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Back to School Phonics Review

As you plan for back to school, phonics review activities should be part of your literacy lessons. By reviewing phonics concepts, right from the start of the school year, you’ll get an idea of what your students know. You can then use that information to guide your teaching, from the very beginning. Read on to find out about meaningful back to school phonics review activities.

Phonics Word Work

Phonics word work activities should be included right from the beginning of the school year. It’s important to narrow down what skills students have already mastered. You’ll also want to determine what they need more practice with, when it comes to phonics patterns. By identifying the patterns they know vs don’t know, you’ll have a good starting point for word work focuses in small groups. 

Some phonics word work activities to use at that beginning of the year, include:

  • making words 
  • substituting sounds in words
  • reading words in isolation
  • identifying the number of sounds in a word
  • identifying the number of syllables in a word
  • identifying where different sounds fall in a word
Each one of these activities can be used, regardless of student ability level. You’ll just need to adjust the words used with each student, or group. Students with higher word decoding knowledge, will be able to focus on multiple syllable words. Whereas students with less word decoding knowledge will need to focus on basic words, like CVC or CVCe words.

Phonics Focused Review

My Phonics Focused Review Passages are a great way to review phonics patterns learned in the previous school year.

I previously wrote a blog post about my Phonics Focused Review Passages to give you an idea of what all is included. 

Since writing that blog post, I’ve added Phonics Focused Review Passages that can be used at the beginning of each grade level:


Due to the simple nature of these passages, you can just print, make copies and use these, on repeat, throughout the year, when needed. 

These work especially well as a Back to School Phonics Review activity. Students can complete the passages on their own, during independent work, or in small groups, with you. You also can complete these during morning work, where students work together to find the focus words. 


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Focused Word Work

With specific focused word work and comprehension questions, students are intentional with their reading of each passage. The focus is clear, which leads to more engaged readers. 

By simply reading the passage and then returning to the passage to find specific words that match each phonics pattern, students are reading the words both in isolation, and in context. They’re getting twice the amount of practice reading all the focus words. 

The comprehension questions are also written with the intent for students to use those phonics focus words again, in their written responses. 

If you’re looking to easily add some phonics based review into your literacy rotation, check out all my phonics focused review passages here!

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Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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