Phonics for 2nd Grade

What is Phonics?

Child reading a book.

Phonics refers to the ability to learn the individual sounds in spoken language and map those sounds to specific written letters in the English language. Students who have strong phonics skills are able to connect individual sounds with letters and use those sounds to read words. (Definition from University of Oregon)

In 2nd grade, readers can distinguish long and short vowels when reading, read regularly spelled words with long vowels, read words with common prefixes and suffixes, and recognize and read grade-appropriate irregularly spelled words.

What Does it Look Like?

What is phonics and why is it important?

Practice Activities

Building Multisyllabic Words: Write multiple one-syllable words. Have the child put two of the words together to create a new, multisyllabic word.  Watch Building Multisyllabic Words.

Prefixes and Suffixes: While reading with the child, pause when you come to a word that has a prefix and/or suffix. Take time to discuss the word by breaking down the word's meaning based on the prefix and/or suffix.  Prefixes and Suffixes (optional)

Syllable Types: Encourage the child to recall syllable types when reading and spelling. Syllable types (optional)

Rainbow Word: Write a word for the child. Have the child write the same word using different colored utensils (e.g., marker, colored pencil, crayon) and using the key below to mark spelling patterns.  Rainbow Words example

  • Red- Consonant
  • Blue- Vowel
  • Orange- Digraph: two letters that make one sound (e.g., sh, ch, th, wh, ph, ck, ng)
  • Green- Bossy or Silent e: an e at the end of a word that is silent and makes the vowel say its name (e.g., kite, cake, broke)
  • Purple- Vowel Teams (e.g., ee, ei, ie, ea, ie, ou, oi, oy, ai, ay, oa, ow, ue)
  • Brown- R Controlled Vowels (e.g., ir, ur, er, or, ar)

Practice Activities (with Printables)

If you don't have a printer, your child's school will print these for you.

Short and Long Vowel Sound Sort: Practice long and short vowel sounds by sorting.  Short and Long Vowel Sound Sort

Spell and Sort with Vowel Digraphs: Use this sorting activity to identify vowel digraphs (au, aw, ew, oo).  Spell and Sort with Vowel Digraphs

Vowel Digraphs: Play this baseball themed game to practice reading words with vowel digraphs (ea, oa, ai, ay, and oo).  Vowel Digraphs

Spin and Read: This activity allows children to practice reading words with the follow spelling patterns: ew, ue.  Spin and Read

Blend Syllables in Words: Play this game by pulling two cards, each having a one syllable word. If the syllables combine to make a new word, write the new word.   Blend Syllables in Words

Syllable Share: Play this game to make multiple words with the same syllable.  Syllable Share

Create New Words: Combine base words, prefixes, and suffixes to create new words.  Create New Words

Affix Sort: Engage with the child by sorting words according to whether they have a prefix, a suffix, both, or neither.  Affix Sort

Affix Hunt: Use this activity to support the child's recognition of affixes (prefixes and suffixes).  Affix Hunt

Crazy Card Game: Practice high frequency words (irregular and regular spellings) with this game. Watch Crazy Card GameCrazy Card Game

Online Activities

Word Force:  This interactive game engages children with fun, multi-level literacy development activities.

Letter Tile Phonics Practice phonics by using the free online Letter Tile Free Play Board.  Access optional lists of words organized by the number of phonemes (or sounds) or by word families.

Short and Long Vowels: This game allows children to sort words into long and short vowel categories.  Play this similar game for more words to sort.

Move the Letters: This game allows children to manipulate letters and correctly spell a word when given a picture of an item with a vowel team.

Vowel Team Sentence Sort: This activity allows children to sort sentences by the vowel teams included in the sentences.

Multisyllabic Words: This game allows children to match open and closed syllables to build a new word with game cards.  This similar game allows children to match open and closed syllables as well.  Syllable Types (optional)

Prefixes and Suffixes: This game allows children to whack a mole based on prefix or suffix.

Prefix and Suffix Sort: This game has children sort word by determining whether each word has a prefix, a suffix, or both.

Letter Sounds Make Words: This Classroom Connection lesson focuses on identifying the sounds letters make in words, blending words together, and breaking sounds in words apart.  Extension activity (optional)