FREE Phonics Fun: Strategies to use NOW!

Sometimes the best strategies are the ones that are the simplest.

Anybody have good old fashioned tricks of the trade that work and require no prep?

I’ve got a few I’ve used over the years.  They are my go to strategies in my classroom and a staple during my phonics instruction…plus, since they are Total Physical Response strategies, they are perfect for my ELL babies!

>>>Arm Segmentation<<<

This one has been with me since the beginning of time….err, my teaching career.  When we break apart words, we break them apart on our arms.

The beginning sound is touched and spoken on the shoulder…

How ’bout my cutie patootie model?  October break calls for models who aren’t firsties! 🙂

The middle sound is touched and spoken on the elbow…

And the ending sound is touched and spoke on the hand.

Then the hand slides from the shoulder down to the hand to blend it all back together.

This strategy is a perfect Total Physical Response strategy that gives my tactile learners some support.  It is also great for asking, “What sound did you hear in the middle of crab?” while touching your elbow, etc….to give them that visual and tactile cue.

Super easy and the kids use it all. the. time.  I see kiddos daily using their arms to break apart words during Writers’ Workshop.  It’s easy to remember and you carry the materials around with you every where you go! 🙂

>>>Break It Down Chant<<<

A few years into teaching, I gained a new teammate who taught us her “Break It Down” chant along with the next chant I’ll share below.  I immediately knew this is what I needed to spice up my phonics and arm segmentation.

Essentially, we do the arm segmentation while chanting the break it down chant.  Here’s how it goes.

*snapping to the beat*
Break it down (snap)
Break it down (snap)
Break.  It. (snap)  Down (snap)
I say the word,
YOU say the sounds.
T: Cab.
S: /c/ /a/ /b/

The kids go cRaZy over this one.  Seriously.  And then when we need to transfer segmentation into spelling words it works so beautifully.  We write a line for each sound we hear.  

I add a “scoop” to connect to lines to just add a visual that two letters blend their sound.  This has been so so powerful during our intervention time as well as in whole group {read more about how we transfer our segmenting into spelling new words HERE.}

Put both of these strategies together, and this CVC phonics sort and activity becomes a little more manageable with the Total Physical Response scaffolding…

>>>Slippity Slide Chant<<<

Here’s the other chant I learned from my sweet former teammate…  It’s the reverse of the Break It Down one.  We do some totally awesome sliding moves with our arms on this one! 🙂

Slide, slide, 
slippity slide
I say the sounds,
YOU make it glide!
T: /c/ /a/ /b/
S: cab!

Need help spelling a word? Break it down!

Need help reading a word? Slide it out!

>>>Word Family Cha-Ching!<<<

This is another Total Physical Response strategy I’ve used for pretty much ever during phonics.  When we are brainstorming word families, practicing rhyming words, onsets and rimes…we pull out our cha-chings.

The onset is on our thumb….

The rime is on the palm of our hand…

The whole word gets read while we make a fist and cha-ching our hand back to our body…

This is great for when kids are ready to read by onset and rime instead of individual sounds.  It’s also great for phonemic awareness when we are listening to see if words rhyme.

What I love about each of these strategies is that they are perfect for first grade phonics.  They work for CVC words, but they also work for blend words and most other one syllable words.  These are strategies I can literally use all year long…and my kids use them all year long too!

What free strategies do you like to use?

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