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Phonics Made Fun

Do you want to know why I'm so excited? I'm going back to first. I love first because I LOVE phonics. 
I'm not sure I was even taught phonics in elementary school. I can remember going to college and being embarrassed because I couldn't read a word while I was reading aloud.

Let's share our favorite phonics resources! I'll go first.

I'm pretty sure that the kinesthetic piece is missing in many programs but it's a MUST. I have found that using a different modalities helps activate every learning channel. Children learn with their eyes, ears, mouth and body. My students are usually in constant motion so it's only natural for them to love adding movement. Using all modalities is a way to make learning fun and engaging while also meeting the needs of the individual learners. 

Visual Learning
Visual learning can be supported by using letter shapes, pictures/posters. I can't wait to make these photo-phonics cards.
Auditory Learning
Auditory learning can be supported by saying the sound in different voices (loud, soft, alien style, high pitched or low pitched etc.)  I use a Johnny Can Spell CD.
Kinesthetic Learning
Kinesthetic learning can be reinforced by tracing the letter shape, scribing in sand, painting, play-dough or using movements such as Jolly Phonics or HeidiSongs. I also love these dough stampers.

Other Favorite Resources

Heidisongs- Sounds Fun Phonics is a MUST
Secret stories- Love Love Love
Circus Vowels- Wonderful picture book that teaches long and short vowels
Jolly Phonics- K teachers use this at our school and I'm so glad because I go over it as well
Youtube Videos like this one

Children learn in different ways and what works for one child may be less effective for another. I know for sure that I'm a kinesthetic learner. I truly believe in a multi-sensory approach. Do you teach phonics in a systematic and highly structured approach? Do you have a favorite resource?
Please share!

I'll pick a winner for commenting. $10 to my tpt store!


  1. We use Rigby Star Phonics in kindergarten. Thank you for sharing your phonics resources!


  2. Welcome back to first grade!! I love all of your posts and can't see what you come up with for first!
    -Lovely Nina

  3. As much as I tried to hate it, we use Fundations program in K, 1, & 2 and it is really good. It encompasses all learning modalities and is a pretty thorough program. My ASD kids (even my two nonverbals) did extremely well with this program. It is well worth the investment, especially if you are teaching at a Title 1 school.
    Congrats on being back in First! My favorite grade to teach!

  4. We use No More Letter of the Week in kindergarten to teach the letters and their sounds. Each letter has a quick, 4-line poem, picture and motion to go with it. Our students, even those with learning challenges, quickly associate the motion with the letter sound. We love it!

  5. I have been teaching 3rd and 4th grade for the past 7 years, so I haven't been teaching phonics whole group...only with a small group of strugglers. I did love using Zoo Phonics when I student taught in kindergarten.

  6. Phonics is so much fun to teach! I use a variety of things....The Phonics Dance by Ginny Dowd, Systematic Sequential Phonics by Patricia Cunningham, The Daily 5, and I try to follow the order of teaching phonics from Recipe For Reading.

  7. This is will only be my 2nd year in 3rd grade. The teacher before me using a phonic workbook. When I moved to 3rd grade, the school district purchased the 3rd Saxon Phonics. I learned a great deal. This year I am going to use the Daily 5 with the CAFE and tie in the Saxon Phonics program.

  8. Your classroom looks amazing! I love Heidi's Songs. I have been using them for years and they really help the students!

    Smiling and Shining in Second Grade

  9. I love phonics. I was taught how to read using Hooked on Phonics when I was three. I currently use Project Read in my class.

  10. My school uses Jolly Phonics to teach phonics and they said they love it!

  11. Dont feel bad, I learned whole word when i was little. I didnt learn phonics until college and my first year teaching i still had to take the CD home to memorize how to correctly pronounce the sounds lol. I teach first grade as well and we use Saxon. I love it!

  12. I didn't learn phonics either! I learned whole word and I turned out okay. :) I teach fourth, so I don't do much with phonics. I do hit on phonics with my lower readers, but I don't do much with actual resources.


  13. I think Dr. Jean has some fun songs that little ones love!


  14. Funny how we learn so much as teachers, right? I totally agree that I'm learning things every year WITH my kids. Awesome!

    At my district we use a program called Pathways to Reading. It uses a visual that we call vowel town and sound boards (basically a small, magnetic whiteboard with magnetic letters). Each sound in a word goes on top of a sound dot.

    Mrs. Jones Teaches :o)

  15. We use Saxon Phonics, which is extremely structured and not very engaging or interesting. Luckily, we are able to use it as we see fit in our classrooms. It is definitely a program that needs spicing up, so I have incorporated movements when we review our sounds each day. I also let volunteers come to the board and act as "expert" coders (Saxon uses a coding system). When we review our sight words, I use "boom" cards. They are these glittery cards I made and stick into the stack of words. The kids get to read it really loud and they love when we get to the boom cards. I like your idea of practicing the sounds in different voices/pitches. I may incorporate that into my procedures this year!

    Primarily Speaking

  16. When I taught first grade we used Phonics Lessons by Fountas and Pinnell. My favorite part was the CD that allowed me to make my own materials. I miss first grade and teaching kids to read!!

    Pencils, Books, and Dirty Looks

  17. I know for Spanish, we use Heggerty and Estrellitas for phonics, but in second grade our focus is more English phonics (assuming that the kiddos got the Spanish phonics down already). I am interested to see what others say because we don't have an official English phonics program in the bilingual program, we just pull from what we can.

    Bitty Bilinguals

  18. I taught grade one for eight years and most of it using Open Court which has a very structured phonics program that was particularly beneficial for kids who were from backgrounds which made them "at risk" in Language Arts. The oral exercises that were done every day were excellent. I had to make additions but am a big fan. The research behind the program was substantial, which I didn't fully appreciate until I was doing my masters degree in LA Instruction after using the program for 5 years.

  19. We use Zoo Phonics and a lot of Heidi Songs to reinforce and extend! I am teaching kindergarten though. Have fun teaching first!
    Andrea :)


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