Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Ok, I am back on the blogging train. I finally feel on top of my Christmas materials (although I still have to do some tweaking before I put them up on TPT), but I thought I would write about a subject that I have a lot of experience in.

Coming from Kindergarten, I am well versed in phonics instruction. I am a huge fan of straying from basal reading programs (i.e. Open Court) to do word study. I generally like to blend programs to suit the needs of my students. While I know there are purists for certain programs out there, I don't like to be tied down to one thing or another.

My go-to phonics materials are Words Their Way and Fountas and Pinnell 2nd grade phonics. Both are word study programs that involve a lot of word sorts. I have found word study and word sorts extremely effective with my students. I am a convert.

Both programs have their pros and cons. Words Their Way is great because it is broken down into developmental levels rather than grade levels. I am a big believer in differentiating reading instruction, because, let's face it, most students are not reading right on grade level. Many are way above, some are below, and those few are right in the center. It helps to have different activities based on need. The best part about the books are the word lists. In the back of the book there are lists of words for every phonics or word study concept. Long Vowels, Diphthongs, Homophones, Prefixes and Suffixes, Irregular verbs, etc. They help a lot when I create my materials.

Fountas and Pinnell is great because there are specific lessons that go with each phonics concept. It is much easier to read than Words Their Way and it is really helpful to have a lesson sequence mapped out already. The pacing and sequence of the word study is very clear and logical. Of course, since it only covers second grade, it doesn't help reach those very high or very low kids.

I blend the two programs to help use the strengths of each. I use Words Their Way for the word lists and to differentiate. I often use Fountas and Pinnell for whole group instruction as a supplement for the basal reading program at my school. Frankly, I find that my students benefit from these two programs far more than the basal reading phonics lessons.

I'm still learning with second grade (there are a lot of rules to cover than in K) but I've been seeing great results with my students.


  1. I'd be interested in the order that you teach the lessons. I don't like the layout of the F&P binder- I feel like I am always hunting for what to teach now. I like the sequence of the Words Their Way, but am told I need to use primarily the F&P. UGH!

  2. I am interested also...I just received my resources (f&P) and I'm feeling slightly overwhelmed and a little confused!!


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