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Teach With Phonics Skills Chart

Phonics expert Wiley Blevins shares key phonics skills, the approximate age most kids master them, and illustrations of mastery — all in an easy-to-read chart.

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Not sure what kind of phonics activities you should start with? Confused about the levels of phonics instruction? Fuzzy on how to tell when a student has mastered a phonics task? Check out the chart below, created with the guidance of phonics expert Wiley Blevins. He has included key phonics skills, the approximate age most kids master them, and illustrations of mastery — plus sample activities for each skill level from Scholastic books and programs that promote phonics instruction.

 

 

Task Competency
Approximate Age of Mastery
Examples
Sample Activities and Reproducibles
Child can recognize letters by name.
Preschool
Child can point to an "A" and call it an "A."
Alphabet Tree (PDF) from Overhead Teaching Kit: Easy Phonics Lessons for the Overhead
Child can recognize a few letters by sound.
Preschool
Child can point to a "P" and say that it makes the sound /p/.
Which Letter? (PDF) from 201 Thematic Riddle Poems to Build Literacy
Child can recognize rhyming sounds and alliterations in simple words.
Kindergarten
Adult asks child to name a word that sounds like "cat." Child says, "hat."
Picture Dominoes from Fun With Phonics: Beginning & Ending Consonants
Child can identify when the first letter sound of a word is different from the first letter sound of another word.
Kindergarten
Adult shows a picture of a sock, a sun, and a boat and asks which picture name begins with a different sound. Child says, "boat"
Oral Segmentation from Interactive Phonics System
Child can blend simple word parts together to form a word. Child can also distinguish a lower-case letter from an upper-case letter.
Kindergarten
Adult says /k/ /at/ and asks the child what word has been spelled. Child says, "cat."
Blending, Oral Blending, and Dictation/Spelling from Interactive Phonics System
Child can blend individual letter sounds together to form a word.
Kindergarten/
First Grade
Adult asks the child what word is made when these sounds are put together —/k/ /a/ /t/. Child responds, "cat."
Blending from Interactive Phonics System
Child can segment, or separate, a word sound by sound.
First Grade
(Mid – to – late)
Adult asks the child what sounds make up the word "cat." Child responds, "/k/ /a/ /t/."
Worksheet (PDF) from Teaching with Phonics Tiles
Child understands how changing letters in a word changes the sounds and the meaning.
First Grade
(Mid – to – late)
Child spells '"cat" and when asked is able to change the "c" to another letter to make a new word such as "bat."
Worksheet (PDF) from Teaching with Phonics Tiles
Child can sound out one-syllable words with short and long vowel spellings.
First Grade
(Mid – to – late)
Child can sound out the words map, rain, and bean.
Syllabication Activities (PDF) from Teaching Phonics and Word Study in the Intermediate Grades
Child can sound out multisyllabic words.
Grades 3–6
Child can sound out the words sometimes, everything, customer, pilot, and remember.
Syllable Spelling Patterns (PDF) from Teaching Phonics and Word Study in the Intermediate Grades
Child can use prefixes, suffixes, and Greek and Latin roots to sound out and define new words.
Grades 3–6
Child can sound out the words unhappy, repeating, telephone, and autograph.
Prefixes (PDF) and Suffixes (PDF) from Teaching Phonics and Word Study in the Intermediate Grades

 

  • Subjects:
    Phonics, Early Reading, Teacher Tips and Strategies
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