By Valerie Schuetta, M.Ed.
As an elementary school teacher, Reading Specialist/Interventionist, and former English Language Learner teacher, I am always on the hunt for new materials that will help my students become better readers. I would like to tell you about a wonderful resource that includes Phonics cards and Phonics game cards from Success Reading. The activities on these cards not only can help all learners develop a love of reading, but will also help children that are struggling, become successful readers. It will also give early learners a hop, skip, and a jump along the pathway to reading!
At first glance, I can tell you that I liked the fact that the cards were contained in two small, convenient cases. I like this because not only are the cards easy to flip through, but the containers help keep the cards well-organized and easily accessible.
The first set of cards I tried with my intervention students was the Phonics Cards. The cards are divided into sections which include Basic Phonics Cards, Letter Teams, and Multiple Sounds Cards. As I looked over the Basic Phonics cards, I could not help but think how fantastic these cards would have been to have as a kindergarten teacher, especially at the beginning of the year. First, I had my intensive students go over the vowels and the different sounds they make. For example, with one student sitting in front of me, I said all the sounds that the letter “a” can make, asking my learner to repeat after me. Then I held up the card with the letter facing the student and asked him/her to say all the sounds that that particular letter makes. We also practiced writing the letters we were working on. This method works especially well with ELL (English Language Learners) students because not only are they saying the sounds the letter makes, they are seeing and hearing how the letter looks and associating it with the sound. The same method is repeated for the consonant cards.
When your students have mastered the vowel and consonant cards, they can move onto the Letter Team and Multiple Sounds cards. This is an area that many students struggle with, especially multiple sounds. To master letter teams, they must be practiced. The use of these cards makes it simple. The back tells the teacher the correct sound and gives an example of a word containing the letter team. Once again, the same procedure is followed as the vowel and consonant cards. When you feel that your students have mastered this skill, you can move on to the Multiple Sounds cards. In this activity, the student and the teacher read the multiple sound, the example words containing that sound, and look for more words that contain that particular multiple sound.
The Phonics Game cards are another great resource to use with students. There are a variety of games that can be played with the cards. The cards are organized by all of the vowels. Each vowel includes a word that contains that vowel and a matching colorful picture that goes with that word. These cards are a must-have for ELL students, because they enable the student to associate the written word with the picture. There are several engaging games that can be played using these cards, including the Match up Game, Find the Picture Game, and Find the Word Game. Once your students are familiar with the pictures and words, these games can also be used as a Literacy Center in your classroom.
Together, the Phonics Cards and Phonics Game Cards are a valuable tool for any educator or homeschooling parent. They would also be a great resource for instructional assistants to use with students, one-on-one, for remedial or enrichment instruction. As a teacher, I really like the scope and sequence of the Phonics cards. They also allow you to differentiate based on your students’ needs. Using these cards will give teachers another valuable instrument to implement in their reading block and create a literacy rich program! VS
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