Sample Reading Activities


The following activities and brief descriptions are sample activities to address the various reading components.

These activities may or may not work for your students. Consider whether or not they will be useful to you, how you might modify them for your students, and what other ideas they might suggest.

Phonics Activities



Call-and-response blending

The teacher holds up a card with letters to represent a sound; the student does the same. Together they speak the teacher’s sound, then the student’s. They say the resulting word together.

Choral reading

Small or large groups of students read aloud together multiple times, with in-between discussion of the decoding of the words that students mispronounced.

Finding rhymes / rhyming poetry

Students circle words within a poem that rhyme, and draw lines from one rhyming word to another.

Flash cards

The teacher prepares a stack of cards contains words with the letter–sound associations being studied. The teacher or another student holds up a card. Once it is read aloud correctly, the card is returned to the stack of words. Go through the entire stack several times for practice, even if the student decodes them correctly.

Graphic organizers

Using a variety of graphic organizers, such as bubble graphs, students break words into letter–sound combinations, include definitions and uses of the word, and similes and antonyms. (This exact exercise works for vocabulary, too.)

Guided oral reading

A highly recommended strategy.

One student reads aloud, and the teacher or another student listens. The student receives feedback on decoding, and the teacher and student read aloud together. The student then reads the same passage aloud. This can occur with multiple repetitions.

Identifying site words in text

Self-explanatory. Using the list of words containing the target letter–sound associations, students find the words in text. They should engage in guided oral reading of the passages.


The teacher calls out a letter or group of letters that make a specific sound, and students search for visible things with names that contain the sound.


Writing in a personal journal, such as a reading journal. Students use specific words in their journal entry that contain various letter–sound association being studied.

Odd word out

Looking at a set of words, students identify the word that does not contain the letter–sound association being studied.

Quick erase / swap

The teacher writes a word, and the students decode it. The teacher removes or changes letters in the word to create a new word, which the student decode.

Rhyming Poetry

Students write rhyming poems or couplets in which the rhyming words contains letter–sound association being studied.

Sound searching

Students search text to find words that have a specific sound(s).

Sound timelines

After sounding out words, students write out words with spaces or dashes between each sound in the word.


Students break written words into syllables, either orally or in writing.

Vocabulary study prior to reading

Students sound out (and study) the vocabulary terms and new words that they are going to find in the text they are about to read. (This should be a part of all vocabulary activities.)

Vocabulary substitution

When studying antonyms and synonyms, students sound out and practice decoding new words, which they then use as replacements during vocabulary activities.

Word analysis for roots

Identifying and sounding out root words that have the letter–sound association being studied.

Word grouping by letter combinations

Identifying or listing words that have the letter–sound association being studied.

Word searches in text

Similar to vocabulary study prior to reading and identifying sight words in text, students identify words in text that have the letter–sound association being studied.