Many years ago, I was introduced to the elements of early Reading instruction. With my background in math, I had a lot of learning to do, but I immediately saw the value in helping students build an understanding of phonics and phonemic awareness. Using hands-on tools like Unifix® CVC and Blends cubes can accelerate students’ understanding of these critical early reading skills. Together with the new Early Phonics and Phonics activity books, these resources allow students to make concrete connections to the words around them.
I’ve selected just a couple of the 211 activities available in these two books to get you started with this resource. All these activities are designed to support small-group phonics instruction using the Unifix phonics cubes and Word-Building Cards. More sample activities are available below and on our website.
Introduce students to new sounds, blends, or digraphs using word-building activities with the Unifix Cubes. For example, when working with beginning sounds, use the cubes to build two words with the same beginning sound. Start with two pictures, like a bag and a bed, and ask the students to name the beginning sound for the object in each picture. Then build the words with the cubes and write the resulting words. Model reading the words and listening for the repeated beginning sound, having students identify that letter in each word.
Follow the introductory activities with activities that reinforce students’ understanding of the new sound, building on previous learning and providing opportunities to practice their new learning.
Climbing the Word Ladder
Once the new sounds, blends, or digraphs have been introduced and reinforced, students have the opportunity to practice with word ladders. These progressive words challenge students to make a new word by changing the beginning, ending, or middle sounds of the previous word. For example, when learning beginning blends, students can practice the blends by building a series of words with the same phonogram, changing beginning sounds to match the pictures and writing the words as they move down the ladder. As necessary, students can use the Unifix Cubes to model the words.
Using a familiar tool like Unifix Cubes to reinforce early reading instruction helps students gain familiarity and confidence with phonics. Together with these carefully designed activities and Word-Building Cards, Unifix Cubes make phonics fun!