Don’t waste time sorting the magnetic letter tiles you need for your next small group lesson or your phonics centers. This easy to use method keeps them set up and ready to go. These DIY magnetic letter cards will simplify your word building activities and my easy storage idea will make your phonics centers easier to manage!
The Benefits of Word Building with Letter Tiles
Before I show you how easy it is to make these magnetic letter cards, let’s talk about why you should use them with your students.
Word building helps students to:
- understand how letter symbols relate to letter sounds
- segment a word into its graphemes
- blend graphemes to create the spoken word
- isolate sounds in words
- identify spelling patterns
How To Make Magnetic Letter Tiles
Phonics materials and literacy manipulatives can get expensive. These easy to make letter tiles are quite inexpensive and the metal pizza pan we use with them is from the dollar store.
- Dollar store pizza pan
- Magnetic sheets 8 x 10 size
- Printable letter cards
- Print the letter cards (grab the FREE set below) on colored copy paper. You can also use cardstock but it’s not necessary. The magnetic sheets that you’ll adhere to the back of each page of letters gives them added thickness and durability.
TIP: Using colored copy paper rather than cardstock makes the letter cards easier to cut out.
- Print the vowels and spelling patterns on an alternate color. The vowels, consonants, and all the phonic patterns are on separate, printable pages which makes it easy to print them on different color papers.
- Adhere the magnetic sheet to the back of each page of letter cards. I used these magnetic sheets from Amazon. Carefully line up the edges and lay the letter page onto the sticky side of the magnetic sheet and press firmly over the entire surface.
- Cut out each letter card. My magnetic sheets came with a little pair of scissors, but I used my regular scissors to cut them out.
- Place letters in alphabetical order around the edge of the pizza pan.
- Place cards with vowel pairs, blends, digraphs in a separate bags or in the middle of the arc when using them.
- Students slide the letters downward to spell words and slide them back up in order when finished.
Word Building Activities To Do With Letter Tiles
Here are 7 ways to use letter cards in your weekly phonics instruction to build phonemic awareness:
- Connect phonemes to graphemes
- Isolate sounds
- Build words
- Substitute sounds
- Delete sounds
- Add Sounds
- Identify Patterns
Isolate it! – Practice isolating sounds by having students identify the beginning, middle, and end sound(s) in words they build.
Substitute the Sound – Students build a word then create new words by changing one sound in the word. This is like using letter ladders on paper where students change one letter or sound and then write the new word.
So long, sound! – In this game you start with a word, delete a sound or sounds and ask students, “What word is it now?” You might ask, ” What word is sand with out /s/?” “What is train without /tr/?” and so on.
Digital phonics games To incorporate technology in your phonics activities, check out these digital phonics games for students to practice short vowel CVC word building.
Tips for Storing Letter Tiles
I often dreaded using letter cards with my students was because they took so long to sort out. By the time each student went through their bag and found the letters they needed, there wasn’t much time left to use them. It used valuable small group time to allow students to do it themselves. Prepping the bags ahead of time myself and pulling the letters needed can also be fairly time consuming.
To solve that problem simply store the alphabet letters on the pans and the phonics pattern cards in baggies. Stack the pans on top of each other with the letters attached.
Free Phonics Letter Tile Printables
Don’t waste time sorting the letter cards you need for your next small group lesson or your phonics centers. Grab these free letter tile printables to make your own magnetic phonics manipulatives. The download includes 9 different phonics patterns that are perfect for your word building activities.
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