I think Teachers Pay Teachers is great (biased, I know). But honestly? I think it can also be terrible for someone who doesn’t know what they are looking for. There are a LOT of, let’s just say questionable, resources out there. If someone were just looking for Science of Reading resources, they might run across something that isn’t aligned with evidence, despite what it is claiming. This worries me, and I wish there was a way to vet resources. So today, I’m talking about SOR and TPT.
This isn’t my first time sharing resources, but tonight I have 10 new resources that you can trust. Some are free, some are paid, and all of them are incredible. I’m putting this list out here just so teachers can have people and products to turn to that they know are fully-aligned.
1. Word Chains (Campbell Creates Readers) I released this resource since my last post, and it has become the product I didn’t know I couldn’t live without. With word chaining, kiddos start by writing a word and then they change one sound each time to create a new word. It’s an amazing tool to reinforce phonemic awareness and phonics skills. This product has 59 word chaining lists already written and organized by phonics skill. Trust me when I say this will make your life SO much easier.
2. Fluency Grids (Campbell Creates Readers) At first glance, these grids seem simple. Once you start using them, however, their power becomes apparent. A fluency grid has 7 words that are repeated, in different order, for several rows. Children practice reading the words, row by row. You’ll be surprised how fluent many children become when they get to that final row!
3. Fluency Grid FREEBIE (Campbell Creates Readers) Curious about the fluency grids, but not ready for such a large purchase? This floss rule freebie is the perfect way to get started with the practice.
4. Decodable Passages (Mrs. Winter’s Bliss). Whether you are just starting your SOR journey, or have been travelling this road a while, these decodable passages are an amazing resources. Christina’s passages are unique in a few ways. They include some sounds and words in isolation before encountering the text, which I love! They also include a read-aloud option for the text! Lesson plans, comprehension, rereading activities, and more are included. I could write an entireblog post just on these passages. Do yourself a favor and check them out!
5. Word Mapping NO PREP Centers (Droppin’ Knowledge with Heidi). I purchased these word mapping centers for a small group of students coming to me before school. Basically, the students are given an image and sound boxes. They must then use their orthographic knowledge to spell the word sound by sound. It is a great way to see if children are truly understanding the sound to symbol connection. This would be the perfect activity for students to complete during independent work stations!
6. Parent Letters aligned with the Science of Reading FREEBIE (Campbell Creates Readers) A teacher reached out to me asking for letters they could send home during parent-teacher conferences. So, I created these 5 free parents letters (more will be coming!) to help explain some concepts and give parents tips on how they can help their child. Check back mid-February because a free Spanish translation will be available soon.
7. Successive/Continuous Blending Mats (Reading Rachel) Rachel is pretty new to the Instagram and TPT scene, but she’s someone you should know. I whole-heartedly trust her when it comes to the knowledge and resources she shares. These blending mats are pure genius. If you have children who struggle to blend words, these are a great scaffold. You start with one sound, then blend on the next sound, before finally blending the entire word. A great way to help children move from sound-by-sound reading to fluent decoding.
8. Encoding and Decoding Prompts Freebie (Reading Rachel) Have you retired Lips the Fish? Struggling with a way to prompt students when they come across unfamiliar words? These free prompts are your perfect solution. Rachel gives you prompts you can use for both spelling and reading. Bye bye Skippy Frog, nobody misses you.
9. Alphabet Handwriting Practice FREEBIE (Literacy with Mrs. E) There’s a few things about this freebie that makes it pretty special. In Orton-Gillingham, we have children write their ABCS a-m on one line, and n-z on the next. These pages are all organized in that manner. I also really love the version that has the dots to show where children should write. Please note: these are a scaffold that should be done WITH a teacher to help correct improper letter formation. The goal is for the scaffold to be taken away as soon as possible!
10. Phonics Bingo (Campbell Creates Readers) These bingo games came about when I had a second grade boy say “I’m sad we don’t play games anymore.” I realized that I was sad too. So, I began creating games that can be played in a whole-group or small-group setting. They are your classic bingo games, except they are organized around phonics skill. I have my students read their bingo board before we start playing (great way to get additional reading in!)
I know that there are some huge sellers out there that I haven’t include. In part, this is intentional. I refuse to promote stores that sell both “Science of Reading” materials and balanced literacy materials. I find it is confusing for teachers, and it makes me question whether it is about the children or the money. So, I only promote teachers who have commited to selling only evidence-based resources.
I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again—you don’t have to have any of this. The most powerful tool a teacher can ever have is their knowledge. That being said, teaching is dang hard and if there is something that can make your life easier, I am all for it. These 10 products are things you can bring in to support your instruction and make planning and implementing a structured literacy classroom easier. Just remember it’s not about the stuff in the end. It’s about the instruction.