For the last 3 years, we've had to supplement phonics instruction with phonics activities and games because we didn't have a reading program. Every week, we were scouring different blogs and TpT looking for meaningful activities that would support student learning. I've got a few phonics activities and games that you can use in your classroom immediately. This post contains Amazon affiliate links, where I'm reimbursed a small fee to share the link with you.
Any of the games can be used with paper, a whiteboard, or wall pops, which I swear by in my classroom. The wall pops just stick to your guided reading table and work best with light-colored markers. Side Note: Be very strict with your kids and don't allow them to pick at them so they'll last a long time!
One of the easiest and no prep. activities is what I call “The Roller Coaster.” Basically, students grab a piece of paper or a white board and draw a bunch of loops that look like a roller coaster. Then, students will write their spelling words or sight words on the roller coaster. Next, Early finishers mix-and-mingle around the room and take turns reading the roller coasters of their classmates. It's fun, engaging, and something different than the same boring worksheets that so many reading programs come with.
This game has always been a class-favorite and is so easy to play. Kids love that it's fun and I love that they're practicing work work without even knowing it. The easiest way to play is with 3 letters. The first person spells a word with 3 letters. The second person is allowed to change just one letter to make a new word. So you can see the partner changed cat to mat by change the “c” to an “m.” The game ends when someone can no longer create a new word. You draw a line at the bottom of the list and start again. The 3 letter version works best for K and 1st. Want a challenge? Try it with 4 letters, which is perfect for all of the those long vowel combinations. Want a little more structure, grab this Word Worms game in my early finishers pack.
This summer, I made it my mission to create pamphlets that I could use with each skill. Although they align perfectly with the 2nd grade version of Benchmark Universe, they can be used with any reading program. They're great because they cover identifying the sound and spelling with different activities, work work, reading comprehension, and applying what they know about the phonics skill into writing.
The best part is they can be used to introduce a new sound and spelling during whole group instruction, can be used to reteach in small groups, or can even be used for independent practice during literacy workshop or even homework. You can see how I use them in this video.
I've shared some more games in this video.