When thinking of Kindergarten and 1st grade reading activities, I like to include a variety of materials that focus on many aspects of literacy. Kindergartners and 1st graders grow so much in one year. They also come in at completely different ability levels. So, it’s important to be able to reach all readers, where they’re at, with a variety of Kindergarten and 1st grade reading activities.
Word Work Activities for Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Word work activities should be simple, but effective. The goal with word work is to both introduce new skills, while also reviewing previously learned skills. Word work should focus on isolating sounds and really knowing how to put those sounds together to form words.
At this stage, students need frequent reminders to say all the sounds in words and put those sounds together when reading words. If this is an issue your students have trouble remembering, grab this free handout as a visual reminder to display! You can also read more about how students move from letter sounds to actual words.
Word work activities can include making words, breaking words down to individual sounds, and changing words to make new words.
I like to use a large variety of letter tiles, and objects, for word work activities. For each student, or group, I simply change out the words we focus on, such as short vowels vs long vowels with silent e.
Another focus of word work in Kindergarten and 1st Grade is high frequency words. You want students to practice reading these words and then be able to read them within context. You also want students to be able to write the words. These high frequency word activities are simple ones you can try out!
If you need objects for word work, these are my favorite CVC objects. This is an Amazon affiliate link and I earn a small commission.
Decodable Texts for Kindergarten and 1st Grade
Decodable texts for Kindergarten and 1st Grade are popular because they allow students to apply their knowledge of letter sounds, in context. These can easily be differentiated for each reader, or group, based on what they’ve mastered.
I have phonics passages that focus on each individual phonics concept. I also have seasonal and holiday themed passages that are made up of decodable words, appropriate for these readers.
Readers feel very successful with these types of texts because they’re focusing on specific skills within each passage. Check out how the seasonal passages are super engaging for kiddos and help build their confidence!
Guided Reading Groups
Guided Reading groups are another important part of literacy activities for Kindergarten and 1st Grade. Each group will vary when it comes to specific content covered, but overall your framework can remain the same. Small group time should be divided up between word work, students reading, and comprehension.
The word work time again will focus on decoding and encoding, as well as working on high frequency words. Then students will apply their knowledge to their actual texts. Following up with a focus on comprehension where students write responses and discuss questions, as a group.
My guided reading passages packs are a huge help when it comes to planning for multiple groups each day!
If you need a great set of letters, like the rainbow letters pictured above, I got mine from Amazon. This set comes with its own organizer as well, and I just love them! This is an Amazon affiliate link and I earn a small commission.
Comprehension activities can be part of your small group instruction, but they also can be used in other settings. Whether in whole group, or during centers, readers can focus on showing their understanding of texts by completing comprehension activities on their own. This may be done with written responses to questions, or graphic organizers, on sticky notes, etc.
Overall, the goal with Kindergarten and 1st Grade reading activities is to provide students with plenty of opportunities for practice and growth, as readers!