Wow! I haven’t blogged in awhile and that is because I have been B-U-S-Y! I have an AWESOME class this year! I couldn’t be more excited! I may have taken a break from blogging but I am addicted to Instagram and post there more regularly. Instagram is super fun (and FREE)! I would love for you to follow me on there if you don’t already. And if you already do – THANKS! 🙂
And now on with the main reason for this post…
Last year I had to teach Saxon phonics. Hated it. HATED. IT. The lessons were so painfully dry and boring. I tried to make it fun when I could. I acted silly when it was appropriate. I tried, oh how I tried so hard to make it work. I hated those worksheets – the coding – UGH! And then there were the questions/stories on the back. A lot of my students could not read those independently. Teaching a skill in one lesson and then never really going back to it (except to write the sound) wasn’t cutting it for my kiddos. This year (thankfully) I do not have to teach Saxon phonics and have returned to following the phonics sequence in Scott Foresman Reading Street.
This year my team and I were pretty much told to go back to following the teacher’s manual but to also cover the common core (we have an old edition of Reading Street – not the nice, new, common core version). My first couple of years teaching I followed the teacher’s manual pretty much as written because I was trying to learn what the heck I was doing. After that I began supplementing and using wonderful resources from TPT as well.
So this year I have been pretty much following the teacher’s manual word by word up to this point. We do every single worksheet that goes with the series – the workbook pages, the spelling sheets, the grammar sheets…. and my kiddos are so great about it. They haven’t complained once, bless their little hearts. But… it’s getting pretty boring folks. The worksheets do nothing for my struggling readers (which is half of my class) and I feel some more meaningful activities need to be happening. Some of the read alouds (from the Read Aloud Anthology) go way over my kiddos heads. Following the teacher’s manual makes me realize just how weak Reading Street is when it comes to Phonemic Awareness and Phonics. Therefore I am going to start using the Phonological Awareness Curriculum from Hello Two Peas in a Pod. It is broken down into monthly packs but I opted for the bundle back during the Back to School sale (plus I used some TPT credits!). This is going to provide my students with so much more P.A. practice than just the half of page Reading Street provides. Plus, I love how it is tied to a read aloud. Way more fun! I printed it, laminated the front and back cover, printed the monthly title pages on colored cardstock, and bound it. (Okay….my husband actually did all of that for me!)
Since teaching phonics strictly using Reading Street I was reminded how weak it is and how it has to be supplemented. Sorry folks, but just following the two measly pages in the teacher’s manual (most of the time you just write some words up on the board and tell the students the sound) isn’t doing it for me or my struggling kiddos. I found myself missing, yes MISSING, some, SOME components of Saxon Phonics. I can’t believe I just said that. A pig just flew by, I swear. While I hated the coding portion of the worksheets I did actually like the sound review because my students needed that. I decided to whip up some daily phonics review sheets that are similar in style to a Saxon Phonics worksheet but I took out all of that annoying coding business! This is what I came up with.
I created review sheets for each of the six stories in unit 1 of Reading Street for four out of five days of the week (Friday is our test day, so I won’t do a review sheet then). Basically, each day after teaching the phonics skill I will use these sheets to review with my students.
At the top of the page I have a strip where students will practice writing the letter/sound of the week. The first 10 questions cover sounds. I am following Reading Street’s phonics sequence (which by the way – is the same no matter what version you have) so the first story focuses on short a and final -ck. Two of the sounds I will ask my students to write will be the /a/ sound and the /ck/ sound. I will then review other letter sounds. (Once we have learned more sounds like blends, digraphs, endings, etc. I will review individual letter sounds less and less unless my students still need practice with certain letters.)
I have included two words on every sheet so that students can practice counting syllables. The words I chose are…the Amazing Words from the reading series! I find I don’t do a whole lot with the Amazing Words, so I decided to incorporate them on the review sheets so that I can again go over the meaning of the words.
The middle column of the paper has students practice their phonics skills (both past and the skills being currently taught) by spelling words I call out. The bottom part of this section covers rhyming words or uppercase/lowercase letter practice up until the point that endings are introduced and then it covers adding endings onto words (-s, -ing, etc.).
The third column is different every day. The students might have to circle pictures that have a certain sound, look at a picture and circle the initial, medial, or final sound, write words in ABC order, etc. This section will always be to practice skills of the week or review skills from past weeks.
I made an on grade level version (which you see above) and a below grade level version (seen below). The below grade level version has students fill in the blanks to spell the words in the middle column rather than them having to write the entire word by themselves. Some of my kiddos will need this version!
The great thing about the two versions is that they are the exact same questions and skills. The directions are the same for both versions. There is little difference in the appearance of the page. Hopefully my kiddos won’t notice the difference and if they do – everyone is still practicing the exact same thing (just in a different format) and I will be sure to tell them that.
The format for phonics in Reading Street is usually:
Day 1 – Introduce new skill
Day 2 – Introduce second skill
Day 3 – Review skills from Day 1 and 2
Day 4 – Review skills from previous week
Therefore my daily review sheets follow the same format.
I also included an answer key for each day so that I will know what sounds/words to ask my students to write/spell.
I made daily phonics review sheets for the entire first unit of Reading Street. The great thing is – there is no mention of the story of the week anywhere on the student worksheets so you can use these no matter what version of Reading Street you have! (I checked the common core version and YES the phonics skills are the same in my version (2008) and the common core version!) These would work for teachers who do not use Reading Street, however, I am betting that whatever reading series you use does not follow the exact same phonics sequence.
My own class is actually on the story Animal Park this week so I will be working hard to make the unit 2 review sheets before next week. I will post those once they are ready as well. Unit 1 is now available on Teachers Pay Teachers and includes 85 pages! Click the image below to see it on TPT and download a preview!
I hope this kind of makes sense! If you have any questions, I would be happy to answer!