Teaching the OI and OY Sound

Teaching the OI and OY sound is a lot of fun! There are many words that make this sound (the oy as in toy sound) that kids know. Plus, it's fun to say. :) Here are my favorite worksheets, games, and phonics activities for learning these 2 common diphthongs! 

OI and OY worksheets for phonics practice of diphthongs which is also often taught during vowel teams lessons too! These are fun interactive and engaging for kids learning to read!

OI and OY Words Spelling Rule 

First, I recommend quickly introducing the sound with picture cards that have the words printed largely on them. My OI and OY picture cards are perfect for this, if you don't have any already.

As you're showing them the cards, point out how OY usually comes at the end of words. Show a couple of examples. Then show them some OI picture words. Ask if they notice anything. Hopefully they say that the OI sound is not at the end of the word - it's usually in the middle of the word. If they don't, point that out. :) Super simply way to introduce the sound and its spelling rule in a fun, visual way.

OI and OY Games

One of my favorite phonics games is Spin a Word. I have them in almost all of my Phonics No Prep Packs to practice each found with a fun spinner game! Kids put a paperclip on the spinner, with a pencil through it, then flick it to spin! SO fun.

Spin a Word OI OY phonics game for students to learn how to read

You can print it on color paper like this to make it look more fun. If you do that, you can also laminate it or put it in a plastic sheet protector so kids can use the same sheet over and over with a dry erase marker and wipe it when they're done. :)

This particular game is in my big OI and OY No Prep Phonics Pack which has over 55 no prep worksheets and activities for this sound!

OI and OY sounds phonics no prep pack of worksheets that are fun and differentiated for students learning how to read

When they spin the spinner, it'll land on a word ending. They add that to the next line on their sheet. If it makes a real word, they circle it. This is great practice for decoding words (sounding out words). It is especially great practice when it's not a real word, so you know they are actually using the skill of sounding out, not recognizing a word from memory. :)

You can also print it on regular white paper, which is what I typically recommend, so kids can turn in their work. 

OI OY game that is a fun phonics activity to practice these sounds! Kids build words and try to make the most! Can be played with a partner, independently, in a small group lesson, and also can be sent home for homework!

I think it's helpful to have a page kids can show you their work on, so you can quickly scan it and see if the words they circled are actually real words. And help them if you notice they're not doing it correctly. It's a super quick and easy assessment tool to have them turn in their "center" work. 

OI AND OY Sound Bottle Cap Games
Another fun game for the OI and OY sound are my OI and OY bottle cap centers that are included in the Vowels Teams Bottle Cap Centers BUNDLE

Quick note to homeschoolers - Centers is just a fancy way of saying learning games. It's often used to describe the time a classroom teacher has students play learning games. If you're a homeschooler, if it says centers, that basically means it's a game or activity you can use with your child to help them learn the skill. I have a lot of new homeschoolers reading my blog recently so I wanted to make sure the word centers doesn't scare you away. Both teachers and homeschoolers can do "centers" :) 

OI sound phonics games to practice reading words with cute picture support - perfect for first grade or 2nd in reading centers, partner games, small group lessons, and also independent classwork time - they can really be used any time of the day!

It's such a fun way to recycle water bottle caps and reuse them for learning how to read! :) Reading and recycling at the same time! Use a permanent marker to write letters on water bottle caps and they put them on the picture word cards to finish building the word! You can also use alphabet magnet letters, which is what I used here.

They're super easy to differentiate for wherever your little reader(s) are, because they come in 6 levels: where ALL the letters in the word are missing, where NONE of the letters are missing (perfect for kids who need a lot of support - they can simply match the letters on top of them to build the words), where only the first letter is missing, where only the last letter is missing, where only the phonics sound being practiced (in this case, OI or OY) is missing, and also a version where all BUT the phonics sound being practiced is missing. 

Building words with OI sound during phonics practice is so fun with these picture cards where kids use magnet letters to fill in the missing sound

This also means you could reuse them to build the skill! First, do the cards with the phonics sound missing so they're putting OI and OY on the card repeatedly to really reinforce it. Then, give them the same cards again but with the beginning sound missing. They will really have to say and read the word to figure this out. Then, you could give it to them with the beginning AND ending missing. Or skip straight to all the sounds missing. Such great practice for word building!

OI and OY Sound Secret Words Games
A slightly easier word building game for OI and OY are the OI and OY cards from my Vowel Teams Secret Words Games! These have always been one of my favorite games. 

If you want to see real pictures of these, I have pictures of the R Controlled Vowels version of this. It's played the same way! :) Those are here: Fun R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games 

Kids look at each picture. Figure out it's beginning sound. Put the letter there. Keep going until they've solved all the beginning sounds pictures to reveal the Secret Word! So fun!! I have them for almost every phonics sound and also the short vowel word families! :) The Secret Sight Words set are probably the most popular of all my sets if you want them for sight words! 

OI and OY Worksheets

Worksheets are a super easy way to practice the OI and OY sound! These are all from the OI and OY No Prep Phonics Pack I mentioned earlier. The worksheets are consistent for each phonics sound so, once you teach a kid how to do them once, they know HOW to do them. Then, each week, they can ideally focus on the new skill, without you having to give them directions again. Anything you can do to make learning to read easier = win. 

Another favorite worksheet type is Circle & Sort! People often tell me this is one of their favorites to do each week from my no prep packs.

Circle and Sort worksheets phonics OI OY printables for learning to read

It's pretty simple but it provides a lot of practice. Kids use a different color marker to circle the words with each phonics sound. Then, they sort them by writing them below. Word sorts are a great way to have kids recognize the phonics skill in a word.

Another thing I love about it is that it is naturally differentiated. Kids who can read the sentences will. Kids who struggle to read the sentences can still complete the activity successfully and will read as much as they can, so it pushes them right at their level. I LOVE that.

I love differentiation, which you know if you've read any of my math and phonics posts before. If not, save that page so you can check those posts out! :) 

Because of that, I also try to provide the same worksheet in multiple levels, when possible, within my phonics no prep packs. 

OI OY differentiated phonics worksheets for reading instruction and lessons

See how this one looks so similar but is actually slightly harder words? This is an awesome way to challenge your students who are ready to read harder words, without giving them a totally separate activity. 

I was one of those students as a kid and I often felt disconnected from the lessons my teachers were teaching because I was given work that had nothing to do with what everyone else was learning. It also made me feel different, which no kid likes to feel (even if it's a "good" type of different), because my work looked completely different. As if they went to an older grades teacher and asked for a stack of papers.

So I try really hard to make differentiated activities look as much the same as possible. You also don't want your struggling students to feel different either. The main goal I always have with differentiating is that kids have no idea there are levels & that they just think there are multiple versions of the same activity. Which is actually the case.

If you feel like sentences might overwhelm your students, simple word sorts are wonderful. You can have them sort words by if they have OI or OY.

OI and OY word sorts worksheets to practice this diphthong sound in fun ways

I chose this one because I wanted to make you aware that "toilet" will make them giggle and enjoy learning the OI sound. :) Any time you can incorporate silly (but appropriate) words, the kids will love it. 

These are super easy word sorts. Kids cut the words off the bottom then sort them by sound. 

If you feel like your kids are ready for reading sentences with the OI and OY sound, I Love to Read is a fun one to do next!

OI OY sound I Love to Read worksheet for sentences comprehension practice

For this worksheet, kids DO have to be able to read the sentence to complete it correctly. For this reason, I recommend doing this one after you've done individual words practice. 

These are an awesome small groups lesson! You can have them at your table and have kids put the pictures in the correct boxes after reading each sentence. So you can watch and help. :) You could use it as a warm up to your lesson since it'd be pretty quick if they're not cutting or gluing themselves. And you can reuse them with each group! Woooo! :)

I think most people use them as a center / independent classwork activity though. 

OI OY sound phonics and comprehension worksheet to read sentences and match them to each picture

To use them this way: 
- Kids color the pictures at the bottom of the worksheet
- They cut them out
- As they read each sentence, they put the picture next to the sentence that describes it
- Glue them down

This is a ton of phonics, fluency, and comprehension practice in one!

I recommend telling them not to glue until they place all the squares. Tell them that if they get to the last sentence and it doesn't match the last picture, then they'll know they need to fix one of them. So they'll have to go back and reread and check each one. This is an AWESOME self-correction test skill to teach them!

OI and OY Reading Passages

I love to practice reading passages in the form of PUZZLES! Yes, puzzles! As you've probably seen in my math blog posts, you know I love puzzles for everything! That includes reading passages. It makes what is typically a little boring A LOT more fun! 

OI and OY reading passages puzzles where kids sequence the story by reading it and putting the pictures in order. Fun phonics practice and comprehension at the same time!

It also makes it look like more of a challenge AND combines more skills into the activity. 

They have to sequence the story to complete the puzzle. Which is an important reading comprehension skill in itself! 

OI and OY reading comprehension passages that are actually puzzles! Kids put the story in order by reading the top then organizing the pictures in sequential order to tell the story. So fun and a lot of literacy skills all in one activity!

They also have to be able to read the passage to complete it, so it's a ton of reading practice and a great assessment. 

You can also print the MIXED UP versions in black and white to use for notebook activities! (They also come in order in black and white. For extra support or if you simply want them already in order on the page.)

OI phonics sound reading passage notebook activity where kids color the pictures and put them in order to demonstrate comprehension of the story they read. They also find words with the phonics skill you're learning and write them under it. So many literacy skills at the same time! Perfect for 1st or 2nd grade although older students can enjoy these too!

You can use them for phonics fluency notebook activities where kids put it in a notebook! I wrote a whole post about those if you want to see it! :) I put lots of examples in that post so I recommend looking at it really quick if you like these.

OY sound reading practice comprehension and phonics activity where kids complete a puzzle to sequence the story and also write the words

Have kids find the words with the phonics sound you're learning and write them under it. They also have to put the puzzle pieces in order to sequence the story. So it's a ton of skills in one! Plus, they get to color the pictures which is fun.

Here's a quick list of the TpT resources I mentioned in this post:

You can get all of them in the Vowel Teams ULTIMATE BUNDLE if you want activities like this for all the vowel teams! :) I highly love that bundle!

I hope you enjoyed this post! I have tons of phonics and math posts - browse around! :)

2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping

Teaching 2 digit addition and subtraction without regrouping is fun because kids get to add and subtract "big" numbers. It makes them feel so smart and can be a huge confidence booster for students!

Since there is no regrouping, all students are essentially doing is two addition to 10 problems, or two subtraction within 10 problems, that happen to be next to each other. :)

2 Digit Addition Worksheets that are easy and fun printable practice pages for math

An awesome trick is to teach them to point out their pointing finger. Place it on top of the 2 numbers in the tens place and simply solve the addition problem in the ones place. For example, in this yellow worksheet, they'd use their finger to cover 1 + 2 so all they see is 8 + 0. How easy is 8 + 0?! Then have them cover 8+0 while they can only see and solve 1 + 2. SO easy!! They'll be amazed at how they added 2 big numbers. :) :) So 18 + 20 is actually just 8+0 and 1+2, which they already know how to do. This is a HUGE confidence builder to introduce it this way!

2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping Using Place Value

I highly recommend using cubes as place value blocks to show them what 2 digit addition and subtraction without regrouping is actually doing.

2 Digit Addition using Place Value blocks to represent the numbers to help students add. Such a great math lesson for 1st or 2nd grade. Also helps prepare kids for regrouping once they're ready for that!

This will also come waaaay in handy once you DO start regrouping, because they can physically move cubes to regroup! Such an amazing lesson and visual representation of what regrouping is. :)

As you can see in the picture above, have them first look at the 2 numbers they are adding. 23 and 34. So they'd build 23 with cubes, in the form of place value blocks. Then, build 34 with cubes. Each ten is a stack of 10 cubes, as if they were place value blocks. This shows them the 2 numbers they want to put together. Then, they literally put them together by putting the tens with the tens and the ones with the ones. Count it up & they have the answer to the addition problem! :)

You could also use actual place value blocks since they're smaller & the "tens" are already made, but I highly recommend having them build "tens" out of 10 cubes themselves. It's great place value practice AND will be really helpful if you also use cubes for teaching regrouping whereas you can't separate/add to the "tens" blocks when they're actual place value blocks.

For those of you who use my math units, you may notice that's a Level B worksheet! :) All my math units have 3 levels of worksheets for each concept included in the unit so you can differentiate easily. B is where you'd expect a first grader to be. A is extra support. C is for a challenge.

Two Digit Addition without Regrouping Strategy using Place Value blocks to build the problems. Such a fun and visual way to learn adding for young kids!

If you have students who need a little bit of support, you can also teach them that they can DRAW place value blocks any time they need support. This is great practice for everyone and a GREAT strategy to teach all of your students for how to check their work, especially if they have to take any end of the year tests! 

You can also use this same strategy for subtraction!

2 Digit Subtraction without Regrouping Strategy for First Grade Math Practice Using Cubes as Place Value blocks

Have them build the first number. Here, it's 55 and, as you can see, 55 is built on the side of the worksheet in cubes. I recommend NOT connecting the cubes for ones by the way. Have them show them as "ones" like this, where they are separate entities. Especially for subtraction problems. 

After they've built 55, they look at what number is being subtracted. 24. So they would simply remove 4 ones and 2 tens from this in order to get their answer! :) Such an awesome way to show exactly what is happening when they're doing 2 digit subtraction.

Again, GREAT place value practice! If they need more work on place value, 2 digit addition and subtraction will be difficult, even without regrouping, so if that is the case, I recommend doing all of the activities from my big First Grade Place Value Math Unit to really solidify their knowledge of tens and ones. Play the games and do the activities over and over (don't worry, they're so fun!!) until they really get it down. 

You can also give them a worksheet that shows what to do. For support if needed, they can draw the tens and ones blocks and cross the ones out that they are subtracting. This is a great way to visually show them what they're doing and makes an awesome math small groups lesson! Again, great place value review and awesome for continuing to build their number sense. I love that this shows them what they're actually doing when subtracting.

2 Digit Subtraction Practice with Place Value using cubes as tens and ones blocks to represent the numbers in each math problem

Fun Games and Centers for 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction without Regrouping

You can also let them have the support of cubes when doing math centers for 2 digit addition and subtraction! 

Two Digit Addition Game with Center Cards where kids build the math problem on the side with cubes to represent the numbers, such a fun and easy way for first grade (and 2nd) students to learn harder skills in a visual way!

Let's say they were doing a center game like this where they take a card, solve it, and write the answer on their recording sheet. You could absolutely let them have cubes to help them solve. It really helps build their confidence to be able to "check" their work and "see" that it is correct. Plus, it's so fun to play with cubes! :) Again, I do NOT recommend letting them connect them. Have "tens" be connected ahead of time and are NOT disconnected ever. And the ones are by themselves. Tell them to pretend like the tens are glued if you need to, haha! 

2 Digit Addition and Subtraction without Regrouping Centers Games and Activities

I have several sets of these to practice each 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping skill by the way! I recommend putting the regular 2 digit addition in one little box like this. Then, the 2 digit + 1 digit cards in 1 box. The 2 digit - 1 digit in 1 box. Then, the 2 digit subtraction cards where both numbers are 2 digits in 1 box. The multiples of 10 in 1 box. The 10 more and 10 less in 1 box. And so on! This makes SO many different centers that you can pull out and put away super easily! 

2 Digit Addition without Regrouping Game

My favorite thing about that is they will know what to do each time, but it's for a slightly different and new skill! Let's say you use the 10 more and 10 less version of these cards and they do an entire center for that. Well, when you later teach multiples of 10 (30+50) and use the exact same center format (cards look the same, recording sheet looks the same), they'll know exactly what to do and can focus only on learning the brand new skill! :) This is something I constantly talk about for my Phonics No Prep Packs for each phonics sound. Each sound has the SAME activities so, every week, you may be introducing a new sound but your kids already know how to do all of the activities so they can focus only on learning the new phonics skill and not spend time/mental effort figuring out HOW to do it. Love love love that. AND you don't have to give directions. How amazing does that sound?!?!? So, whenever possible, consistent activities are AWESOME. Especially in 1st grade, 2nd grade, and kindergarten! 

I also love theme centers! How cute are these little monkeys and their bananas? You match the bananas with the addition problem that matches the sum on the monkey! Then, they write the problems under each monkey on their recording sheet.

2 Digit Addition Monkeys Game

As you can kind of see in this picture (on the left), I put a student friendly directions sheet with each center so you can set it out at the center. This allows the center to be more independent and reminds kids what to do. It also tells any adult who walks in your room what the students are working on - if they're coming in to help, for example. There is also a teacher directions version of the directions page for each center. This helps explain how to play the center and sometimes fun tips for more ways to play and how to differentiate when possible!

Keeping up with the zoo animals theme, there is a subtraction version with elephants and peanuts!

2 Digit Subtraction Math Game for First Grade or 2nd where kids sort problems under the correct elephant to solve! So fun and easy for math centers or for working at home with your child on their facts!

For both of these centers, the kids are doing SO. MUCH. MATH. to sort the foods under the animals but probably won't realize it because it's so cute and fun. 

Both of these also have the problems in a horizontal way so that makes it a little harder! I think kids should learn how to solve vertical first. They can learn how to line the numbers up to easily solve. THEN, once they feel confident with that, introduce horizontal.

I recommend letting them use a piece of paper to rewrite the horizontal problems as vertical. Teaching them to line the two 2 digit numbers up is SUCH a great skill to teach them! They can use an extra piece of blank paper to convert them.

Horizontal 2 digit addition math problems worksheet for early elementary students

For example, if you gave them a worksheet like this, they may think it looks hard. Show them how to change 26 + 62 to having them on top of each other on a new piece of paper (or on the back of their worksheet) to make it easier to solve. Vertical will make it 6+2 and 2+6. Way easier! 

2 Digit Addition Worksheets

You can also have them bring out the cubes again! Anything they need to feel successful, I recommend! But I do definitely think it's important to teach them how to rewrite horizontal math problems into vertical ones. 

2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping Mixed Review Practice

I also think it is super important to have a lot of mixed practice for addition and subtraction. That's why there is literally an entire concept inside my 2 digit addition and subtraction math unit for it. It's really important that they look at the symbol, so they know what to do, so I like to provide a lot of worksheets and activities where they have to look to see if they're adding or subtracting.

Addition and Subtraction Mixed Practice Worksheets

This would be an easy time to bring out the cubes again and ask them - are you combining the 2 sets of cubes or taking away cubes? 

Addition and Subtraction Math Worksheets with No Regrouping

You can also do mixed practice by simply giving them addition pages sometimes and subtraction pages sometimes. It wouldn't be a math post from me without a little cutting and gluing! :)

2 Digit Addition Worksheet Fun Practice First Grade Math

I genuinely think having to glue answers down makes kids think harder about their answers. It's hard to un-glue paper so they work more thoughtfully, I feel like. 

2 Digit Subtraction Worksheets with no regrouping

Plus it's fun! I love that they can move around their answers. I recommend teaching them to cut out all the answers first, place them (so if one doesn't make sense, they know to check all of them to figure out which one they did incorrectly), THEN glue. This teaches them so many great skills! 

I like to have a page like this for every concept so it's a center your students are used to doing! For example, if you're learning adding and subtracting 2 digit and 1 digit numbers, you'd also do a page like this for that.  

Subtracting 1 digit numbers from 2 digit numbers worksheets and activities

It will look familiar to them. Like a page they've already done and were successful with. So a new, "hard" topic doesn't seem so intimidating to them. :) 

Another quick tip I have is to print "boring" worksheets on colorful paper! 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping is kind of a bland concept compared to the other super fun ones kids learn in K-2, but it is SO important. And one they need a ton of repetition and practice with in order to master. One super easy way to make it a little more fun is to print the worksheets on color paper!

Colorful 2 digit addition and subtraction worksheets

You could tell them they earn a specific color. For example, if they finish a regular worksheet on white paper, they get to do a COLOR one. Ooooh! They'll be EXCITED to finish worksheets! :) It really is great practice. You could also put these in sheet protectors so you don't waste a lot of color paper. Then, they get to use dry erase markers and will love it even more! There are so many ways to make a worksheet fun. Kids LOVE using dry erase markers on sheet protectors so you could definitely do that. AND then you'd also get to reuse these so you're printing and preparing less!

All of these activities I've shown here for 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping (and so much more) are included in my First Grade Math Unit 13 on TpT!  

First Grade Math Unit 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Activities Games Worksheets and Fun Centers

If you're familiar with my math units, they are PACKED with fun, differentiated worksheets for each concept in 3 levels (A, B, and C) and centers for each concept too! Also cut and paste worksheets AND an assessment at the end of the unit to review all the concepts. I always include 3 versions of the assessment so you can do one before, during, and after. You can also save them for end of the semester/quarter/period/year assessments if you're required to do that for report cards! :)

You can always look at the cover of my math units to see what's included. The First Grade Math Unit 13 (which could also be used in 2nd grade) has the following concepts:

- 2 Digit Addition

- 2 Digit Subtraction

- 2 Digit Mix

- 2 Digit and 1 Digit Addition and Subtraction

- 10 more and 10 less

- Adding and Subtracting Multiples of 10

This one is absolutely packed with 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping Worksheets and Activities - here are just a few of the practice pages:

2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping Worksheets

I highly recommend using worksheets for practice and teaching. You can see the level of any worksheets in the top right corner inside of a star (see the A in the star on the page on top here?) so you can quickly grab what each student/child needs. 

If a worksheet is taking them a long time - or they seem frustrated - go down a level. A is easiest, B is where most of your students will be, and C is for a challenge. 

If you have students that finish their work quickly who love doing classwork and always ask for more or what's next, having the C level pages for each worksheet that you do is sooo nice to have!

Challenge worksheet for 1st grade 2 digit addition with no regrouping practice

The wonderful thing about having worksheets in 3 levels is you can meet each student where they are at, then go to the next level when they're ready so everyone can get to the challenge level in a way that supports them along the way! :) I usually try to make the challenge level conceptually more challenging, where they have to think a little bit more, rather than simply more math problems, but for something so straightforward like 2 digit addition, sometimes it's simply more problems on the page. Which, again, for your kids who finish their work quickly but enjoy doing work, it's perfect for them!

Differentiated math worksheets for 2 digit addition

My goal with differentiating is always for the kids to be practicing the SAME skill, but at THEIR level. The level that challenges them a little, but not too much, not too little. :) 

I also try to make the pages look really similar too, so it's not obvious, they simply got a different one. All of these look fun and are 2 different levels, for example!

Adding 2 Digit Numbers Worksheets and Activities

Anyway! Then do the fun centers and games for review and more practice! I love math games and centers for each concept because they don't realize how much practice they're actually doing. Especially centers you can reuse over and over. You can also always bring them back out later in the year to review them again.  

Thank you so much for reading! I hope this gave you some fun new ideas for teaching 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping. If you'd like to see another post for how to use these same strategies to teach regrouping, let me know! I'd also love to hear from you on whatever platform you love the most! I am on almost all of them! :) 

Again, you can get ALL of these activities that I showed in

First Grade Math Unit 13: 2 Digit Addition and Subtraction Without Regrouping

(which you could also use in 2nd grade or in any grade where you're trying to support your students with 2 digit addition and subtraction, including the concepts within that such as 10 more and 10 less, 2 digit and 1 digit addition and subtraction, and multiples of 10)

Definitely click this to follow me on TpT though! You don't want to miss when I post brand new stuff because it's often at a deep discount for being the first to see/get it! :)

I also have FREE math and phonics groups on FB for teaching first grade (K and 2nd grade teachers are welcome too! I think you'd still get a ton of fun ideas!) so join those if you want a lot more tips and also exclusive free stuff for group members! I love chatting with you all in those so we'd love for you to join us! You can also simply follow my FB page! I absolutely love sharing tips to make your teaching life easier, more fun, and more organized. So if you love that too - and are always looking for fun new phonics, math, writing, and classroom management tips - then I'd love to share mine with you!

If you want to "pin" this post to read later, you can pin ANY of the pictures from this post onto your boards! :) I also took a second to make these 2 pins for you so it says what the post is about, if you prefer that! Hopefully they'll help you quickly remember this post! 

2 Digit Addition Without Regrouping Fun Ideas Activities Games Worksheets and Centers


2 Digit Addition with Place Value Fun Ideas Activities Games Worksheets and Centers

I also have this page that has an organized list of my blog posts, so you can use it to quickly find any math, phonics, writing, or classroom management topic you need! :) 

I hope that's helpful!! Thank you again for stopping by my blog! I so appreciate you taking the time to read my teaching ideas and I hope you enjoyed them!

Fun R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games

 Need some Fun R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games? Here are my favorites!

First, what are R controlled vowels?

R controlled vowels, often called Bossy R sounds, are OR, AR, ER, IR, and UR. 

These sounds are often introduced in first grade. OR and AR are usually taught first, with a week dedicated to each (an entire week of AR and an entire week of OR). Some people teach them together. If you have enough time in your schedule to dedicate a week to each, that's what I personally recommend! :)

After OR and AR, ER IR and UR are typically taught together in the same week since they make the same sound. 

ER IR UR Bossy R Sounds Activities and Games that are so fun for teaching R controlled vowels!

P.S. There are 3 letter Bossy R sounds as well (AIR ARE EAR making the "air" sound, for example), but from the conversations I have had with teachers all around the country and world, they are usually taught in 2nd grade or later on in the first grade year. :) So this post is going to focus only on the five 2 letter R Controlled Vowels sounds. 

How to Teach R Controlled Vowels: Start with AR Activities!

I recommend starting with AR! It's an easy sound. It's a fun sound (farm! bark! car!) to learn for a week. You can also start with OR, but if your curriculum gives you a choice, I say do AR first.

AR sound phonics activities that are so fun and engaging for kids to learn bossy R controlled vowels! Secret Words are my favorite center for first grade, 2nd, or kindergarten reading!

This is one of my favorite ways to recommend a new phonics sounds. Secret Words!!

P.S. I have shown these for many different phonics sounds and also sight words on this blog for years, but I haven't shown my R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games version of them so here they are! :) I have them for over 330 sight words and also soo many different phonics sounds so, if you love these, you can use them as a center game all year! I do have a Secret Words BUNDLE of them on TpT if you want them for the entire year! The bundle has over 1,000 5 star reviews on TpT and the Sight Words set that is included in that bundle has over 3,500 5 star reviews so I am pretty confident that you'll love them too if you try them! :)

AR R Controlled Vowel Game to learn R Controlled Vowels!

The way you use them is you cut them out like this to make each word into its own card. Then, kids look at each picture and figure out its beginning sound

They place a letter (you can use magnets, letters written on water bottle caps, they can write it with a dry erase marker if you laminate them) under the picture. They keep going until they've done it for all pictures. This reveals a Secret Word

Sooo fun and kids get to feel like little detectives while practicing so many skills in one. 

They're learning the new phonics sound since all the words will be with that sound for that set AND reviewing beginning sounds. They will be SO motivated to read the words with your new phonics sound because they're a mystery they're trying to solve! For first grade, I recommend printing 8-10 words for a center and have all 8-10 be your new phonics sound for the week. Such a fun way to discover and explore with your new phonics sound and read words with it in a fun way!

Another fun thing you can do is put the full pages (don't cut them out except to cut the word off on the left) into a sheet protector in a binder! Here's a picture of both ways:

Secret Words Bossy R Activities - Put them in a binder to make it a game kids can flip and build to grow their phonics skills!

Kids open the binder and each page will have 2 words on it (the way they print! :) woo!) for kids to build to figure out each Secret Word! 

Binder Secret Words AR Sound - check out these fun R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games!

It's a fun way to practice. They grab a binder with sets for that phonics sound and can do it independently, with a partner, or in a small group.

Secret Words Bossy R Sounds

After AR, I recommend working on the OR Sound!

From corn to fork, there are tons of OR words to practice!

OR Sound Phonics Activities for R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games

The wonderful thing about using the same type of center every week - Secret Words, for example! - is that the kids already know what to do. They only have to concentrate on what they're learning, not how to do the activity. I talk about the importance of this a lot, especially when discussing my yearlong centers or Phonics No Prep Packs. The activities are consistent, so kids only have to worry about learning the new sound! :)

I recommend upping the difficulty of words slightly with OR. For example, in the example above this, SC is an S blend and SH is a digraph at the beginning of those words. You can use the easier cards, but I recommend trying to stretch them if they're ready! 

Again, this activity is SO fun that they will be so motivated to figure out the words. They will be trying their best to blend the words and read those tricky R Controlled Vowels!

Last are the R Controlled Vowels Sounds ER, IR, and UR!

I recommend teaching these at the same time. Preferably spending an entire week on the 3 sounds. If you teach one sound a week, you'd teach all of these in the same week. They make the same sound - ER in fern, IR in bird, UR in surf.

Bossy R ER IR UR phonics sounds activities

The ER phonics sound can be a little bit more difficult since most of the words you will practice are 2 syllables, but they learn the pattern pretty quickly since it is part of so many words that they use constantly - including teacher! :)

For example, soccer is a pretty long word but I think they can do it! It's a "big" word but it's very easy to blend if they know the ER sound.

R Controlled Vowels Activities and Games

I love using really cute, engaging pictures for teaching phonics sounds. The brightness really does make it feel more like a game. The more you can make reading fun, the better! :) 

Anyway, that was a little peek inside the Bossy R version of my Secret Words centers! If you want them for the entire year (and also sight words!), I do recommend getting the Secret Words BUNDLE instead. 

You can see some of the cards from more phonics sounds for cards like these in my various "Literacy" posts for various phonics sounds - simply click on the sound you want to see on this sound and have fun doing a little scrolling through pictures of fun activities you can do for that sound! :)

Thank you so much for reading! I am so excited to bring you tips and fun ideas and I hope showing you this set of fun R controlled vowels activities and games using the Secret Word centers strategy helped with that! Please browse around - I have tons of phonics and math posts for early elementary! I love sharing tips and ideas - I hope you love using them if you use any of them! 

How to Teach Hard and Soft G

How to Teach Hard and Soft G Hard and Soft G 

Hard and Soft G are when first grade phonics sounds start to get tricky! I wrote this little guide to help you navigate teaching these sounds! I hope it helps! :) 

What is the Soft G sound? 

The Soft G sound is when the G in a word makes the sound J typically makes. Words that make the Soft G sound are giant, giraffe, gym, gentle. 

It typically occurs when G is followed by E, I, or Y in a word. 

This can happen at the beginning of a word like gem or at the end of a word like cage. The E following the G makes the G say the J sound. 

If the G in a word is followed by A, O, I, or U, it typically says the Hard G sound. Words that make the Hard G sound are gate, go, gift, and gum. 

They're pretty easy rules for kids to remember once they've had enough repetition, but repetition is definitely necessary to memorize the rule. :) 

I am about to show you a ton of ways to practice!

Hard and Soft G worksheets for phonics instruction and practice

How do I teach Soft G? 

Students are going to be used to the G making a Hard G sound like in pig and game. You'll tell them the G can make the J sound when there's an E, I, or Y after it. 

The E rule (using words with "ge") is the easiest sound to teach first because they are going to already know that E at the end of the word changes sounds in the word because of long vowels (for example: the E in cake makes the A say the long vowel A sound).

I'd recommend starting there - with simple CVCe words that end in "ge" such as page and cage. You'll also do this for Soft C where the E makes the C say the S sound, such as in lace and race, so they'll see this pattern a lot in first and second grade.

Also teach them if the word ENDS in G, it is almost always the Hard G sound because it doesn't have the E, I, or Y after it to boss it around. :) 

Example words: bag, Meg, pig, log, hug 

These words all have the Hard G sound.

I recommend doing activities that have them practice differentiating between hard and soft G. This is a super simple word sorting worksheet with easy sentences. They circle the words with hard G in one color and words with the soft G in another color. Then, they write the words to sort them.

Circle and Sort Hard and Soft G Words Worksheet

I made a handful of them in different difficulty levels so your students can get a ton of practice at their level. You can also start with the easier worksheets and build up to harder levels during the week.

Soft G practice worksheets for 1st and 2nd grade phonics reading activities

Activity Ideas for Teaching Hard and Soft G

I recommend having students spell words ending in G and also in GE. You can use magnet letters for this which makes it a ton of fun! Have them build the word with G and also with GE. 

Have them read both of them and listen for which one sounds correct and which one sounds silly. This can be an amazing and fun, silly small groups lesson for teaching hard and soft G. Some of the words will sound funny when they try to read them incorrectly so it's a fun exercise.

You can also simply do it as a worksheet activity that they cut and glue. Also a lot of fun!

Hard and Soft G Discrimination Worksheets for GE words practice

Also a simple worksheet where they read the word both ways and circle the correct one is AWESOME practice! I call these "Circle the Word" in my phonics no prep packs and try to do them for every sound.

Circle the Word Hard and Soft G words worksheet

If you want to make it a center activity, have them build each word with magnet letters as they complete the worksheet. Read it without an E. Then add an E magnet letter and read it again. Which one sounded like the word for the picture? Circle it! :) This can be a silly partner activity or something they do by themselves. Also a fun small groups game.

Teaching GE first (Include DGE)

When teaching GE first, you'll also have a lot of words that end in DGE. When words end in DGE, the rule is that the vowel typically keeps the short vowel sound whereas the words that only end in GE will have the long vowel sound. For example, in page, the E makes the G say J and the A say the long A sound. In the word judge, the E makes the G say J but the U remains the short vowel sound. I recommend doing a lot of practice specifically with DGE words so they get a lot of reading practice with the ADGE, EDGE, IDGE, ODGE, and UDGE sounds and memorize them as word families. Here's an example page I'd use to practice it: 

DGE Hard G sound words practice worksheets

Printing on color paper makes worksheets look a lot more fun too! If you're working with a child at home or in a small group, you can print one copy of the worksheet on white paper and one in color and have them place the color on the white or the white on color to make it pop and look more fun. It's the little things to get them excited to work on reading, right?? :)

This is what I'm referring to:

Secret Word worksheet for Hard G words

You can also simply print on white paper which is also a lot of fun because then kids can color the pictures! :) That's actually what I would recommend doing unless you're planning to reuse them.

Back to DGE for a moment - Spin a Word is a super fun way to get a ton of practice with those DGE sounds!

Spin a Word DGE words for fun Soft G words practice

Have students put a paperclip in the center of the spinner. Then, they put their pencil's point right in the center of the spinner. Then, they flick it to spin. SO FUN. They write the word ending that the spinner lands on in the first available line. If it's a real word, they circle it!

It's a fun game to play by yourself OR with a partner/in a small group. If they play it with a partner/group, whoever has the most circled real words wins. It really gets them wanting to blend those words correctly to get the most real words! It also encourages their friends to check their work to make sure they're doing it correctly, so it gives great immediate feedback, especially for your struggling readers.

You can laminate these and then have kids use dry erase markers on them to reuse over and over. When I am going to laminate something, I often print it on color paper since I'm going to save it! :)

Spin a Word on color paper phonics worksheets

More Fun Soft G Worksheets

Another thing that is SUPER fun is doing phonics crossword puzzles! They are literally just a worksheet where kids look at the picture and write the word BUT they are in the form of a crossword puzzle so they look SO fun! Both a way to make your readers who struggle feel so successful and also a way to keep your advanced students engaged/excited to work, so it is amazingly differentiated while being the same paper for everyone!

Soft G worksheets for advanced first grade students

For students who do struggle with the Soft G sound, I recommend giving them sentences to trace and write like this. 

Color Trace Write Read words with Soft G sound for fun phonics activities

It allows them to read a simple sentence with picture support then write it themselves to further solidify it. I LOVE Color Trace Write Read for every phonics sound because of this. They can help your struggling readers feel so successful by supporting them in providing the sentence for them AND providing picture support. They're also great for handwriting practice for everyone! An easy way to sneak in handwriting practice each week while also practicing reading your phonics focus sound. They really are one of my favorite worksheets.

For students who are ready to write their own sentences, you could use my Phonics Helper worksheets where it has writing lines and example words down the side so you don't get a ton of, "How do you spell ____?" questions :) It also helps with students who struggle to get started writing, because they have picture prompting on the side. If they're stuck, they can simply pick a picture and write it in a sentence. I have a lines version with a picture box (worksheet on top) then also a 3 separate sentences version with 3 separate picture boxes for easy differentiation (worksheet under that one) where kids write 1 sentence per picture box instead of a story.

Phonics Writing Worksheets for Soft G words

Also, for students who are ready, give them a fill in the missing words style worksheet instead of the Color Trace Write Read worksheet. So everyone can work on sentences at their current reading level! :)   
Soft G Phonics Worksheets

A cutting and pasting version of this can also be fun. I love turning anything into a cut and paste! Fill in the missing word worksheets are no exception. :) 

Soft G Missing word worksheets for kids

You can also do the color and white versions like I mentioned earlier with worksheets like these! If you laminate these to make them into reusable centers, then you can have one be white with pink answers and one be pink with white answers. I LOVE laminating centers to be reusable - I show that in my Addition Fact Fluency post if you scroll down to the red Fact Fluency picture. I explain how I make them in that post.
Fun Hard and Soft G worksheets

Another way to challenge your students is with A-Maze-Ing Sentences! These are a huuuge hit for each phonics sound! Kids have to read words with the phonics sound to solve the maze. Since they are creating a sentence, this is also wonderful sentence structure practice too!

Sentence mazes worksheets for Soft G words

Words Starting with Soft G: Ge, Gi, and Gy Words

Make sure you're also teaching a lot of words where the Soft G appears at the beginning of the word. Words like gem, giraffe, gym. These words are typically harder to read. I recommend doing sorts and activities first where they don't necessarily have to be able to read the word to complete the activity successfully. I know that may seem weird, but that practice will have your struggling readers looking out for the pattern (ge and gi in the example below this) in words, which is important practice. 

Words starting with ge gi gy soft g sound

It will naturally be differentiated because your students who can read the words will, but everyone will be able to do the same activity successfully.

Then, throw some of the words in sentences with a worksheet that has picture support. This will slowly introduce them to being able to read words with the Soft G sound at the beginning of the word.

I Love to Read Soft G worksheet with sentences and pictures for phonics practice for this tricky sound

The words can get pretty difficult for early readers but if you have advanced students, definitely try to stretch them with the harder pages! Here's an example of one of the worksheet formats they'll be used to but with pretty difficult words:

Gifted first grade student phonics worksheets

Those are some pretty tough words for young readers, but some of your kids will be ready for them!

For the majority of your class, I'd do a page like this instead to practice those words:

I Can Read Soft G Words worksheet

It mixes the easier Soft G words like DGE words with some of the more difficult words that begin with Soft G. They'll be able to match the pictures for the easier words then use process of elimination to read and figure out the rest. A great built in support to help them help themselves! The best! :)

There are a lot more pages in this pack but I feel like I already showed you a lot so I'll stop this post here! If you want ALL of the pages you saw in this post (and more!), you can grab them in my:

Soft G worksheets and activities for first grade, 2nd, or kindergarten that are no prep, differentiated, and fun. Phonics materials kids enjoy doing for morning work, classwork, small groups work - you can also send them home for homework! Reading comprehension, fluency, matching pictures to sentences, games, writing practice!

I have packs like this for so many phonics sounds! The activities in them are consistent so you can use them every time you introduce a new phonics sound and kids already know how to do the activities! I love this because it allows them to focus simply on learning the new sound, not HOW to do the worksheet. I've talked about this a lot in more of my literacy blog posts - you can see them here:
Look under Literacy :) 

You can also see all the phonics sounds I have no prep packs for if you scroll down this page:

I hope you found some fun ideas for how to teach hard and soft G from this post!! Thank you so much for stopping by!