Tuesday, May 28, 2013

How To: Make and Use a Phonics Flip Book

Education materials are kind of a niche market.  And since only a small number of stores are making and selling specialized materials and manipulatives, they charge (in my humble opinion) way too much for their stuff.  

Now, they do sell some great stuff, and it is fun to walk around the store or look at catalogs and think about the possibilities.  But I just can't afford to spend what they're asking.  So I've taken to making the same materials for far less.

Today we're going to make phonics flip books.  These books can be used to practice basic letter recognition all the way through sounding out large words with beginning blends and vowel digraphs.  In other words, they're amazingly versatile.  And very simple.

index cards (at least 20)
sharpie marker
ruler or measuring mat
page protector (not pictured)
three ring binder or index card binder (not pictured)
hole punch (not pictured)
laminating machine and envelopes (optional)
pipe cleaners (optional)

Start by cutting the index cards into 3 equal parts.  My pieces are each one and a half inches wide.  

Label the cards with your sharpie:

The following is a list of the letters that I wrote on the first stack of cards:
b, c, d, f, g, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, y, z

the second (or middle) stack of cards:
a, e, i, o, u, ea, ee, ai, ou, ow

the third (or last) stack of cards:
b, d, f, g, l, m, n, p, r, t, w, y

The above list is just a guide.  Feel free to add more or less of the alphabet (including consonant digraphs and blends in the first stack of cards) depending on your child's reading level.

As you can see, I chose to focus on the letters that would make common, easy to pronounce first words and sounds.  I have not included q or x on any card.  As Natalie's reading ability grows, I'll be adding these letters into her flip book.

At this point, you might choose to laminate your cards.  I've not done that yet, but I think I might.  After working with the book one time, I can see that they'll get bent or torn easily if I don't.    

Punch holes in the top of your cards and add them to your binder.  Add a blank card to the top of the first and last stack.  I also put a page protector behind the cards to hold the extras.

To Use Your Phonics Flip Book

I always start with reviewing the short vowel sound.  Make sure your child knows this sound before going any further.  Once she has that letter and sound recognition under her belt, flip up the blank card on the last stack (here, I've flipped up to letter t).

Model how to blend these two sounds together.  Don't break up the sounds.  In other words, you shouldn't say, "a. t."  Instead, say, "aaaaat."  It should sound like you're saying the word in slow motion.  While you're saying each sound, point to the letter of the sound you're making.  Slowly move your finger to the next letter as you say the next sound (sometimes kids get a kick out of using a pointer to point to the letters.  Almost any longish object can be used as a pointer, but I've suggested a pipe cleaner).

Have your child blend the sounds with you, then by herself.  Finally, have her say it fast - "at."  If she says it the wrong way or seems confused, try it again.  Don't go on until she gets it.  Once she does, flip up the blank card in the first stack.  

Model blending the word "bat" in the same way - in slow motion, not by breaking up the sounds.  You should say, "baaaat," not "b. a. t."  Have her say it with you, then by herself.  Just like before, practice until she understands.  Then try a new beginning sound.

It's okay if some words are pretend:

When Natalie tried this activity for the first time, we started with the word, "ab."  The "b" at the end of this word can be a little tricky.  Often, children want to say, "buh" when sounding out this letter.  Don't let them do it!  We don't say, "a-buh."  We say, "ab."  

Here, she's sounding out the word "dab."  Notice how she's pointing to the letters as she says the sound.  

And here she's sounding out "fab."

In her Periwinkle costume.  Gotta love doing school as a fairy ;)

These phonics flip books are so great for super beginning readers (like Natalie) and for those kids that might need a little review or practice.  They work at so many different levels and can grow along with your child.  I hope that you're feeling encouraged to go make one for your house - even if you aren't homeschooling.  With summer just beginning, these would be an awesome way to practice early reading skills over the break.

Have fun!

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  1. What a great idea! I may try something similar with my beginning reader.

    1. So glad you found this helpful! I hope that you guys get a lot of use out of your flip book :)


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