Digital Word work Activities for the primary classroom

Students love experimenting. They love to try new things, just because. They like to see what happens when they take a specific action or make a certain decision. To some this is trouble – but I like to call it curiosity. And curiosity is the starting place of learning. While experimenting comes easy in some areas like science and art, it is much more difficult in other areas like phonics. I love to support student curiosity and I think that is why I love word work activities so much. Word work is the place where students can try new things and experiment with letters, sounds and words.

digital word work activities for the primary classroom

When I was in the classroom, phonics was such an important part of my day. As teachers we know how important teaching phonics is because it teaches children how to decode letters into their individual sounds. This is a key skill that allows them to later read and spell unfamiliar words by themselves. But this doesn’t just happen naturally and students need lots of practice opportunities. That’s where word work comes in!

Why word work?

Simply teaching a phonics lesson isn’t enough. Students need the extra hands on word work practice to make those important brain connections. The goal with word work is to give students opportunities to “play” with letters and sounds in different ways. This time should allow them to work on blending and segmenting sounds, manipulating sounds and also find the relationships of sounds and words.

digital word work activities engage students in working on a variety of reading and spelling skills

Through word work students learn to identify different spelling patterns that all make the same sound, which in turn strengthens their reading skills. They have opportunities to explore the spelling and meaning of new words. It can also reinforce sight words and high frequency words.

This repeated expose and practice with letters, sounds, spelling patterns and words is what helps our students move their new phonics knowledge into their long term memory. It helps them in the long run to become better readers, spellers, and writers. Isn’t that our ultimate goal?

skills based practice

As I began creating these digital word work activities it was very important for me that each activity targeted skills my students need to learn, practice and review. Each of these activities was designed based on the hands-on activities I used in my classroom.

1. Letter / sound identification

students begin by indentifying the letter or letters and their sound

Each activity begins with a focus on the letter(s) and sound. This is an important place to start to make sure that students know the target for the word work activity. I have added audio into the activity so that even our youngest pre-readers can still be actively involved in the learning process.

Students will begin by seeing the letter or letter combination and listening to the sound. Then students are asked to say it. This multi-sensory approach allows the information to work its way to the brain using different sensory inputs.

2. Phonemic Awareness

students will practice identifying the target sound with words and pictures in this digital word work activity

Next, students will focus on phonemic awareness through pictures and words. Students are asked to identify a picture or read (view) a word and find the target sound. These activities have a scavenger hunt feel as students try to identify all the words and pictures.

Next, students will use phonemic awareness skills to sort a variety of pictures into two groups – those with the target sound and those without. While our learning objective is the same, the activity changes in order to keep students engaged.

3. Blending

blending sounds to read words and reading comprehension go together with these two word work activities

Students will then move into some activities designed to help them with blending sounds in order to read words. Here students are prompted to tap and say each letter sound, then blend them together to read the word. The students love to check off each word as they successfully read it.

4. reading comprehension

Blending sounds doesn’t do our students a lot of good if they are not comprehending the words they are reading. In the next activity, students will look at a picture and then find the word that matches.

5. reading fluency

Reading fluency is the focus with these simple sentences. Students are prompted to read each sentence three times. This repeated reading helps students to work on overall reading fluency. Additionally, these sentences include sight words and high frequency words so students get additional practice recognizing and reading these words too!

students will work on reading fluency by reading simple sentences

6. Segmenting sounds

spelling words through segmenting sounds is a key part of work work activities

The final activity provides students with opportunities to work on segmenting sounds in order to spell words. The students will look at a picture and then segment each sound. As they say each sound they will move the coordinating letter in place to spell the word.

For kindergarten students, or students that struggle with letters and sounds, this is also a great reinforcement activity. By reviewing students work you can quickly and easy see which sounds and letters they are struggling with.

Word Work for any phonics program

digital word work activities can be used for any phonics curriculum or program

Since the focus of these word work activities is on foundational reading and spelling skills, the activities are perfect for any phonics program or curriculum. If you’ve been teaching long enough, then you know that curriculum choices change. Sometimes they change often. However, the basis of quality phonics instruction stays the same. It was really important to me that these word work activities be something that could be used to support the skills your students are learning no matter what program or curriculum you use.

I know you will find something for everyone with these digital work work resources! I always loved watching my students’ individual growth as we moved through the year. Learning to read is the most magical thing about first grade! With these fun and engaging word work activities your students will be on their way to mastering important reading and spelling skills.

word work for Your Classroom

I have created these digital word word activities for short vowel CVC words, long vowel CVCe words and blends & digraphs. With these resources in place you can provide skills based word work practice for the entire year!

You can find all of the no prep digital word work activities in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

digital word work activities for short vowel CVC words
long vowel CVCe digital word work activities for Google slides
digital word work for blends and digraphs are perfect for kindergarten, first grade and second grade

While each of these activities is available individually, you save 25-30% off the price of the individual resources when you purchase the bundle.

save these digital word work ideas

I don’t know about you, but I have wasted precious minutes (maybe even hours) searching the internet for something I previously saw and wanted to find again. It’s so frustrating since cyber space is a really big place! Now I just pin things on Pinterest and I know I always have a direct link to what I need. Pin this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you are ready for more word work and first grade teaching ideas.

Digital Word Work activities for primary students is a fun and engaging way to help students master important reading and spelling skills


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