Fun ways to teach decoding

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Looking for fun ways to teach decoding in your kindergarten classroom? We’ve compiled a list of interactive decoding activities right here. Keep your students engaged with fun ways to teach phonics and decoding skills. We hope that you can grab some ideas on ways to teach decoding with your students to build their confidence. Keep reading to learn some classroom ideas and grab a FREE set from the new endless bundle!

Decodable readers are a great way to practice decoding skills and build reading confidence! Having a long list of fun ways to teach decoding will keep students from becoming bored with their reading!

This activity works well with these resources:

Why is it important to keep decodables fun?

Of course, we want the books our students to read to be engaging but unfortunately when you are focusing on a specific skill that cannot always happen. Because of this, it is important that you think of ways to reinforce decoding skills with your students to keep them engaged in their learning. We have compiled a list of even more ideas below that can help you to do this!

Here we go, some fun ways to work with decodable books in kindergarten and first grade.

Partner Reading

Students love to read to other students and decodables are the perfect books to use for this. After we read our books at our small group table, we always ask our students to go read their book to a friend. My students can do this in two ways. First, I teach my students to sit facing opposite directions, side by side, and ear to mouth so they can hear each other. The second way I allow my students to read is on our reading rugs. You can click here to read more about all the ways we use these fun rugs.

I Point, You Read

This is another fun way to work with partners and decodables. Very simple, one partner will point and the other will read. It is not as easy as one might think to point while someone else is reading – it means the person pointing must listen and go at the pace of the read. Decodables are the perfect books to do this with and your students will love it. (I also allow my students to do this on a reading carpet).

Highlighting Focus Skills or Sight Words

Students love getting to use different writing tools and using a highlighter is no exception. A fun way to have students work with their decodables is to have your students highlight words with the focus skill or sight words. This will have students reading them while they highlight. We like to let our students use Mr. Scent Markers as highlighters too, they love that.

Finger Trackers & Pointers

Scanning from left to right in a straight line is not a natural process. As readers, we instinctively look all over the page to gather and process information. Because we know this, using a pacer is a very useful visual guide. Having your students use their fingers or a card to guide their eyes down from left to right increases concentration and reading speed. 

We often get our little pointers in the Dollar Spot at Target but these smiley face finger trackers are fun too:

iPad and Computer Decodables

If your students have access to tablets or computers in the classroom or have access to review from home, decodable book apps and resources are a great resource!

If you visit the app store and search ‘little learners decodables’ you can access Pip and Time story series and The Wiz Kids story series all for FREE download! This resource would be a great way to review and reinforce these phonics skills from the previous lessons independently!

Our Endless Decodable books also come with a Google and Seesaw version for each story. Each comes with the book and matching word work practice. The Seesaw one is really cool too because students will record themselves reading the story back to you and allows them to color the pictures for the book.

DIY Word Windows

Sometimes your students may need to focus in on the specific words they are working on. This is an easy DIY word window that is made out of a plain old index card. We just cut a slit in it and that is it. Students can slide the little window across the sentences to help them focus on the word they need. We use these as a tool as needed but students also like to just read with them sometimes.

Individualized book bins

I love individual book bins. Each student in my class had their own magazine holder like these below. Early in my career I invested in plastic ones (you can find them cheaper, this is just to show you the concept because the plastic ones are WAY more durable than the cardboard ones.

These book bins are great because they can store books they can read independently, library books they checked out, and stories they have published. I kept these book boxes in a row along a counter in my room and students could easily and instantly grab their book box and have work independently to do.

NEW Decodable Materials just for you!

Are you looking for even more decodable activities for your students? Well, you are in luck! Simply Kinder has a brand new Decodables Bundle that you will love!

This bundle includes:

  • book focused on one phonics pattern (prints horizontal which we all know is better).
  • small group aides like wall cards and student reading cards
  • printables where students tap the words before they write them
  • cut and glue printables that have students working on those phonic patterns from the book
  • build a word activities that can be done independently or in small group
  • center activities using the words from the book
  • foldable books focusing on the phonics pattern from the book
  • Google + Seesaw (+voice) and interactive activities
  • & MORE!

The variety of activities is so useful when expanding your methods of teaching decoding with your students!

Click here to get this Endless Decodable with Word Work Activities on Simply Kinder and here on TpT.

Free Decodable + Activities: Short A

Get a free sample from the NEW Decodables + Word Work activities endless bundle to try out today! You don’t miss to miss this HUGE printable (76 pages) & Digital (Google + Seesaw) freebie! It can be yours just by entering your email and name below. The Simply Kinder Freebie fairy will fly that over to your inbox right away.

You’ll also be signed up to be the first to know about the launch sale coming soon 🙂

Fun ways to use decodables can go on and on!

We hope you enjoyed these ideas for teaching decoding skills with your students! The list goes on and on with additional ways to use these with your students too. If your students are engaged in exciting decodable activities that they are confident in, this will guide their success in phonics and reading all year.

Let us know you and your student’s favorite ways to use decodables over on Simply Kinder Teachers Facebook Group or tag us at #SimplyKinder on Instagram!

Related blog posts to check out:

This post was written by Lindsey Ward. Lindsey is a certified teacher with several years of teaching experience and a great love for all things Kindergarten and First Grade.

At Simply Kinder we work together to bring you, ready-to-use resources to partner with great teaching and any curriculum, a Facebook community where teachers talk all things kindergarten and learning ideas that are easy to prepare and your students will love.

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Welcome! It is our goal to help busy teachers just like you to be the best teachers they can be through our classroom ideas, resources, and community. ~ Jennifer

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