Adding More to My Phonics Instruction

Jul 7, 2014

Not sure how many of you know...but my first teaching job was in Knoxville!  We lived down there for two years.  It was so pretty and we met some great people...but home is Home.  And I missed (like cried everyday) MISSED home.  So we moved back to Ohio.  But I will tell you...I did a lot of learning in Knoxville.

C.A.R.E. was a phonics program that the schools used when I taught there. I believe it was created by a teacher in the district and she did the professional development on it.  I tried "googling" it, but could not find nothing; therefore, we have to go off my terrible memory.  I also took a class from Anne McGill-Franzen on Words Their Way at UT.  Besides all the tears and homesick-ness, I learned so much about phonics, phonics instruction, and brought those ideas with me to Ohio. forward 7 years.  I'm co-teaching phonics to an extremely low group of first graders.  And guess what!??!!  They were not getting it!  But it wasn't their fault, it was mine.  I needed to change, adjust, grow.  So I thought back to what I brought from Knoxville and the 7 years of teaching phonics to K, 1st, and 2nd graders.

There was only one answer to me.

They had to see it.  I mean really, really SEE it!  They needed to literally SEE how the sounds came together and how those sounds made a new word.

So I started making Powerpoints for them.  We would project them on the Mimeo (but it would also work at a center or station).  They were able to see how the sounds actually blended together.  Like this:

As I flipped through, they could see each sound highlight and we would say the sounds together.  They were engaged. I was happy that they were engaged.  Things improved.

After they got the hang of it, we were ready to add some more.  So I made up some worksheets for them to do as we flipped through the lesson together.

I thought these sheets could be used in two different ways.  Before we flip through the slides of the particular word used the boxes on this sheet as Elkonin boxes.  This really helped those kids that were struggling with Phonological Awareness.  After we flipped through the slides for a particular word, they would then write the word using one box per sound.

Again, it kept them engaged.  And we were improving and growing.  We were also getting through the Powerpoints quicker because they knew the expectations.

I decided to try the same technique but with making words.  They needed to SEE how the letters were actually coming together to make a word.  And how the word could easily be changed by moving around one letter. This is hard concept for some of our kids.  They don't see the connection between words.

In the video, you can see how the letters move and manipulate.  Then they could use their sheet to record the letter sounds.

Do you think these would help your Kinders or Firsties??  What else could I add to enhance this and help my upcoming really SEE phonics?  I know one thing....more powerpoints to show the effects of the silent e. That is on my summer "to do" list, for sure. you want to check any of these out for your kids, here are the links:


  1. Great reminder--if kids don't get it, it may not be their fault. Thanks for sharing how you changed what you did and the resources you used.

  2. You always have perfect resources and you are always wonderful about sharing!!!

  3. I really like the way your powerpoint "forces" the child to look at each letter/sound as it is added to the word. So many times I have had kids that will just say the first word they think of that starts with that letter. I don't know how many times I have had to say "Look at the whole word." After reading this, I am thinking that they needed help looking at the whole word. Great post!
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher


We love to hear from you! We will reply through email or in a comment above. Thank you!!