Teacher Tips!

"Education should teach people how to think - not what to think."





Page Index

    Good for You! (alternatives to "good job!")
I Can Do It Myself: Independent Reading (PowerPoint)

Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

                        Phonics and Decoding Presentation
                    What is Phonemic Awareness?
Phonemic Awareness and the Alphabetic Principle
                    Research Says . . .
                    How Do We Develop Phonemic Awareness?
                    Read Aloud Books for Phonemic Awareness
                    Phonemic Awareness Mat (CVC)
                    Phonemic Awareness Mat (CVCe)
                    Short Vowel Bingo
Rhyme Time (Bingo)
Vowel Sounds Chart

Literacy Lessons
Cut-up Sentences Book Cover
Cut-up Sentences Letter
                  Daily Writing Lesson Book Cover
                  Data Analysis Form
                  Elkonin Boxes (Directions)
                  Elkonin Boxes for Spelling
                  I Have Read These Books
Language Prompt
What Can I Do? (Book Bag Insert)
Weekly Record of Writing Vocabulary
Writing Vocabulary Chart
My Phonics Sticker Book
Alphabet Stickers

Homework and Parent Communication

Weekly Progress Report






Good For You!
Alternatives to "good job!"

That's great!
Keep it up!
Good job!
Nice going!
You've got it now!
I like that!
That's clever!
Share this with the class!
Good point!
Nice work!
Good thinking!
You outdid yourself today!
Much better!
That's right!
Thank you!
What neat work!
You're right!






Phonemic Awareness and the Alphabetic Principle: A Joyful Noise

(This is a PowerPoint presentation about phonemic awareness. Feel free to use it for staff development and parent education.)

What is Phonemic Awareness?

Phonemic awareness may be defined as the understanding that speech is made up of separate sounds or phonemes. In order to demonstrate phonemic awareness, children may be required to perform certain tasks that manipulate language:

blending phonemes to create a word
counting the number of phonemes they hear in a word
segmenting phonemes of a spoken word
phoneme substitution
phoneme addition
phoneme deletion

Examples of each of these tasks may be found in most reading/phonics/phonemic awareness books for teachers. 

Research says . . .

Stanovich's (1986) research indicates that phonemic awareness is the most potent predictor of success in learning to read . . . and it is more highly related to reading than tests of general intelligence, reading readiness and comprehension. Marilyn Adams (1990) goes on to say that phonemic awareness if the most important core and causal factor separating normal and disabled readers. She further reports that the lack of phonemic awareness has been identified as the most powerful determinant of the likelihood of failure. Ehri (1984) states that phonemic awareness is central in learning to read and spell.

Dr. Hallie Yopp reported the following research findings
in a lecture at SDSU:

Performance on phonemic awareness tasks and reading and spelling achievement are highly related.

Some illiterate adults lack phonemic awareness.

The correlation between phonemic awareness and reading and spelling achievement remain significant even when intelligence and socio economic status are controlled.

Experimental studies reveal a causal relationship: phonemic awareness facilitates reading and spelling acquisition.

The importance of phonemic awareness in reading achievement cuts across instructional approaches.

How do We Develop Phonemic Awareness?

This section will definitely take some time! As a former kindergarten teacher (back in the dark ages!), I am a firm believer in developing phonemic awareness and playing with the sounds of language before focusing on print symbols.

Read-Aloud Books for
Phonemic Awareness Task Development

Chapman, Cheryl. (1993). Pass the Fritters, Critters. New York: Scholastic, Inc.: rhyming.

Jordano, Kimberly and Callella-Jones, Trisha, Fall Phonemic Awareness Songs & Rhymes. Cypress, CA: Creative Teaching Press.

Most, Bernard. (1996) Cock-A-Doodle-Moo! Harcourt Brace: phoneme addition and substitution.

Salisbury, Kent. (1998). There's a Dragon in my Wagon! New York: McClanahan Book Company, Inc.: phoneme substitution.
  . There's a Bug in my Mug!
  . A Bear Ate my Pear!
  . My Nose is a Hose!

Slepian, Jan and Seidler, A. (1967) The Hungry Thing. Scholastic: phoneme substitution.
Altoona Baboona: phoneme substitution
The Disappearing Alphabet: phoneme deletion

Please go to Alphabet Avenue and Word Way for more activities that deal with letter recognition, rhyming and working with word chunks.





Phonemic Awareness Mat

Phonemic Awareness Mat CVCe

Reproduce and laminate these mats to teach and reinforce the concept of blending sounds to produce spoken words. The next step is to "push" letters to spell words.



 Short Vowel Bingo

Reproduce and laminate these colorful bingo cards to use with a small group or with children who are having difficulty hearing and reproducing short vowel sounds.



Rhyme Time (Bingo)

Duplicate the six bingo cards and instructions, mount on vellum and laminate. Reinforce rhyming as a phonemic awareness skill with this colorful game.



 Cut-up Sentences Letter  

This letter provides the directions for parents. However, I have found that with little or no direction, most primary teachers will use this strategy with their at-risk groups to facilitate retelling, summarizing, and for reassembling and reading sentences from their guided reading extensions. Copy this to your computer so that you can insert the individual student's name into the letter.


Data Analysis Form

Elkonin Boxes (Directions for use)

Elkonin Boxes for Spelling

I Have Read These Books:
Blackline master for record keeping by child/parents.


What Can I Do?
(Book Bag Insert)

This is a black-line reproducible for guiding parents of early and emergent readers. Simply reproduce on vellum, laminate and insert in each child's book bag.

Weekly Record of Writing Vocabulary

Keep track of the words your students use in their writing. When you get an initial writing sample from the Observation Survey, write all correctly spelled words on this chart. Keep this record handy when thinking about your lesson plans.

Writing Vocabulary Chart

Fill in this chart on a weekly basis, adding new words that your emergent writers record correctly in their journals. The chart shows change and growth over time. It's a good one to show parents and use for planning your lessons.


My Phonics Sticker Book

I have found that kindergarten and first grade classroom teachers love to use this little book with their struggling students. Use with the stickers to the right.

Alphabet Stickers

These are actually 1 x 2 5/8 laser labels with assorted pictures on them. Use them when you make your alphabet book.


Syllable Snap and Tap

This is a simple phonemic awareness activity and can usually be mastered before hearing individual phoneme sounds. Show the children the pictures, discussing the name of each. Hold up one picture and ask the children to snap (or clap or tap) the number of parts (syllables) they hear. Demonstrate and clap with them the first time. Go through the cards quickly on an individual basis with a child who is experiencing difficulty. Other pictures are available on Alphabet Avenue, Blends Boulevard and Word Way. Move the cards to a pocket chart activity for independent practice.


Handwriting Activity

This is a black-line reproducible to use with emergent writers for practicing letters. Includes the head, belt and foot line image.




Homework and Parent Communication


Weekly Progress Report

This is a black-line reproducible for whole class or single student. Use as a communication tool about completion of class work and to monitor behavior.


Homework Survival Kit






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