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!


  1. This is brilliant! I would never have thought of this! I'll have to see how I can do this in my EFL classes, seeing we only meet for two hours a week! So much to learn and so little time to do it! Thanks for this awesome idea!

    1. Thank you Carol! I appreciate you taking the time to leave kind words and I hope your students love the activities! :)

  2. How can I get the material in Mexico City?

    1. Hi Angie! There are links to all of the resources on TpT in the post - they're all digital where you download and print so you can get them instantly no matter where you are :)

  3. This past year I started creating my reading groups based on the IDI assessment which focuses on phonics and I really enjoyed it but I did get stomped sometimes on activities. This is definitely going to be a great attention to my classroom. Thank you soooooooo much!!

  4. Usually I don't leave comments but I just had to for you. This is amazing stuff and absolutely genius. I love the different skills being practiced with just one low prep activity. Can't wait to try it out in the new school year!

  5. Superb resources! Thank you for sharing.

  6. Superb Resources! Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you Harriet! I appreciate you reading my blog and taking the time to comment - it means a lot! :)

  7. Replies
    1. I'm so happy to hear that! I hope you enjoy using them!

  8. Superb resources. Thank you so much for sharing. The activities are really wonderful.

    1. Thank you so much! I appreciate you taking the time to leave a sweet comment! :)

  9. Thank you so much! This is such an amazing resource for all my kids. My 7 yr old is loving the work, my 4 yr old is learning how to read and this is so helpful, and my 2 yr old is enjoying making his book, thank you so much for sharing!

    1. That is so wonderful that you're able to use this with all of your kids. That makes me so happy to hear! Thank you for your sweet comment! :)

  10. I love this and am so excited to use it with my first graders. I am teaching a POD of 5 1st graders and I think this will be perfect. Do you think it's best that I cute the pictures for them so they can sort in the correct order when reading? I wonder if they will notice that the pictures are already in order? That might not matter but would love your thoughts.

    1. I am so happy you are excited to use them! Most of the time, I would recommend using the puzzles that are NOT in order (they come in both ways - in order & also a version where the puzzle pieces are not in order so they're already ready for kids to cut out themselves and order themselves, you just print them out & hand them to the kids). If your group needs some extra help with the actual reading, then the in order version may be great for giving them pictures that sequence the story to support them reading it. I hope that helps! :)

  11. Hi, I’m teaching Phonics in Spain but the TpT link doesn’t seem to work for me. Is there any other way to download the resources? Thanks.

    1. I would try it again - it may have been a glitch? If it doesn't work, please email me so I can help! :)