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Big Kids Need Phonics Too Series! Step 5 Kill the Worksheet: Practice Can Be Play

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So often we teach a concept and then proceed to give our students eighteen worksheets to practice that skill. Phonics has gotten a bad rap in the past as being boring and taking the joy out of reading. It doesn’t have to be that way! Let’s make phonics practice fun!

Teacher Talks! are one component of our Intermediate Phonics and Spelling Program. They are the ultimate teacher’s guide. Not only does each Teacher Talk! offer an in-depth eplanation, it also gives ideas for multi-sensory learning games, and links to our favorite free online resources! Here are just a few of our favorite games found in Reading Rev’s Teacher Talks! that reinforce phonetic concepts with intermediate students. Your 3rd-5th graders will thank you!

#1 3,2,1…REVEAL!  This is a 5-word challenge.  Every student holds a white board so that other kids can’t see it.  You give a word that follows the lesson’s pattern or is a review of a previously taught concept.  The students write it on their board. Then you say, “3,2,1… Reveal!”  Kids show their word.  If they get it correct, they put a star on the top of their board.  Give instant, constructive feedback if the word is misspelled. At the end of 5 words, count stars and see if you have a winner.

#2 Word chains: Write mail. Change mail to tail.  Change tail to sail.  Change sail to say.  Change say to play.  Change play to plain. Change plain to chain.  Change chain to pain.  Change pain to pay.  For older or more advanced students, one kid can start the chain and show it to the next kids.  The kids get to create the chains based on the phonics pattern.

#3 Riddle Race Use a list of words that follow the weekly phonetic pattern.  We use our word sorts that are included in our Intermediate Year-Long Spelling Sequence packets. Then, give a clue for one of the words. For example, “This is a house made of ice.” Students call out their answers. The first to call the correct answer, gets their name on a post-it note covering the word. Cover the word quickly and have the group write the word. You can create the rules for winning the game!

#4 The Name Game Kids love to see how their name follows phonetic patterns. For almost every pattern, you can find names that are perfect examples. Print a list of class names and have students find patterns you have learned. Then, have them think of the names of family and friends too!

#5 Connect 4 It’s just like the game, but you can make it a decoding (reading) game of encoding (spelling) game. Have the real game available for kids who need to experience that the chips fall down and stack on one another. Put your pages in page protector and use dry erase markers to be able to play more than one!

Teacher Talks! were essential to my understanding of the spelling pattern! My students LOVED all the games and activities, and I felt like I mazimized teaching/learning time using this tool!

— Stephanie, 3rd grade teacher

Want to review all 6 Steps in the BIG Kids Need Phonics Too! Series? Here you go!

Step 1: Diagnostic Assessments

Step 2: Eliminate the Primary Vibe

Step 3: Teach Syllables

Step 4: Read High-Interest, Skill-based Passages

Step 5: Kill the Worksheet: Practice Can Be Play

Step 6: Morphology Matters!

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