Fantastic Phonics Activities for Kindergarten

Phonics is extremely important in teaching children to read.  But what is phonics?  Phonics is the relationship between the spoken sounds and written symbols of our language.  It is decoding and blending the letter sounds together to read and write words.  Read below for some great phonics lesson ideas and fun activities.

picture of a student holding beginning sounds phonics cards

Phonics Activities

Phonics activities are a great way to practice the skills students need to become readers.  The following activities can be used in the classroom or at home to help your students master these skills.

Phonics Games for Kindergarten

Having fun while learning is the best way to practice skills.  Teach your students to play concentration with phonics matching cards.  There are 7 different matching card sets each working on a different phonics skill.  The topics include: capital and lowercase letters, beginning sounds, medial sounds, rhyming, onset and rime, decoding, and digraphs.  As a bonus, we’ve also included 4 sets of phonological awareness matching cards games.  Once you teach your students how these phonics games work, they are perfect to put in a center.  I also love playing these games on inside recess days.

Letter Sounds

If your students are working on learning the letters and the sounds they make, use an abc chart and alphabet books for some great letter activities.  These tools are perfect for early phonics activities. 

Letter Hunt

My students favorite way to use an alphabet chart is by going on a letter hunt.  To play, I tell my students, “We are going on a letter hunt.  I’ll say a letter sound, and you need to search and point to the letter that makes that sound.”  I tell them they are  letter detectives, and they get very excited to find letters.

Reading an ABC book

To teach letter sound correspondence, we teach our students to read alphabet books by saying the letter and picture name, then sound and picture name.  It sounds like, “A..a..apple, /a/../a/..apple  B..b..bear, /b/../b/..bear.”

Vowels

Learning the vowels can be tricky for students because they make more than one sound.  Facilitate activities demonstrating both the short and long vowel sounds, so students get familiar with both sounds.

Short vs Long Vowels Game

Play a simple game to help students distinguish between the short and long sound a vowel makes.  Tell the students the short sound and the long sound of the vowel they are learning about.  Give them 2 movements, one for the short sound and one for the long sound.  For example, clap if you hear the short sound and hands in the air if you hear the long sound.  Say several words with the short and long sounds of the vowel as students do the movements you’ve taught them. This is an easy game you can play anytime, such as when your class is waiting in line to go somewhere. 

CVC Words

Cvc words are words that consist of consonant, vowel, consonant in that order, like cat.

Blending Sounds

Once students know most of the letter sounds, teach them how to blend sounds of cvc words.  Show them a word on a sentence strip card or on a white board.  First ask them the sounds of each letter.  Next model how to blend the sounds together, and then read the word.  Do this with different cvc words, letting your students get some practice with blending sounds together.

Word Families

Word family activities are great to teach students.  They help them to see that if they can read one word from the word family, they can easily read the rest of the words in the same family.   

Word Family Lists

One quick activity is to show them a picture of a word that belongs in the word family you are teaching and create a word family list.  Have students think of words that rhyme with the picture word you showed them.  Write them on the board under the picture word each time they tell you a word.  For example; show them a picture of a swing and write the word next to the picture.  Ask students for words that rhyme with swing, and write their answers under the word swing.  Point out that all the words end with ing.  Tell them this is the -ing word family.  This is a good way to get phonics practice.

Digraphs

A digraph is two consecutive letters that represent one sound, like sh in shop.

Digraph Corners

This phonics activity has some movement, which my students love.  Label 3 or 4 corners in your classroom with digraphs you are teaching.  I’ve always focused on ch, sh, and th, so I label 3 corners with those digraphs written big so students can easily see them.  Pass out cards with pictures of words that start with one of the digraphs.  Then have students find their corner.  Once all students are in their corner, have each student call out their card.  Play this a few times, by shuffling the cards each time and giving students new picture cards.  

Leave us a comment below of the phonics activities your students enjoy.  

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Hi, we're Jackie, LeighAnn and Jessica

We are a team of kindergarten teachers turned educational consultants.  We help teachers like you with:

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