Grade 1:
Phonics and Word Study
The material in this Institute has been modified from the Florida version of the original reading academies that were
developed by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts. The copyright to these
materials is held by the Texas Education Agency.
The copyrights of individual articles included within the academies is held by the original publishers of the articles, and
they are included here with permission.
Survey of Knowledge
Decodable texts
Instructional level
Irregular words
Sight words
Sounding out
Handouts 1 & 2
Components of
Effective Reading Instruction
What We Know From Research
Especially when introduced in
kindergarten and first grade, explicit,
systematic phonics instruction is
significantly more effective than
alternative programs that provide
unsystematic or no phonics instruction
Systematic phonics instruction improves
kindergarten and first grade students’
word recognition and spelling skills
North Carolina Standard
Course of Study
Goal 1:
The learner will develop and apply enabling strategies and
skills to read and write.
1.02 Demonstrate decoding and word recognition strategies
and skills:
Use phonics knowledge of sound-letter relationships
to decode regular one-syllable words when reading
words and text.
1.04 Self-monitor decoding by using one or two decoding
strategies (e.g., beginning letters, rimes, length of word,
ending letters.)
Letter Recognition
Recognizing, naming, and writing the
letters of the alphabet
Identifying and distinguishing both
uppercase and lowercase letters
Letter Recognition Activities
Alphabet Mats Help first graders learn:
letter names
Alphabet Arcs
the sequence of letters in
the alphabet
Alphabet Activities
Handout 3
Phonics and Word Study
Students should come to understand:
Sounds can be represented by a single letter or
combination of letters
Some letters can represent more than one sound
Different word-study strategies can be used to decode
and read unknown words
Generalizations (or rules) may help determine the
correct pronunciations of words but may not apply to
every word
Letter-Sound Knowledge and
Letter-sound knowledge involves learning
the common sounds of letters, letter
combinations, and spelling patterns
Explicit and systematic phonics
instruction teaches students a carefully
selected set of letter-sound
correspondences and spelling patterns that
are organized into a logical sequence
Grouping for Instruction
Teach phonics and word study in small
groups, one-on-one, or with the whole class,
depending on students’ abilities and needs
Explicit and Systematic Instruction
Teach more-frequently used letters and sounds
before teaching those less frequently used
Begin with letter-sound correspondences that
can be combined to make words students can
decode and understand
Handouts 4 & 5
Introduce only a few letter-sound
correspondences at a time
Present each individual letter and its most
common sound
I do it.
We do it.
You do it.
Letter Combinations
Handout 6
Common letter combinations include:
Consonant blends
Consonant digraphs
Vowel combinations (vowel pairs, vowel
Word Study Strategies
Identifying and blending together the letter
sounds in words
Recognizing high frequency and irregular words
Using common spelling patterns
Using common syllable patterns
Using structural analysis
Using knowledge of context and syntax to
support pronunciation and confirm word
Handout 7
Model how to blend the individual sounds
from left to right without stopping
between them
Follow “sounding out” with a fast
pronunciation of the word
Help students to move from orally
“sounding out” words to silently
“sounding out” words as they read
Irregular Words
Handout 8
Contain some letters that do not represent
their most commonly used sounds
Tend to be high frequency words that
students encounter often in their reading
and writing
Can be partially decoded
Making Analogies
Handout 9
Helps students remember words with
sounds or spelling patterns that they
already know and apply this knowledge to
read and spell unknown words
Includes explicit teacher modeling
Open Sort Activity
Place the blank heading cards across the
Shuffle the deck of word cards
Sort the words by commonalities
Create your own category for each set of
Label the heading cards after you’ve
determined the categories
Making Analogies:
Common Syllable Patterns
10 & 11
Closed syllable (CVC)
ends in at least one consonant; the vowel is
Open syllable (CV)
ends in one vowel; the vowel is long
Vowel-Consonant-e (VCe
or CVCe)
ends in one vowel, one consonant, and a final e;
final e is silent; the vowel is long
Vowel + r syllable
has an r after the vowel; the vowel makes an
unexpected sound
Vowel pair syllable
has two adjacent vowels; each vowel pair
syllable must be learned individually
Final stable syllable
has a final consonant-l-e combination or a
nonphonetic but reliable unit such as –tion
/shun/; accent usually falls on the preceding
Structural Analysis
Helps students analyze words, or break them into
parts they already know, to help them read and
spell unfamiliar words
Compound words
Base (or root) words
Inflectional endings
Using Context and Syntax
Knowledge of context and syntax can support
word identification and confirm word meanings
“Does that sound right here?”
“Does that make sense?”
Scaffolding Instruction
Adjust instruction to meet the
specific needs of students
Amount of Support
Scaffolded Practice
Provide students with immediate feedback
during practice
Have students practice new sounds with
previously taught letter-sound correspondences
Provide support as students read text
Help students “sound out” and blend letter
sounds to read words
Provide opportunities for independent practice
Making Words Lessons
These lessons:
provide opportunities for students to make,
sort, and read words
include teacher modeling and scaffolding
Making and Sorting Words
14 & 15
Activity 1
Create a graphic
organizer that
illustrates the steps on
the handout “Making
and Sorting Words
Display the organizer
on the wall
Activity 2
With a partner, use the
letter cards at your
table to practice the
lesson on the handout
“Reviewing Letter
Sounds to Blend
Sounds and Read
Sight Words
Handout 16
Sight words are words that are recognized
The ultimate goal is for all words, regular
and irregular, to be read automatically
with little effort
Teaching With Word Walls
Group words in different categories to
help students learn to read and spell words
Select words from a variety of sources
Limit the number of words that are added
Categorize words in a variety of ways
Provide many opportunities for word-wall
Consider Diversity:
Limited English Proficient Students
Help students use their understanding of
the alphabetic principle to decode words
Teach students how to transfer what they
know in their native language to English
Take particular care to teach letter
combinations and sounds that do not
occur in the students’ native languages
Monitoring Students’ Progress
Regularly monitor students’ phonics and
word-study knowledge
Listen to students read aloud
instructional-level texts
Taking a Closer Look
23 & 24
Review the elements of effective phonics
and word-study instruction on the handout
“Elements of Effective Instruction:
Phonics and Word Study”
Find a lesson that focuses on phonics or
word study
Complete the handout “Taking a Closer
Discuss the lesson and its elements
Remember . . .
Explicit and systematic phonics and wordstudy instruction is an important component
of a beginning reading program.
“The goal [of systematic phonics instruction] is to
enable learners to acquire sufficient knowledge
and use of the alphabetic code so that they can
make normal progress in learning to read and
comprehend written language.”
-National Reading Panel, 2000, p. 2.99

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