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25 Fun Phonics Plays for Beginning Readers

25 Fun Phonics Plays for Beginning Readers

Product Summery

Being a beginning reader is an exciting time in children's lives. The mysteries of the printed word are just beginning to reveal themselves, and children are getting a taste of the independence they crave: the ability to say, "I can read it all by myself." This stage of children's development is also a crucial one for teachers, because it is often at this time that a child's attitude towards reading begins to set. As early readers encounter a larger variety of words in the materials they use, their excitement about reading may be tempered with frustration. The picture clues, familiar sight words, and predictable text patterns that children once relied on are often replaced with more sophisticated text, making reading a greater challenge for them. So, will children come to view reading as a daunting chore or an exhilarating adventure?
Research has shown that direct phonics instruction is an essential component in teaching literacy. As children encounter increasingly more difficult text, they must go beyond using context clues to figure out unfamiliar words and rely more on their ability to decode, or "sound out," the words. Building decoding skills requires readers to know common sound-spelling relationships-in other words, phonics. Given solid phonics instruction, children can develop the skills needed to sound out a large percentage of the words they encounter in their reading. With practice, their ability to recognize those words becomes better-and faster. The outcome? Increased comprehension. The less time children need to focus on decoding words, the more mental energy they can apply to the meaning of the text. Repeated practice with common sound-spelling relationships helps children develop automaticity in word recognition so that they become more fluent readers, which in turn contributes to minimizing their frustration and maximizing their enjoyment of reading.
So, we know that giving children direct phonics instruction is essential; but making it enjoyable is another ball game altogether! Rote practice in learning sound-spelling relationships is far from engaging, and studying lists of words is often unproductive. Without context, phonetic rules are unlikely to stick with children for long; and the context provided by leveled readers with controlled text is sometimes questionable. The language can seem stilted, and plot is often sacrificed in the service of word study. Another way to provide context is by taking advantage of "teachable moments" while children are engaged in non-instructional texts, pointing out specific sound-spelling patterns as they occur naturally. This is a helpful practice, but those teachable moments may not occur as frequently as needed to benefit young readers. One way to solve this problem? 25 Fun Phonics Plays for Beginning Readers! Each engaging, plot- and character- driven drama in this book focuses on a particular sound, helping to immerse children in its sound-spelling relationships and giving them all the benefits of repeated exposure- without sacrificing the story!

In addition, reading plays can boost children's fluency skills. Practice in reading aloud helps children build confidence, accuracy, and comprehension, while providing teachers with a welcome opportunity for spontaneous assessment. And read-aloud practice works better when there's a reason behind the activity. While round-robin read-alouds, in which each child reads a portion of a text, has some benefits, the genre may not be a natural fit and, often, children's assigned parts can seem random. In contrast, plays are designed to be read aloud, and each child is given a part that he or she can really own. Playing the part of a character gives reading a purpose that truly engages children. Plus, you can assign parts according to children's skill level, giving them just the challenge they need.
The plays in this book do not require backdrops, costumes, props, or any other elaborate setup. All you need is a copier, and you're ready to go! With these plays, children get the combined benefits of phonics instruction and fluency practice as they engage in rich, motivating read-aloud experiences. For example, children will:

 learn the short-o sound while reading about a frog-hopping contest

 practice long i as they discover how Mike learns to ride a bike

learn about the "bossy r" as they share Turtle and Squirrel's experiences at the circus

practice the consonant blend sp as they meet some very special spiders

and much more!

On the following pages, you'll find suggestions on how to make the most of children's play-reading experiences, in addition to hands-on phonics activities and games to reinforce the skills they're learning. So if you thought the words "fun" and "phonics" made an odd pair, think again: with 25 Fun Phonics Plays for Beginning Readers, they go together like letters and sounds!