squares to
    put together to “make” and then
    “break” up words
  • Practical Teaching Tip
    Students save the words in envelopes
    in their word-study notebooks and
    periodically mix and match the
    categories of words to sort. Type up
    the words on a sheet that is divided
    into boxes, and have students cut
    apart the words.
  • What Strategies Do Good “Word Solvers”Use?
    ■ Discriminate letters in print
    ■ Recognize whole words as units.
    ■ Use word parts.
    ■ Use known words to figure out unknown words.
    ■ Sound out words by individual letters or letter clusters.
    ■ Use base words to analyze parts.
    ■ Analyze words left to right.
    ■ Check attempts by using letter parts and word parts.
    ■ Use context.
    ■ Use references and resources such as dictionaries to look up meanings and pronunciations.
    ■ Substitute words of similar meaning


Practical application 

Grade Level: Prekindergarten

Activity One– Name places: Every day when the students come into class, have their name on a piece of paper at their seat. On different days, have different ways of having them write their name, Monday & Friday- they copy the example of their name, writing it on their own. Tuesday and Thursday have them connect the dots to write their name and on Wednesdays have them write in bubble letters to write their name. The goal is, to have the students eventually write their name’s on their projects and such so the teacher isn’t constantly writing names. As well as promoting independence in their writing of their name. This will also promote their understanding of the letters in their name as well as their friend’s names and give them the ability to say for example: “My name is Abigail, I have two a’s in my name! One is a capital A and the other is a lowercase a!”.

Differentiation: High flyers, just give them lines for them to write their name on their paper without any aids. Struggling writers, show them how to hold their writing utensil and maybe put your hand over theirs to help guide them in their writing as well as allowing more opportunities for them to practice.

–I am a Teachers assistant in a 4 K classroom and we do this activity. These students are relatively new to school so it is exciting to see them making connections with the letters and words. This activity would be especially helpful at the beginning of the year.

Activity two– Sticky note game:  On a smart board or white board write out a number of words. Have the letters spaced out a bit and a box for each letter after them i.e. B O X  _ _ _ (but those lines would be boxes). You will create sticky notes that have all the letters on them to create these words. Hide sticky notes around the room (in pretty obvious places). You will instruct your students to go and find the letters on the sticky notes and come back to you at the board and tell you which box their letter belongs. If they can reach, they can place their sticky note letter in themselves. Continue activity until all words have the individual letters o the sticky notes create your words.

Differentiation: High flyers: have a different color of sticky notes for each high flyer to create different words for them. Have a paper for each one of them with the words they will need to create with their letters. But, their words are not just written out in order, their letters on their page are scrambled. i.e. C A T would be listed as A T C  _ _ _ (with the boxes after it). Each student would only have a few words each, depending on their level. Struggling spellers: show them which word their letter is in, ask leading questions that will help them think critically as to where to place their letter.

Source for where I got this idea:

Activity Three: Words 3 different ways: Have a sheet of paper, divided in to three sections boxed all the ways down (example shown below) . In the first rectangle have the student trace a word, second rectangle, have the student stamp the word with letter stamps and in the last section have the student practice writing the word out.

Differentiation: High flyers: give them longer, words that are slightly more complicated. struggling writers: give them simple words, make their list of words have many words with similar letters, so the stamping doesn’t overwhelm them and they can use the same letters over again. i.e. cat, bat, sat, mat, call, mall, etc.

Three different ways to make words

Source where I got this idea: