Please make sure you are not using our custom header option and enabled theme builder setting. See here for more information: https://help.diviengine.com/article/155-using-divi-mobile-in-the-theme-builder
Home » Blog » Literacy » Phonics » Beyond Flashcards: 9 Creative Ways to Use Phonics Cards

Beyond Flashcards: 9 Creative Ways to Use Phonics Cards

Literacy, Phonics

Written by: Katie Palmer

Do you use phonics cards to teach spelling patterns? If so, great news! You're aligning with the latest research on effective phonics instruction. SOR-aligned instruction uses phonics cards to help students establish connections between letters and the specific sounds they represent. But, it's so easy to get stuck in the rut of using phonics cards as basic flashcards – which can get super boring super quickly. So, how about some new and fresh phonics card ideas, guaranteed to captivate students' attention, accommodate diverse learning styles, AND establish a robust foundation for both reading and writing skills!

Phonics Word Card Ideas

Using phonics word cards helps students master those pesky sounds, like vowel teams! Try these three ideas to make word study more enjoyable and effective.

Phonics word cards for classroom use
All Access Member? Download this free

Get these exclusively on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

1. Sort & Classify

For this activity, lay out a piece of paper, pocket chart or whiteboard labeled with the different sounds being practiced. Students will sort the word cards into the categories based on sounds. Have students say the sounds/words as they sort them.

2. Pictionary

Pictionary is a fun game to play with the whole class or a small group. Students draw out a word card featuring the sounds being worked on/reviewed. Then, they will draw a picture of the word, with their peers writing down their guesses on whiteboards.

3. Speed Read

This is a student favorite activity. In this activity, students take turns trying to read as many phonics pattern words as possible within a set time limit, with each student having their turn timed.

A student being timed reading long a vowel team word cards
All Access member? Download this free

Phonics Picture Card Ideas

Being able to visualize letters in words gives students a huge lift in comprehension, word recognition and overall literacy skills. Using phonics picture cards is a great way to tap into these visualization skills.

A student's notebook with phonics word and picture cards
All Access member? Download this free

Get these exclusively on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

4. Phonics Hunt

Hide picture cards around your room for students to scavenge for. When a word is found, students should write it on their papers or whiteboards, trying to spell it correctly.

A student completing a phonics scavenger hunt in the classroom

5. Word Building

Students can use the phonics picture cards to dig deep into words and sounds. Using a word building mat, have students say the word, tap it out, map it, graph it and write it.

A word building mat used with a phonics picture card
All Access member? Download this free

Get this exclusively on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

6. Sorting Mats

Similar to the sorting activity with word cards, picture cards can be used to categorize phonics patterns. Lay out the sound patterns (you can use whiteboards, pieces of paper or even index cards) and have students visualize the word for each picture card. Then, they will lay out the cards on the correct sound pattern.

Phonics picture cards sorted by vowel sound
All Access member? Download this free

Phonics Cards: Using Word & Picture Cards Together

Try combining word and picture cards with these three hands on ideas.

7. Memory Match

Making sure you have enough word and picture card matches, lay out a memory game grid. Students take turns flipping over two cards, hoping for a picture and word card match.

Students playing phonics word and picture card memory
All Access member? Download this free

8. Go Fish

Once again, prepare the “deck” of word and picture cards ahead of time, ensuring they all have a match. Each student starts with six cards, and are hoping to pair up cards to lay down before their partner. If they do not get a card they need on their beginning of turn draw, they ask their partner. If the partner does not have the word or picture card needed, they respond, “Go fish”, and the first partner draws.

9. Partnering Up

This last idea is a multipurpose one! Use the word and picture cards to pair students up for partner work/games! Not only is this a fair way to partner kids up, they are working on phonics at the same time!

Students being partnered up using phonics word and picture cards
All Access member? Download this free

Want More Phonics Cards Ideas?

Head to All Access and download our complete list of picture and word card ideas to enrich your phonics instruction.

Get this exclusively on All Access

toothy task kits

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.


Have it All Phonics

Are you looking for a way to simplify your phonics lesson planning? Lucky Little Learners is in the process of creating an engaging and effective phonics curriculum, Lucky to Learn Phonics.

Each phonics sound unit includes:

  • Daily lesson plans
  • Digital or PowerPoint teaching slides
  • Word & picture cards
  • Word & sentences list
  • Quick roll & reads
  • Fold-N-Decode mini books
  • Phonics poem
  • Sound poster
  • Centers
  • Anchor charts
  • Phonics ladders
  • Word sorts
  • And, for the teacher, unit overview and additional materials!

Never search for Phonics ideas or lessons again with the help of Lucky to Learn Phonics!

2 Ways to Get This Resource

Join All Access to download everything we've ever made.

toothy task kits

Or... Purchase the bundle in our shop.

toothy task kits

Looking for More Phonics Tips?

Check out our Phonics Post Library

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Hey there!  I’m Angie, owner of Lucky Little Learners. Our #1 goal is to support K-2 teachers.  We provide unlimited access to over 20,000 printables that are aligned to your standards.