Phonics Fluency Notebooks

Phonics fluency notebooks are one of my favorite literacy activities for teaching students to read with fluency and comprehension.

Short O example of phonics notebooks to build fluency and comprehension

I love them because they are hands on and interactive and require the students to not only read, but understand, the story to complete them.

These actually started out as full color fluency puzzles as a literacy center where students read it and put the events of the story in order. I was really excited by all the positive feedback I got about how much kids liked them and learned from them... but I also kept getting requests to make them in black and white for teachers to save color ink. I kept thinking, "But why would you want them in black and white? It's a literacy center you laminate and keep." but I wanted to make people happy so I made them.

Reading fluency and comprehension puzzles and so many fun reading activities

As I was switching over all the clip art to black and white versions, it hit me that these would be awesome for our phonics notebooks! I'm so thankful for all the people who requested it because they're one of my favorite things now! 

I usually put cut and paste worksheet activities in the interactive notebooks from the no prep phonics packs which has been great but then I thought these could be made into an actual phonics book that students keep and can refer to all year when they need help with a particular sound... or just a book to read through all their stories. (You can see a lot of the cut and paste activities I'm talking about in my most recent post EW UE UI Activities if you're interested - the ideas in that post can be used with any phonics sound).

So anyway!

I printed out the black and white version and they fit perfectly in our notebooks!

Each reading fluency passage focuses on ONE phonics sound at a time. For example, this one focuses on the AR sound:

Students will:
1) Cut out the puzzle (for students who struggle with cutting, just have them cut across the bottom in a straight line and not worry about the little loops)
2) Highlight all of the words with the phonics sound it's practicing
3) Read the story now that it's highlighted to help them
4) Read the story again piece by piece to put the events in order & glue them down
5) Write the words they highlighted underneath the completed puzzle

Long U Reading fluency and comprehension puzzles and so many fun activities for all the phonics sounds

Then, once they glue it in and highlight the words, it makes an awesome reference page for their notebooks!! You could also just have them color and complete the puzzles like above, or glue them onto something else. If you have a different idea for how you could use these, I'd love to hear it in the comments! I love learning and trying new things. :)

You can also have them make a table of contents if you want! It's not really necessary in kindergarten or first grade but it is good practice for how to use a table of contents.

To do this, have them number all of the pages in the bottom corner. Then, have them take one of the first pages in the notebook and write "Table of Contents" at the top. Each time you make a new page, they write that number in the margin then write the sound you're practicing on the line. I don't use a table of contents since there are well over 100 puzzles in the bundle but I thought I'd sketch out an example in case you wanted to do one. 

Another great way for them to keep their place is with a bookmark!

Simply take a piece of tape and a piece of ribbon and tape the ribbon to the back cover:

Use a ribbon to bookmark interactive notebooks and other great classroom ideas

Then, they can put the ribbon wherever they leave off in their notebook so they find it right away when they come back to it, no flipping through notebook pages.

Use a ribbon to bookmark phonics interactive notebooks and other great ideas

If they don't finish an activity before time is out, I also recommend making a pocket to store their pieces in the front. You'll need the first 2 pages in the notebook. Cut half off of the second page then staple or tape the side and bottoms together to create a pocket. You could also give them little envelopes to adhere to the inside of the front cover if you want to get fancy. :)

Create a pocket to store notebooking materials when using interactive notebooks (and more ideas at the link!)

I have these in a big bundle with all of the phonics sounds if you want a full year set:

(All the puzzles come in full color as well as black and white)

or I have individual sets of sounds like....

Short Vowels
Includes: short a (3), short e (3), short i (2), short (2), short u (2)

CVCe Long Vowels
Includes: a_e (2), i_e (2), o_e (2), u_e (2)

2 Letter Blends
Includes: br, cr, dr, fr, gr, tr, pr, wr, bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl, sp, st, sn, sc, sm, sk, sw, tw

3 Letter Blends
Includes: thr, shr, str, spl, squ, spr, scr

Ending Blends
Includes: mp, ing, ang, ong, ung, nt, nk, nd, st, sk, lk, lt, ld, lf, lp, mb, ct, pt, ft

Bossy R Sounds
Includes: ar (2), or (2), er (2), ir (2), ur (2)

Includes: -ack, -ick, -ock, -uck, -ack/-eck, -ck mix (2)

Includes: ch (2), sh (2), th (2), wh (2), qu (2), ph (2)

Vowel Teams
Includes: ai, ay, ee, ea (pea), ea (head), oi, oy, oa, ow (tow), au, aw, oo (book), oo (zoo), ou (2), ow (cow) (2), ie, ui, ew

I love making these! Like I showed you above, there's a BIG BUNDLE of them if you're crazy like me and want them all :) 

One more phonics fluency notebooks tip for you....

Kids LOVE to cut and paste, right? I talk about this a lot in my posts about my math units... but a lot of teachers avoid them because it can get messy and loud. But it doesn't have to be at all!

The best way to manage your class during cut and paste activities is to require them to stay in their seat. Some kids will cut and make a big mess then be under the table grabbing all the pieces that fell, right?? And then there's the kid who has to go throw away every scrap piece by piece into the class trash can. Well that can all be saved by a trash bowl on their table!

Trash bowl for each table to collect scraps when cutting and pasting and a ton of other interactive notebook tips

Any time you're doing an activity that involves cutting, have a trash bucket on their table so they can put the scraps in it as they go. No reason for there to ever be scraps on their desk or the floor... and no reason to get up. It will save your sanity! These puzzles don't have a lot of extra scraps but I wanted to share this tip anyway because it's SO helpful for arts and crafts activities with a million pieces. ESPECIALLY because there's always the kid that is devastated when they accidentally throw away one of the pieces (I lost my monster's eye!) to their project, right? And all they want to do is dig through the super icky class trash full of snotty tissues to find it - um, nope! They can look through this clean paper-only bucket quickly if a piece goes missing.

One thing that is really important to me in my phonics resources is that all of the words in the passages are decodable. I try to only use words with the focus sound, easily decodable words, and only the simplest of sight words (like, to, etc.). I want the focus to be on practicing that phonics sound and reading fluently. If there are sight words they haven't learned yet or hard-to-decode words, they'll get hung up on those and I want ALL energy and focus to be on reading words/sentences with the focus sound. It takes me a lot longer to create passages but I make an effort to always do that as much as I can in everything - my phonics packs, reading passages, everything.

If you need more reading passages, I have A LOT of them. Here are some of my sets:

Short vowels word families reading fluency passages and other great ideas to build reading fluency and comprehension

Long vowels word families reading fluency passages and other great ideas to build reading fluency and comprehension

Long vowels word families reading fluency passages and other great ideas to build reading fluency and comprehension

Digraphs reading fluency passages and other great ideas to build reading fluency and comprehension

and that's just some of them! I love writing thanks to my absolutely wonderful 3rd grade teacher. :)

I hope this has been helpful!!!

If you want a TON of tips on teaching reading fluency, check out my post:
Tips for Building Reading Fluency

You can also follow me on Pinterest for more teaching ideas!

Also - don't forget to join Miss Giraffe's Class so you never miss out on fun ideas and exclusive free stuff from me only for subscribers!

EW UE UI Activities

EW UE UI is a difficult phonics sound to teach so I wanted to show you guys some fun activities you can use for this set of long U vowel pairs to make your lessons and literacy centers more fun!

EW UE UI ideas galore! I love these pocket chart centers with picture words to sort under the phonics sounds - so much fun for literacy centers!

All of the activities and ideas I'm about to show you can be used for any phonics sound so if you don't teach EW UE UI, you can still get some fun phonics ideas out of this hopefully!

As far as the activities go, I have the same resources for almost all of the sounds so if you're thinking, "Oooh I want that but I need it for EE EA or OA OW" or whatever sound you're teaching next week - never fear, I probably have it already made for you... I'm obsessed with making phonics activities so I've probably already done the work :)

Sort sounds into mini trash cans from the dollar store for super fun word sorts activities

My favorite phonics activities are usually sorts that involve pictures! It really gives the words students are trying to read a "real life" connection.

I LOVE these little trash bins from the dollar store for sorts. You can use them to sort anything!
Kids love putting things in the trash can. Simply label the front (I shrunk down my chevron Alphabet & Phonics Sound Classroom Posters) and have them put it through the slot!
They're plastic so you can even just write on the front of them with a dry erase marker if you want.

The word/picture cards are my EW UE UI pocket chart cards and I use them for a ton of different things! I have them for all the phonics sounds in a bundle as well.

ew ui ue activities for first grade that make phonics learning a lot of fun... check out all her phonics ideas on this blog!

Sorting EW UE UI words is hard since there's not really a rule for when you use each sound (or if there is, please tell me!) so it's nice to have the words on the cards to help.

Spelling out the words is also great for practice since repetition with these sounds will really help students learn how to spell them.

Love these ew sound for long u literacy stations and phonics activities

I recommend doing the sounds individually so they get a lot of practice with each individual phonics sound so, for spelling out the words, have them do EW words only, UE words only, UI words only as separate activities.

ue sound for long u first grade activities and ideas

You can also have students take a card or two at a time to write sentences with.

Use picture word cards and a mini white board for an instant sentence writing center! So many great ideas!

I also like to laminate a set of cards, punch a hole in the corner, and put a binder ring through them to make a set of cards that you can just grab to practice reading the words, use in your writing, whatever! They're great for small groups, the writing center, etc.

Laminate and put picture word cards on a binder ring for easy grab and go reading practice. Also great for your writing center or phonics center!

Speaking of binder rings, if you don't do this - you need to start ASAP!

Print fun worksheets for a given concept double sided, put them in sheet protectors, and put a binder ring through the top hole to make an awesome center for ANYTHING that kids can just grab and go. All kids need is a dry erase marker and they have so many practice activities for any concept.

Put phonics worksheets in sheet protectors to reuse with dry erase markers

They make an awesome activity fast finishers can just grab and take back to their seats. It's also great to give a student who may be struggling with a certain skill to practice. The beauty is it all just wipes away to be reused over and over again!! Plus, for some reason, a dry erase marker makes a worksheet seem 10x more fun so students are motivated to do a whole packet in one sitting and will even pick these during free choice!

Put phonics worksheets in sheet protectors in a ring to make a reusable phonics practice workbook

Like I said, they just grab a dry erase marker and flip to the page they want to do. I just printed my entire EW UE UI no prep pack of these worksheets double sided, threw them in sheet protectors, and it's an instant review center. You can even put many of the cut and paste activities in there - they can just write in the answers and cross out the word they would've pasted to show they've used it.

Seriously, try this. You can do it with math concepts (make an addition ring, a fractions ring, etc.) too!

I have a ton of no prep worksheets for EW UE UI that are like the phonics worksheets and activities I have for other sounds (check all the packs out HERE) so that activities are consistent... all kiddos have to focus on is the new sound being learned, not how to do the activity. There is so much more instructional time (and sanity!) available when you don't have to give directions!

Match the pictures to the correct sentence - so much great reading practice in these pages! Click to see pictures of them in action!

I try to make phonics as fun as possible because students loving reading is just as important to me as students being able to read. Kids love to cut and paste so I try to provide a ton of those. I'm also all about differentiating so for students who need extra help, instead of the sentences like above, you could practice just matching words with pictures like this example:

Phonics activities for first grade that are seriously so much fun... I love all of these so much

Have them do one for each sound (above is UI... also do UE and EW) then give them a mixed version to practice all 3 sounds when you think they're ready:

ew ue ui worksheets and no prep activities for a lot of phonics practice

Some students may need a lot of practice matching pictures to words before they are comfortable reading the words in sentences.

ue ui ew worksheets activities and phonics games to practice reading in fun hands on ways

For students who really struggle, you can give them prewritten sentences to trace and write that have a picture cue to help them.

Save this!! Differentiated reading practice for phonics to support all learners with these fun activities

I like these because it gives struggling students the confidence to be writing sentences (and using the focus sound in those sentences), especially if they struggle to come up with their own. 

If you think they're ready to come up with their own, this is a nice next step:

Love these pages for scaffolded writing practice where students pick a word with the focus phonics skill and write a sentence and illustrate their writing - great to support ELLs and struggling readers

The student can use the pictures on the side to help them think of sentences as well as have the spelling for that picture with it so they can use it correctly. These are so helpful for reluctant writers who have a hard time coming up with sentences on their own AND the students who are perfectionists and don't want to spell words wrong.

They also aren't overwhelming since there are 3 separate sentences where they choose a word and illustrate what they wrote.

You can also have them write their own story using words with the phonics focus for that week with the 1 box writing sheets like this one:

Love how these pages have the words on the side with the phonics sound being focused on so kids can easily incorporate them into their writing... also a great support for ELL students and struggling readers

These work for ALL levels. You can challenge your higher students by having them underline the words they used with the focus sound and challenge them to use as many as they can. These writing sheets are included in the EW UE UI pack but I also have a year set of these for all the phonics sounds if you don't get the individual packs they're in.

Speaking of challenging your high kids, I love to provide a ton of phonics practice differentiated for the higher kiddos as well where they are practicing the same skill but in a more puzzle-y sort of way to keep their engagement.

A-maze-ing sentences are the best for challenging your high students or fast finishers... kids read through the maze with words with the phonics sound being practiced to figure out the secret sentence

A-maze-ing Sentences are a favorite because they have a ton of reading practice packed in a puzzle. In the above example, they have to read a bunch of UE words to color their way through the puzzle.

Another favorite are phonics crossword puzzles. You may think your first graders or whatever grade you teach are too little for crosswords or wouldn't be interested - no way! Kids LOVE crosswords and are super capable!

Phonics worksheets and activities that are hands on engaging and differentiated for all reading levels

They just look at the picture and write the word that it is. It's really only just as hard as a Write the Word worksheet (see right below this) but it is represented in a fun, puzzle-y way so it really keeps students enjoying the work they're doing with words.

Check out all these awesome phonics worksheets that are perfect for literacy centers classwork and even homework

Another puzzle-like activity is Secret Word!
For this activity, students cut out all the letter pieces to use. Then, they look at each picture and spell the word it is next to it and write it. BUT THEN... dun dun dunnnnn... they have letters leftover!

Secret Word phonics worksheets are one of my favorite word work activities to practice reading!

They have to unscramble these letters once they're all done building the other words to figure out the SECRET WORD! You could hear a pin drop, seriously. Once they figure out the secret word, they glue it down, draw it in the picture box, and write it. It is always a race to figure out the word!

If your kids love Secret Word, they'll also love my Secret Words: Vowel Teams activities!

Secret Word centers are amazing for so much phonics practice... read about how to use these in your classroom!

For this activity, students look at each picture and figure out its beginning sound (guitar is G) and put a magnet letter in the box below it. Once they do that for all of the pictures, they've figured out the secret word!

(I have these in a big bundle for all the different phonics sounds as well as sight words too if you want more of them!)

You can also laminate them, which I recommend anyway so you can reuse over and over, and write the letters in the boxes below the pictures with dry erase markers.

Another fun way to use them is with bottle caps! I LOVE using bottle caps for centers because a) they're free, b) you don't care much if they get lost, and c) you can make as many as you want. "Miss Giraffe, I don't have a G!" takes 2 seconds to fix with a blank bottle cap and a permanent marker. :)

Recycle bottle caps to use with these secret word centers - I love these phonics activities

I also like to practice the weekly words with sign language! Kids EAT. THIS. UP.

Just give them the sign language chart that comes with it to reference and they will be building words like crazy. It's so great for kinetsthetic learners because they will sign each letter with their hands as they do the activity which really helps solidify the skills for them.

Sign language activity cards to practice phonics sounds?? So awesome for challenging your high students in an independent reading center

I have the sign language cards for vowel teams like ew, ue, ui as well as a big bundle for many different phonics sounds and sight words!

I get asked a lot how I store alphabet letters so I wanted to show you guys my system. I bought these tackle boxes at my local hardware store that are awesome for storing letters! You can get boxes similar to this here too: Reading Center Must Haves

Use a craft storage box to store alphabet letters! So many great tips here!

I bought a couple and each one gets a set of alphabet magnet letters and a handful of bottle cap letters. I wish I could find some with 26 boxes but 18 works out pretty well. I just double up less popular letters. I keep meaning to put little dot stickers from the dollar store on the wall in front of each hole to label them with what letters go in it (makes cleanup faster) but I haven't yet.

Use a craft storage box to store alphabet letters! So many great tips here!

They're really easy for these secret word literacy stations for kids to just grab a box and work. Also, it's more efficient than them digging through a baggie or bucket of letters - this way is much faster for them to build words. You can even throw the cards with the phonics skills and sight words you're learning that week in the box with the letters so it's an all-in-one center box.

Another hands on activity for your kinesthetic learners that is a little easier are clip cards! Clip cards are also good for building fine motor skills as well. Kids just read the word in the middle and clip the picture that represents it.

Long u clip cards for ew ui ue sounds to read the word in the middle and clip the picture that represents it for easy and fun practice

These are from my Vowel Teams Clip Cards bundle which are also in an even bigger bundle with a lot of different phonics sounds.

Alright so now that your kids have a lot of practice with the actual words, let's move on to sorting those words like we started the post with.

This cutting and pasting activity from my EW UE UI pack is a good transition since it uses pictures and words to sort the words like the pocket chart center did for them.

Long u worksheets for ew ue ui that are hands on cut and paste activities kids love

For students who don't need the picture help, you can have them simply sort words like this...

Long u word sort for ue ui ew sounds

Once they can sort the words by sound, have them do it IN SENTENCES.
Say what?!
Yes, in sentences!

Circle and sort is a favorite phonics activity where you read the sentence to sort the words by phonics sound.. great reading practice for targeting specific phonics skills

It is SO important for them to recognize the vowel team within words within sentences so they can remember to use the sound when they see it in sentences. For this activity, give them 2 different colored markers or crayons or colored pencils.. have them read each sentence and look for the focus sounds. Have them circle each one in a different color and write the words below. This is great practice for finding them in sentences and will help them so much in reading the sentence!

I think highlighting the sound you're practicing in the word helps SO MUCH when they're trying to read words, especially within sentences. I recommend doing it as much as possible to scaffold their reading!

Hands on phonics activities and worksheets that make learning reading so much fun

As you can see, the sound they're practicing is highlighted in the word... it makes it a lot easier to remember to say EW for ew (instead of trying to sound out the letters individually) when it stands out to them.

Hands on phonics activities and worksheets that make learning reading so much fun

You can also have them highlight the entire word when they're reading more length.
This is really helpful, especially for passages that you reread several times, because when they come to the word, they'll already know to look for the focus sound.

Here's an example I made of our phonics notebooks that show what I mean:

Reading interactive notebooks for first grade phonics practice that are fun puzzles with a ton of different reading skills incorporated.. check these out!

As you can see, they only highlight words that use the focus sound.

Reading interactive notebooks for first grade phonics practice that are fun puzzles with a ton of different reading skills incorporated.. check these out!

If they have the time and space, also have them write the words they highlighted below. Writing really helps with retention when it comes to tricky vowel sounds like this!

Make sure they only highlight the words with the specific sound you're practicing too. UI and EW make the same sound but if they're practicing them in isolation, have them only highlight the words that make that sound and use those letters ("ew" below).

Reading interactive notebooks for first grade phonics practice that are fun puzzles with a ton of different reading skills incorporated.. check these out!

These phonics notebook pieces aren't in the no prep pack. They are in my Vowel Teams Fluency Puzzles bundle (if you want these for the entire year for phonics, click HERE).

I love them because they practice one phonics sound at a time for a lot of fluency practice but also incorporate sequencing and comprehension so they practice a lot of skills all in one puzzle! Kids read the story then sequence the events of the passage in order and color the pictures.

You can use the color versions in small groups for really fun reading practice and then later as a review literacy center!

Reading comprehension passages for first grade that are PUZZLES... kids read the passage and have to sequence the events of the story to make the puzzle

The black and white versions that go in notebooks, though, are great to build a phonics notebook with that students can keep, reread, and reference all year. I really recommend phonics notebooks if you don't already do them with your students.

I also like Phonics Little Books to practice each sound and to take home to read to family.

So many great phonics books and activities and ideas on this post!

I'd show you the inside but I just realized I copied the insides of these upside down by accident (ha!) so I'm going to have to hurry and remake them and take a new picture for you guys later. :)

Just a few more pages from the EW UE UI pack I want to show you guys before I go and do that...

Circle the Word to differentiate the different long U sounds you're practicing:

Circle the correct spelling of the long u words to practice the ew ue ui sounds... love these worksheets for phonics

A few pages of ABC order practice! I include these in all the phonics packs so they get ABC order practice EVERY. WEEK. because, seriously is it just me or do they completely forget how to do it if they didn't just practice it? So this is an easy way to practice it every single week that involves them reading the words for the week - sneaky sneaky :)

ABC order practice worksheets that are hands on - kids can move the words around until they get it right which provides a ton of reading practice

and of course.... Spin A Word! Use a pencil and a paperclip to spin the spinner and add what it lands on to the next letter(s) to build a word. If it's a real word, circle it! They can play this all by themselves OR with a partner to see who gets the most circles.

Use a pencil and a paperclip to make a fun spinner game for phonics to build words

Speaking of sneaky sneaky, I love this center because even your "pretend" readers will try to sound these out to see if it's a real word so they can circle it. :)

Well I'm sure that's enough rambling and pictures for you!!
I just wanted to provide a lot of ideas for EW UE UI since it's such a tricky sound.

Use a magnetic cookie sheet from the dollar store to build words for teaching phonics

Like I said in the beginning, you can do any of these activities for any phonics sound! I make phonics packs, fluency puzzles, pocket chart cards, etc. for all the different phonics sounds so just look for them in my TpT shop if you want them for any sound or feel free to email me if you need help finding them!

If you liked this, I wrote a similar post for ideas to teach short A that can also be used with any phonics sound. :)

Follow me on Pinterest for more teaching ideas!

Also - don't forget to join Miss Giraffe's Class so you never miss out on fun ideas and exclusive free stuff from me only for subscribers!