Phonics Sounds Ordering Guide

Importance of Phonics

Research has proven that phonics needs to be taught within our classrooms.  There are different approaches to teaching phonics, which are outlined in the link below:


Different Approaches to Teaching Phonics and Findings


Kinderplans Phonics Program

The Kinderplans phonics program uses a combination of these approaches.  The video below provides an informative description of the program.


Ordering of Teaching Phonics

How should different phonics sounds be introduced in terms of ordering?  I have often been perplexed by this myself.  Below is a guide that will provide assistance with planning.  I have also provided visuals that I use when I go beyond teaching just the consonants and vowels.  The Kinderplans alphabet program provides effective visuals for teaching the consonants and vowels.Letter Ff



Single consonants are the easiest to learn.  Consonants can be divided into three categories:


Stretchable Consonants

These are the easiest for the learners to remember and hear.  When you say the letter name you can hear its corresponding sound be stretching the end.

l, f, m, n, r, s, v, z

Plosive ConsonantsLetter Bb

You can hear the sound in these letter names as well but air flow does not allow you to stretch the sounds.

b, d, j, k, p, t and q

Tricky Consonants

The consonants below are trickier because you cannot hear the sound within the letter name.

c, g, h, w, x and y

VowelsLetter Hh

Short vowels are taught first because phonics rules often determine if a long vowel sound is made.


Consonant Digraphs

The next group of sounds to be taught are the vowel digraphs.  These are consonants that come together to make a special sound.    The most common digraphs are outlined below:

sh, ch, wh, th

Consonant Blends

This is when two are more consonants are blended together.  Some common consonant blends are outlined below:sh and magic e

bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fr, tr, fl, gl, gr, pl, pr, sl, sm, sp, st


Final “e”

The next group, are the final “e” words.  This is when the long vowel sound is taught in relation to the “e” being placed in the final position of the word.

make, pine, kite, cone


Vowel Digraphs

This is when two vowels are together in a word.  These together can make a long vowel sound heard by the first vowel, but this does not always occur.

boat, read, pay, feet, Vowel Digraphs


Vowel Diphthong

Is a combination of two adjacent sounds within one syllable.  Examples of vowel diphthongs are outlined below:

out, soil, toy, haul



The letter “r” controls the sounds the vowel is going to make.

teacher, shark, star, birdr-controllers


Fabulous Freebies – Phonics Visuals

In the link below are visuals that I use to teach other phonics sounds once my learners have master the consonant and vowels sounds.


Phonics Visuals


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Rhyming Activities

I have noticed that children are arriving in our classrooms with limited exposure to the concept of rhyme.  Exposure to nursery rhymes and rhyming books are becoming more limited in the home environment.  This makes the literacy journey even more challenging for these learners.  I have been spending a significant amount of time providing this exposure to my learners.  Below you will find activities that I have been employing to assist them.


Rhyming Books

Rhyming Books

My Favorite Rhyming Books

These are a few of my favorite rhyming books.  Allowing students to hear rhyme within literature selections is a significant step forward in developing the learner’s ability to distinguish rhyme.

1.  Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson – great to use with the Fall theme

2.  Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson – great to use for Halloween

3.  Sheep in a Jeep – by Nancy E. Shaw

4.  I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More – by Karen Beaumont

5.  Silly Sally – by Audrey Wood

6.  Llama Llama Red Pajama – by Anna Dewdney

7.  Llama Llama Misses Mama – by Anna Dewdney

8.  Rhyming Dust Bunnies – by Jan Thomas

9.  Jamberry – by Bruce Degan

10. Giraffes Can’t Dance – by Giles Anderae

11. There’s a Bear on My Chair – by Ross Collins


Rhyming Game

Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

Rhyming Dictation

I have been working with small groups to develop their ability to hear rhyming words.  I dictate words that rhyme and those that don’t.  The students must acknowledge if the words rhyme or not by telling me “yes” or “no”.  I also dictate three words and the students must tell me which two rhyme.  In the link below you will find some examples that I have used.


Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

This is a game I play in a small group setting.  I place a the spinner board in a paper plate and attach a spinner.  We discuss the pictures first.  Each student is given a small picture game card and bingo chips.  Each player takes a turn to initiate the spinner.  Each student decides which picture rhymes on their game card and places a bingo chip on the corresponding picture.  This is done as a group initially.  After, they play with partners.


Rhyming Matching Board Game 

This is another game I play in a small group initially. I copied and placed the rhyming pictures on poster board marked off with a grid. The students drew a card and placed the picture beside the rhyming match. (example:  clown and crown, ball and doll).

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game


Word Work

Each day we print on our erasable whiteboards.  I introduce a word family and have the students only change the initial letter. They learn that this not only changes what the word says but also that all the words rhyme (examples:  cat, bat, mat, sat, etc.)


Rhyming Mini Unit – Special Deal Until End of November

This mini-unit is not offered as an individual purchase but is only available to members that purchase a membership.  For the month of October and November, I have decided to offer this as a single purchase (if you are an existing member, you will already be able to access this under the heading Literacy Centers).

Rhyming Mini Unit

Rhyming Mini Unit


More Information on the Rhyming Mini Unit


Fabulous Freebies!

Each blog post I l also try to include some fabulous freebies.  In the link below you will also find some free rhyming resources.


Free Rhyming Resources


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Lesson Plans – Emotions

Emotions-Book-CoverIn my school we teach personal development for an hour each week, which I mentioned in the previous blog post.  I am sharing my plans with newsletter subscribers.  Below you will find my plans based on the theme “My Emotions”.  The lessons include books to use that were accessible in my school library, online books and videos.


Emotion One – Sad


1.  “When I Feel Sad” by Cornelia Maude Spelman

2.  “My Friend Is Sad” by Mo Willems

3.  “Franklin’s Bad Day” by Paulette Bourgeois (online video)



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel sad when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions, which is found in the link below.Howard Wilgglebottom


My Book About Emotions – Version 1 – Complete the Sentence


My Book About Emotions – Version 2 – Dotted Lined Sheet


Emotion Two – Happy


1.  Howard B. Wigglebottom Listens to His Heart by Howard Binkow 

2.  My Heart is Laughing by Rose Lagercrantz



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel happy when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


Emotion Three – Anger


1.  Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns to Back Away by Howard Binkow I Feel Scared

2.  When Sophie Gets Angry–Really, Really Angry… by Molly Ban




On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel angry when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


Emotion Four – Scared


1.  Howard B. Wigglebottom Learns About Fears and Courage by Howard Binkow 

2.  When I Feel Scared by Cornelia Maude SpelmanWigglebottom Courage



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel scared when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


Emotion Five – Jealousy


1.  When I Feel Jealous by Cornelia Maude Spelman


 Video – Understanding Jealousy


Video Snow White Fairy Tale



On chart paper the teacher scribes what students orally dictate to complete this sentence “I feel jealous when ….”.  Do a few together. Students complete the sentence independently in their My Book About Emotions.


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Making Friends

In our school we have Personal Development for an hour a week. I have begun my preparation and will be sharing these with my

Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend

Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend

subscribers.  Here are my first month’s plans.  The focus for the first month is “Making New Friends”.  I hope you find these ideas helpful!


Lesson Plan One 

Read the book “Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend” or watch the video below:


Scaredy Squirrel Makes A Friend


Discuss the book “Scaredy Squirrel Makes a New Friend” and how they can make friends by just giving others a chance as shown in theOutdoor Activities Pictures book. Discuss how enjoying common activities is a way in making new friends. Display the pictures found in the link below. Each child chooses one of their preferred outdoor activities. Children with the same choice activities gather in a group. The group goes outside together partaking in the chosen activity. After, they must report their findings. Focus on the concept that making new friends often involves meeting somebody who enjoys similar activities and giving others a chance to be a friend.


Outdoor Activity Pictures


Lesson Plan Two

Students watch online audio book “Franklin’s New Friend” found in the link below:


Franklin’s New Friend Franklin's New Friend


Again, reiterate the importance of being open to meeting new friends and giving them chances as stressed in the book. Review how finding people with similar interests allows them an opportunity to meet a new friend. Have them brainstorm for words or phrases that complete the following, “I like to…..” and scribe these onto chart paper. Have the students complete the sheet below by continuing the sentence as was done in the classroom. The students could use the chart as a guide.  After, have the students share these to learn who enjoys similar activities. These can be viewed as possible new friends. 


Writing Template 1


Lesson Plan ThreeWriting Template 2

The focus will be on “What Makes A Good Friend”?  This will be followed-up by discussion.  View the videos below and discuss.

Video 1


Video 2



Read book “I’m A Good Friend”  by David Parker. Brainstorm for words or phrases that complete the sentence “A Good Friend…..”  and scribe the phrases on chart paper.


Lesson Plan FourWriting Template 2

Students draw a name from a container to partner with and choose a free time activity (puzzles, blocks, etc.) to do together.  Allow about 15 minutes of free time partaking in the chosen activity. Discuss their experience.


After, add more ideas to the chart “A Good Friend……”


Students complete written page below.


Writing Template 2


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Pre-Kindergarten Computational Thinking Activities

I just attended a Personal Development session which addressed the importance of students acquiring computational thinking and coding skills.  We discussed how 40% of the current jobs will become automated within the next 10 – 20 years.  Fortunately, the role of a teacher is at a low risk of being replaced by robots.  You can breath a sigh of relief in that regard. However, we do need to become accountable in preparing our students for the future.

Kodable Game

Kodable Game


How Can We Help Pre-Kindergarten Students Acquire Computational Thinking?

I have outlined activities I plan to implement within the next few weeks.  These activities do not require your students to be readers.



Kodable can be downloaded as an App placed on your iPads.  My school doesn’t have iPads but instead we have netbooks.   The video below is the best I have found in explaining how to use Kodable.


Quick Tutorial On How to Use Kodable 


Where to Begin?

Day 1 – Physical Movements

Prior to moving to the computer, I intend to have the students practice following commands using the terms “right and left”.  I will give the following commands and the students are to follow these.  This would be great to do during Physical Education:


Command One:  Give students practice using their right and left hands and feet.


Command Two:  Give oral directions such as outlined below:

Take two steps right, two steps left, two steps right and two steps leftComputational Paper Game


Explain that later on they will be using a computer and they will have to make similar commands, which is called coding.


Transferring Commands to Paper

I am going to display the different paths in the links below on my Smart Board.  We will discuss verbally how we are going to form commands to direct the girl to her house.  After we will use visual arrows to show her the way.  These activities and paths are similar to ones they will find in “kodable”.


Command Path One

Command Path Two

Command Path Three


Transferring Commands to iPad or Computer

The link directly takes you the beginners game which begins with Smeeborg.  I placed this link on my Google classroom set on each student’s netbook.  This allows them quick access.


Kodable Link


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Bear Snores On Literacy Math Unit

My goal for this coming year is to create more literature based mini-units based on specific literature selections.  The one I created over the December break was based on the

Color Version

Color Version

literature selection “Bear Snores On” by Karma Wilson.  I felt this would really correlate with the concept of hibernation and what animals do in the winter.


Shared Reading

This mini-unit includes an emergent reader that is a simple retelling of the literature selection.  It is offered in both color and black and white.  I use these readers for both shared and guided reading.  I project the color version on my Smart Board, enabling all the students to view the print.  I model the reading process on specific skills as outlined in the unit.  A page from the color version of the reader is displayed on the right.


Guided Reading

I would generally have five students within a group completing the guided reading activities outlined below.

There is a black and white version of the reader that I use for guided reading.  I always like to include an interactive component in each reader. The interactive component in this reader has the students cutting and pasting the correct animal that joined bear in his cave. The students are required to match the words found within the reader to those displayed on the picture.  It also requires them to apply what they know about beginning letters and sounds.

Black and White Version

Black and White Version

I like doing this during guided reading because each student finishes the interactive component at different times.  This allows me to have an individual student read the selection to me, once they have finished cutting and pasting the correct pictures.  During this time, I can assess what skills they have acquired.


Literacy Centers

I have four Literacy Centers with duplicate games. There are two to three playing partners at each center playing the same game.  The students would rotate to each center. The entire process takes around 30 to 40 minutes.


Literacy Center One – Letter and Sound Identification

The playing partners would take turns rolling a die.  They would move around the game board accordingly and print the initial letter sound represented on the picture that they landed on. They could use the dotted printing sheet provided. There are also picture playing cards that can be used.  The playing partners would take turns drawing a picture card and print the letter sound represented.  Again, the dotted printing sheet could be used.

Alphabet Game Board

Picture Cards

Dotted Printing Sheet










Literacy Center Two – Rhyming Game

In this Center student partners take a turn spinning a top.  They will place a bingo chip or another object on the picture that rhymes on their game card.  Once their game card has been completed, the game is over.

Rhyming Game

Rhyming Game


Literacy Center Three – Letter Naming

The playing partners take a turn rolling a die and moving their game player accordingly.  The partners must name the letter they landed on and print this letter on the printing sheet provided.

Letter Identification Game

Letter Identification Game

 Sight Words








Literacy Center Four –  Sight Word Identification 

Math Ten Frames Worksheet

Math Ten Frames Worksheet

The teacher would print the focus sight word(s) on the game board provided. Again, the students would roll a die, move their game player accordingly and say the name of the sight word they landed on.



The students would cut and paste or print the correct number that correlates to the ten frames displayed on the sheet.


Location of New Mini-Theme 

The new mini-theme is found within the Winter theme unit.


Bear Snores on Mini-Theme


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Kindergarten Word Wall

The list below displays the high frequency words I use.  Your list may be different, but I thought you would be interested in the ones I use.  I also thought I would share the dictionary I use that students can refer to when they are writing.  I have included different versions of the dictionary.

Word Wall Words

Word Wall Words

Word Wall Words and Dictionary Booklets

Below are links to the versions of the dictionaries your students could use as a reference for writing.


Version 1:  Is meant to be copied as a full-page book format.  It has lines where you can print your own words


Version 2:  Is meant to be copied as a half-page book format.  It also has lines where you can print your own words.


Version 3:  Is meant to be copied as a full-page book format.  It includes the words displayed above.

Spelling Dictionary

Spelling Dictionary


Version 4:  Is meant to be copied as a half-page book format.  It includes the words displayed above.  This is the one I use.


 Word Wall Dictionary – Blank Page – Booklet Cut in Half

Word Wall Dictionary – Blank Page – Full Page Booklet


Word Wall Dictionary – Word Wall Words Included – Half Page


Word Wall Dictionary – Word Wall Words Included – Full Page


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Common Core Planning

After so many years of experience, I rarely create a lesson solely based on meeting curriculum outcomes. I found this often led to rather stilted lessons.  I prefer to create engaging lessons related to a specific topic or theme with related reading selections and follow-up activities.  From there, I would evaluate all the core outcomes that would be met from the lessons I developed.


Choosing A Topic or Theme

During the later part of October I like to focus on the theme of Pumpkins, which is used in conjunction to the Fall and Halloween themes.  The video below outlines how I employ integrated activities that meet many core outcomes related to this topic or theme.

Common Core Planning

Common Core Planning



Meeting Core Outcomes Planning


Read Alouddownload

One of the reading selections chosen for this topic is How Many Seeds In A Pumpkin? written by Margaret McNamara.   This specific book is great to use for integrating math and literacy.  It addresses the math outcomes outlined below:


1.  size comparisons

2.  estimation

3.  one-to-one number counting correspondence

Pumpkin Counting Emergent Reader

Pumpkin Counting Emergent Reader

4.  skip counting


The students can engage in the activities found in the book.


Shared and Guided Reading

There are a number of emergent readers found within the Fall/Halloween theme unit but the one I chose integrates math. In the black and white version of the reader “Down At the Pumpkin Patch”, the students were to draw the correct amount of pumpkins as identified in the text.  Both the number word and written as a numeral versions are available.

Interactive Component of Black and White Version of Reader

Interactive Component of Black and White Version of Reader

I display the color version of the reader on the Smart Board, which is used for shared reading.  During this time we count words, identify sight words and work on other related beginning reading skills.  During guided reading time the students work in a small group to complete the interactive component where they are required to draw and color the correct amount of pumpkins according to the text.  After they complete the interactive component, they read to me and a partner.


 Related Art/Craft Project

The students drew and colored with wax crayons their own pumpkin patch as displayed below. After, I washed over their picture using thin black paint.  The wax crayons resisted absorbing the paint.


pumpkin patch art

pumpkin patch art

pumpkin patch art

pumpkin patch art


Common Core PostersCommon-Core-Retelling 2

On the Kinderplans site you will find posters that can be displayed in the classroom as a reference to what standards you are working towards meeting.


Common Core Posters


More Ideas

More Fall/Pumpkin theme ideas can be found in the link below:


More Fall/Pumpkin Theme Ideas


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Reading Readiness for Pre-Kindergarten

Research has shown that students who become readers are able to complete assessments successfully that include the skills outlined below.  It is important that students be systematically taught these skills within daily instructional time.

The Kinderplans program includes activities that focus on developing these skills.

Letter/Sound Isolation

Letter/Sound Isolation

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness is a broad term used where students exhibit the ability to hear and manipulate sounds. There is no connection in identifying specific letters but is exclusively based on the auditory component.  These skills are outlined below:

a)  Word detection is the ability to hear words within a sentence.  Dictate a simple sentence and have students identify each word.

Word Detection/Print Awareness

Word Detection/Print Awareness

b)  Syllable detection is the ability to clap or tap syllables within words.  This can also include compound words.

c)  Phoneme detection is the ability to hear sounds within words, for example, the word mat /m/a/t /has three phonemes.  In Kindergarten or Preschool the focus would be on hearing the initial sound first.  This would be followed by hearing ending and middle sounds.

Phoneme Detection Using A Puppet

Phoneme Detection
Using A Puppet

d)  Rhyme detection is the ability to identify rhyming pairs and also able to generate rhyming pairs.

Rhyming Picture Cards

Rhyming Picture Cards

e)  Syllable and phoneme blending is the ability to hear individual sounds and syllables and blend these back together to identify the related word.

Initial Sound Sorting Cards

Initial Sound Sorting Cards



Is the ability to name letters and identify their related sounds.  If a child has developed good phonological awareness skills and is able to identify the letters of the alphabet and their related sound, they should be able to begin printing and reading simple CVC words by the end of Kindergarten.  There are 44 English phonemes but the Kinderplans program only focuses on 26 of them.  I teach the other phonemes in grade one.


44 phonemes


Print Awareness

The student is able to track words, move from left to right and top to bottom when reading.

Initial Sounds Sorting Workbook Page

Initial Sounds Sorting Workbook Page
Students cut a paste pictures representing
the initial focus sound.


Vocabulary Development

a)  The student has the ability to name objects, express feelings and actions.

b)  The student is able to complete an oral cloze activity (word deleted and able to generate one that makes sense).


All the examples displayed are

taken from the Pre-K curriculum.


More Information About the Program



Vocabulary -Feelings

Vocabulary -Feelings

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Substitute Plans

My students really enjoy hearing all the “Pete the Cat” stories.  I decided to create an emergency substitute lesson plan based on the story “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” written by Eric Litwin.  The emergency lesson plan is found in the link below:Pete the Cat Activities


Pete The Cat And His Groovy Button Mini Unit


Importance of Read-Alouds

The purpose of read-alouds is for students to be exposed to rich literature, to develop comprehension strategies through teacher reading, questioning and vocabulary development.  The selection can be read numerous times with focus on different comprehension strategies and vocabulary development.  The success of read-alouds depends on how the teacher structures carefully crafted questions.
I always begin a lesson with a read-aloud.  In this lesson the book is “Pete the Cat and His Groovy Buttons”.
The video of the book can also displayed on your interactive board.


Video of the Book


Pre-Reading Activities

-Discuss with the students a problem they may have experienced.  Discuss how they solved the problem.

-Do a picture walk of the literature selection and predict what the problem might be by viewing the pictures.  How might the problem be resolved?

-Read each page and predict how Pete will react to his problem.  Discuss how he reacted to his problem.

-Discuss the lesson that the author wishes to convey in this story.


Interactive Component

Interactive Component

What Is Shared Reading?

The purpose of shared reading is for the teacher to model the reading process. She/he points to words and demonstrates how text moves from left to right and top to bottom. The text should be large enough so all the students can see the words. Shared reading selections should also be repetitive so that young learners can participate. In the initial stages of learning to read the students will be reading from memory rather than using decoding strategies. This is the reason the text is kept repetitive and simplistic. All emergent readers found on the Kinderplans site have been designed to be used for Pre-Kindergarten to develop early reading skills.


Shared Reading the Interactive Reader “My Groovy Buttons”

Many of the Kinderplans lessons use an emergent reader that is related to the “Read Aloud” selection as a means to teach many of the curriculum outcomes.  The emergent reader found within the mini-lesson was created for the purpose of shared and guided reading activities related to the read-aloud.

-Project emergent reader “My Groovy Buttons” on the Smart Board or in a pocket chart with the words enlarged.

-Read the title of the selection.  Do a picture walk of the selection and discuss what might be happening on each page and how it might relate to the story you just read to Color-Number-Buttonsthem, “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin.  Discuss the interactive component, which is to color, add facial features and the correct amount of buttons.  The photograph above displays a completed page.

-Read the selection to the children modeling the reading process completing the interactive component as you read (add buttons and facial features to each picture).

-Read again, choosing different students to be the word pointer.


Guided Reading

I meet with small groups of students working through the following activities:

-students add correct amount of buttons on the shirt and complete drawing their facial features on the emergent reader “My Groovy Buttons” reader.

-practice reading the book to themselves, then when ready can read it to the teacher.

-After, can read the book to another student.


Writer’s Workshop
-Students write what they think of “Pete the Cat”.  Complete the pattern: Pete the cat is ____________.Button-Subtraction
-Share what they wrote



Review Numeral Identification

-Distribute small math manipulatives.  Display numbers found on page  7 and the children display that many.  After, can complete sheet found on page 8.


Introducing Subtraction

-Print subtraction sentences on the board.  After, each sentence have the students use their manipulatives to act out the sentence (start with first number and take away the other number).  Explain how this is related to the story you read this morning “Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons” by Eric Litwin


Independent Seat Work
The students could complete the subtraction sheet.  They would cross out the buttons that need to be subtracted in order to find the answer.  The teacher may need to do this work together as a class.

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