Basketball Themed Activities for Phonics and Sight Words


St. Patrick’s Day is over and right on the heels of the holiday is college basketball season!  Well, who’s your favorite team? I have to say when it comes to college athletics, I’m all about those Michigan State Spartans!  That team plays with such passion it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement and Tom Izzo, well…. he’s quite the coach. Whether your team makes it into the finals or not, your little basketball fans are going to enjoy these basketball themed activities for practicing targeted phonics skills.

First up is the It’s All Net activity for practicing the consonant + le syllable type.  When you download this activity you will receive the template and 45 basketballs with words containing c+le.  Students sort the words depending upon the open vowel, short vowel closed syllable and a short vowel closed syllable with a double consonant.




 The It’s All Net for Consonant + le activity is available through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Many of my first grade friends are learning the three sounds of -ed. The It’s All Net! activity for practicing this concept is a fun way of learning this skill.



 The It’s All Net Sounds of -ed activity is also available through my TpT store.

I love the “Swish!” activities. They are fast-paced activities that offer multiple practice opportunities. Not only is this activity available for the Dolch Sight Words, but for CVC Words, Fry Sight Words, BlendsDigraphs, R-Controlled Vowels and Vowel Teams.


The Swish! Dolch Sight Words activity can be found in my online TpT store.

 Enjoy the next few weeks of college b-ball!


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Teaching the Consonant+le Syllable Type


It’s always so much fun listening and watching our young readers figure out those “longer” words. Many of our little ones are pretty solid decoding one-syllable words and are now ready to learn strategies for decoding multisyllabic words. So, really, what is a syllable? Simply put, a syllable is a unit of pronunciation containing a single vowel sound. “Syllabication” is the process of analyzing the pattern of vowels and consonants in a word to determine where a word is broken into its syllables. The ability to break a word into syllables helps students decode those longer words as well as helps the student remember spelling patterns. Understanding the 7 syllable types helps students to become better readers and writers.

There are 7 types of syllables that occur in all words of the English language. Every word can be broken down into these syllables. These 7 syllables include: closed, open, magic e, vowel teams, r-controlled, dipthongs and consonant le.  Let’s focus on one of those syllable types: Consonant + le

The consonant+le syllable type is known as a “final stable syllable” because it can only occur at the end of words.

cle poster

 The Seven Syllable Types Posters can be downloaded for FREE in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

When breaking the word into syllables the c+le is the ending syllable. If the first syllable ends with the vowel (e.g. bugle, cradle, cable, eagle), it is considered “open” the vowel says its long sound.  If the syllable ends with a consonant (e.g. mumble, puzzle, giggle), the syllable is considered “closed” and the vowel says it’s short sound.


The -le becomes its own syllable at the end of the word. The consonant that comes before the -le always stays with the -le ending (never separate the “ck”). The final vowel “e” is always silent, but it creates a new sound for the consonant+l. The schwa sound comes before the “l” and makes the /ul/ sound.

Not every consonant is represented in the c+le syllable type.  The consonants that can join with the final -le include: -ble, -cle, -dle, -fle, -gle, -kle, -ple, -tle, -stle, and -zle.  You may find this word list helpful for teaching the c+le rule. It’s always nice to have a word list on hand when teaching syllable rules and practicing spelling of words to dictation.


To download this FREE c+le word list just click the following link: Consonant + le Word List

One of my favorite resources for teaching and practicing the consonant + le syllable pattern is the file folder phonics activity where students sort the words based on the vowel sound and spelling pattern of doubling the consonant.


The Consonant + le File folder Activity can be purchased separately as one file folder activity. It’s also available in the File Folder Phonics Bundle.


For our sports-minded students, the It’s a Goal! Consonant + le and the Swish! Consonant + le activities offer multiple practice opportunities for reading words containing this syllable pattern.



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Easter Egg Activities for Rhyme, Beginning Sounds and Vocabulary


I absolutely love these Easter eggs that Kyle created.  They are so colorful and make for fun and interactive center activities during spring.  I created three different activities for my preschool and kindergarten friends just for learning and practicing the early literacy skills of beginning sounds, rhyme and vocabulary.

When you download the Easter Egg Alphabet activity you’ll receive 26 eggs with upper-, lowercase letters and a picture with the beginning sound of the letter.  Just for the sake of organizing the pieces, a label for the activity is also included.


 The Easter Egg Alphabet Activity can be found in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

The Easter Egg Rhyme activity is one of my all-time favorite activities for practicing the skill of rhyme. Understanding that words are made up of separate speech sounds that can be changed to create new words is one of the key foundational skills for developing readers.  Rhyming activities are perfect for helping students appreciate the sounds in words.  When you download this activity you will receive 25 rhyming Easter eggs.


 The Make, Take & Teach Easter Egg Rhyme activity can also be found in my TpT online store.

Helping students understand similarities and differences between items is important in developing vocabulary.  When you download the Easter Egg Similarities activity you will receive 24 eggs with pictures containing words with similar characteristics. Be sure to have your students explain why the items are similar.


 You can find the Easter Egg Similarities activity in my TpT store.

Hope you enjoy these Easter themed activities!


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St. Patrick’s Day Pot O’ Gold Activity for Beginning Sounds


It’s always so much fun to add a holiday twist into center and small group activities.  The Pot O’ Gold activities have been a hit during the first few weeks of March.  When you download this activity you will receive 25 letters of the alphabet (omitting “x”) printed on golden pots and over 100 colorful beginning sound pictures printed on coins.  This activity is easily differentiated as you can choose which and how many coins to use.


 The Pot O’ Gold Activities for Beginning Sounds can be found in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

This activity is also available for Word Families, Short Vowels, Consonant Digraphs, and R-Controlled Vowels.


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Fun Little St. Patrick’s Day Activity for Practicing Digraphs

digraph cloversblogpic

St. Patrick’s Day is soon approaching!  My goodness, this school year is flying by.  It’s kind of fun how we measure our school year by the coming and goings of the holidays.  So far this year we’ve had 9 snow days!  Can you believe it?  9!  It seems like we’ve been hit with a deep freeze this year.  It’s not often that you read -29 degrees on your car thermometer.  That’s not even counting the wind chill.   When you live in the great white north you never know what can happen.  With winter not even over, we may have to go well into summer.   Anyway, here’s a little digraph activity I whipped up on one snow day morning.

What you’ll need to do is copy the pdf below, cut out the shamrocks and hot glue them on the ends of a large craft stick.  Be sure to make a set for each student in your group.  For those students just learning digraphs, you’ll want to begin with sounds only.  So, say the sound of one of the digrpahs (e.g. /sh/) and have the students hold up the correct stick.  You can differentiate the activity by choosing the number of digraphs you use within the group.

Shamrock Digraphs

Click the following link to download this free printable Shamrock Digraphs

If the students are doing pretty well with the sounds only, add a little more difficulty by providing a word and having the students hold up the correct stick.  Here’s a word list for consonant digraphs that you can use.  I have a hard time thinking of those words on the spot.

Common Consonant Digraph Word List

Click the following link to download this free consonant digraph word list. Common Consonant Digraph Word List

On another one of those snow days, I made a digraph sorting activity activity.  Sorting activities are very helpful when introducing a skill or for use when students are having a difficult time hearing the differences between sounds.  When you download this activity, you’ll receive 40 colorful coins with pictures of digraphs.

Pot O Gold Digraphs1st


Click HERE to download this activity from my TpT store.

I have to say that the unexpected snow day is always a treat.  But to have 9! Holy Cow!  It’s getting difficult to get back in a routine.  So, I can’t believe I’m saying this, but….let’s hope for at least a few solid weeks of school in the upcoming months.


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Resources for Teaching Blends and Digraphs

Many of my first grade friends are now learning common blends and digraphs.  I thought it’d help if I gathered a few of my favorite resources and activities as well as answer common questions for introducing and practicing this skill.

What’s the difference between a blend and a digraph?

Consonant Blends

A consonant blend is when two or more consonants are blended together, but each sound may be heard in the blend.  The most common beginning consonant blends include: bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fr, tr, fl, gl, gr, pl, pr, sl, sm, sp and st.  Blends can also occur at the end of words as in the word “last”.  There are also blends which contain three consonants.  Common three consonant blends include: str, spl, and spr.  When teaching blends, most teachers introduced them in groups.  For example, a teacher may choose to introduce the l-blends first (bl, cl, fl, gl, pl and sl) followed by the r-blends.  When introducing the concept of blends and digraphs, cue cards often help.  Here’s one I made with many of the consonant blends.  You can download this for free.

Chart Blends and Digraphsblogpic

Click HERE to download this freebie from my TpT store

Consonant Digraphs

In a consonant digraph, two consonants stand together to represent a single sound.  The most common consonant digraphs are: sh, ch, th, and wh.  There are other consonant digraphs (ph); however, most teachers typically introduce these 4 digraphs first as they are the most common.  They are often referred to as the “h brothers”.  Teaching digraphs can be lots of fun.  However you choose to introduce this concept, be sure to add visuals as they are so helpful especially for our struggling readers.  Here’s the cue card specifically for digraphs that I made to introduce the concept.  Specific instructions for introducing digraphs during instruction can be found in the Consonant Blends and Digraphs Activity Pack.

Chart Digraphsblogpic

Click HERE to download this cue card for free from my TpT store

Sometimes you just need a list of words to support instructional activities.  Just click the following link to download a list of common words containing consonant digraphs

Common Digraphs List

To download this handout just click the following link:  Common-Consonant-Digraph-Word-List-3

Which should be taught first?

This is a little tricky.  Some reading programs do not even teach blends as they are really two separate sounds.  Personally, I believe teaching blends is a good idea as they are letters that frequently occur together so students are learning to recognize patterns in words.  Many reading programs introduce blends before the digraphs.  I would suggest following the sequence presented in your reading series.

How do we teach blends and digraphs?

For all learners, but especially for struggling readers, systematic and explicit phonics instruction is critical.  “Systematic phonics instruction” refers to the sequence of phonics skills introduced.  In a phonics program, there must be a logical order of introduction of skills.  “Explicit phonics instruction” refers to how the skills are taught.  Students need instruction where the teacher is providing precise directions for teaching the skills.  Struggling readers require additional guided practice in small groups and instruction must be differentiated to meet individual needs.

Make, Take & Teach Resources for Teaching Blends and Digraphs

Call me crazy, but love digraphs almost as much as I love short vowel sounds.  It’s so rewarding to see our young readers begin to move beyond just single letters and sounds and move towards more advanced phonics skills.   The Consonant Blends and Digraphs Activity Pack contains 15 hands-on activities that you can use to both teach and practice blends and digraphs.  The activities are designed specifically for small group instruction and contains a 26 page teaching manual with step-by-step instructions for each activity.


Click HERE to download the Consonant Blends and Digraphs Activity Pack from my TpT store

Volume 5 of the Cookie Sheet Challenge was designed specifically for practicing blends and digraphs.  The cookie sheet activities are great for use within literacy centers and contain activities which can be differentiated.  Students and teachers just love the colorful graphics.


Click HERE to download the cookie sheet activities for blends and digraphs from my TpT store.

The Write It Phonics Cards are great for centers.  To assemble the cards simply print them on card stock, laminate and bind them together with a loose leaf ring.  The cards can be used over and over again.


Just click HERE to download the Write-It Phonics Cards for Consonant Blends


Just click HERE to download the Write-It Phonics Cards for Consonant Digraphs

If  you have any fun ideas for teaching blends and digraphs, please let us know by leaving a comment.  To leave a comment on this blog post, just click the title.



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