Working with words & sounds....


Reading Tips For Parents To Help At Home -Part 1

Working With Words & Sounds...


**I love Dr. Seuss and my favorite character is The Cat In The Hat- I feel that his hat is not just a symbol for reading-but his hat is also R-E-D!  Let’s all be a part of R-E-D!








There are five essential components for reading.  

The purpose of these pages/links is to help you understand these components and assist your child with reading actively at home.  I’ve tried to provide links throughout each page and more are listed at the bottom of each page.  

 Here are the definitions for the five essential components of literacy:

Phonemic Awareness: The smallest parts of sounds heard in words.  Children need to be able to hear and recognize these sounds to later understand their relationship to words

Phonics: The understanding of sounds, spelling, patterns, and their relationship to the printed word.  Children need to be able to use this understanding when confronted by an unknown word in order to apply decoding skills (sounding words out).

Vocabulary:  Understanding and increasing the use of new words in all contexts.

Comprehension:  The ability to interpret, understand and remember text.

Fluency:  The ability to accurately read new text with a proper rate of speed.


  Click Here For More On The Five Components Of Literacy



K-2 readers-Click here for info on Fundations





//Click Here For A Comprehensive link for FAQ’s about Reading & Instruction For Parents-From 

The Florida Center For reading Research- 


Practice Phonemic Awareness:     “Phonemic awareness is not the same thing as phonics. Phonemic awareness deals with sounds in spoken words, whereas phonics involves the relationship between sounds and written symbols. Phonics deals with learning sound-spelling relationships and is associated with print. Most phonemic awareness tasks are purely oral.”

                                                      -- Wiley Blevins in Phonics from A to Z: A Practical Guide


Phonemic Awareness is important because studies have shown:

    *It improves children’s word reading and comprehension

    *It helps with spelling  




*Cut magazine pictures (commercial cards are also available-I’ve seen some at dollar stores) and match pictures that rhyme- a cat & a hat , a sign & a dime, a fish & a dish, etc.

*Sing songs

*Practice making rhymes “How many words can we think of that rhyme with__________”

*Play “I Spy” with beginning or ending sounds.

*Create tongue twisters

*Pick words (a child’s name/family names are a great start) and clap, snap, or tap out the sounds.  For example -Bill  /b/ , /i/, /l/   Johnson is /j/, /o/, /n/, /s/, /o/, /n/

*Read Dr. Seuss or other authors that use rhymes.  Read the story, then re-read the story leaving of some of the rhyming words-see if your child remembers them or can come up with one of their own.


Phonemic awareness activity links:

                         Reading Rockets

                         The Reading Tree House

                         Activities For Exploring Phonemic Awareness


What is phonics?  Phonics is most effective when carefully selected sets of letter/sounds relationships are organized in a logical sequence.


Why is phonics instruction important? Research consistently shows it leads to a stronger understanding of the alphabetic principle and the relationship between spoken sounds and written letters.



   Practice phonics skills on chalk boards or whiteboards, or with magnetic letters on a cookie sheet. 

*On a sunny day use sidewalk chalk or paint brushes with water on a driveway. 

*Play- “What’s Missing” Arrange letters in ABC order.  Child closes his/her eyes, the adult removes a letter.  Child opens eyes and names the letter (and states the letter’s sound) that’s missing.

* Create lists of words that follow a specific pattern. I’d suggest using only a few at a time.  

    This is a great way to support spelling patterns that are used in the classroom. 

*Create word puzzles using the phonograms list below.

*Create spinners or dice using the phonograms below. 

           One spinner (or “dice”) with the phonogram, another with consonants.  

                       Hint: You can make simple dice from old cube tissue boxes!


  The most commonly used rimes are listed below and can be used to create many word patterns (often referred to as “word families”).  Read and re-read the lists, talk about the patterns.


Thirty Seven Most Common Phonograms

(* This is not a complete list)

-ack                     -unk                                -ump

-ail                       -ug                                  -uck

-ain                      -ot                                   -ore

-ake                     -op                                  -oke

-ale                      -ock                                 -it

-ame                    -ip                                    -ink

-an                       -ing                                  -ine

-ank                     -in                                     -ill

 -ap                      -ight                                  -ide 

-ash                      -ick                                   -ice

-at                         -est                                  -ell

-ate                       -eat                                  -ay



*Just add consonants and/or digraphs to make new words.

- From “Word Matters” by Gay Sue Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas 


Click Here for simple printable cards to make some of the easier phonograms-k-making words:commonphonograms.pdf


Here's a great way to practice CVC words (consonant, vowel, consonant) see this link for an explanation:


Click Here to print colorful Elkonian boxes Elkonian Boxes Template.docx  (special thanks to K. Borghi for the creation)



Phonics Resource links:

                        Web English Teacher



High -Use Words- Words used most often in stories- There are links below which provide high use word lists.  


Sight word practice- practice high use words for 5-10 minutes 2 times a day as opposed to a 20 minute session.  

*“Sandwich” drill-insert a few new words “sandwiched” between words that are already mastered.


**Try more games- 

*Memory- create 2 sets of high use words or words with a specific phonics patterns (for example: all words have a short /o/ sound) then turn them upside down and play “memory”.  The child flips over 2 cards to read each word, if they match-they make a pair and the child keeps the set.  If they don’t match, the child flips the cards back over.


 *Shazam!  Create a set of word cards.  Insert a few random cards that have the word “Shazam”.  Child    reads the words as you flash them.  Each correctly read word the child keeps, if the card “Shazam!” comes up-the child must return the cards and start over.  This can be done with 1 or more players.

                  **Play “Go Fish” using your word cards.

                  **Play “Bingo” using different words cards and simple bingo boards.

*Basic board game- Use a basic “path” to move around a board.  Child rolls a dice and can only proceed the number of spaces after the word has been read correctly.


Here are some CVC word lists just for kindergarten-ERI update-April 4.doc


Sight Word Phrase Cards: A Better way To Practice Sight words:

 **This is a great idea for the child who uses meaning and context to read.  All are the high use words, but they are arranged in phrases/sentences which are more meaningful: 


Directions:  Copy the following phrases/sentences onto cards or strips. Some can be combined.  Drill like flashcards.


What are these?

All day long

Into the water

It’s about time.

Up in the air.

The other people

She said to go.

Which one?

How many words?

Part of the time

He called me.

Who will make it?

There was an old man.

Sit down.

But not me.

It’s no use.

It may fall down.

The people

By the water

When would you go?

Come and get it.

This is a good day.

A number of people

More than the other

How long are they?

Can you see?

No way!

Go find her.

Look for some people.

So there you are!

Out of the water

A long time

We were here.

You and I 

Write it down.

What will they do?

We had their dog.

What did they say?

Have you seen it?

Could you go?

One more time

We like to write.


*Note: I am not sure where the above originated from or I would have credited the source.


High Use word links:    

 Literacy Connections-High Use Dolch Word Lists - High Use word Lists & Activities


  Florida Center For Reading Research-Tips For Parents


  Word families/Literacy Connections





    *****Dyslexia-What is it?  

Click Here to read The Florida Center for Reading Research's Report (in pdf) on Dyslexia_Technical_Assistance_Paper-Final.pdf


Click Here to access Florida State University's-Learning Disabilities Center: