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Home » Blog » Literacy » Phonics » Best Books for Teaching Phonics Skills

Best Books for Teaching Phonics Skills

Literacy, Phonics, Read Alouds

Written by: Katie Palmer

When teaching phonics, teachers are always looking for new and engaging ideas. Are you ready for the newest idea from Lucky Little Learners? Using poems & picture books to aid in engagement, fluency and mastering phonics sounds. This post will share more about our newest resource, Phonics Poems with Daily Activities AND companion books that will allow teachers to reinforce the phonics skill as well as engage readers! Read on!

Before sharing ideas for the best books for teaching/reinforcing phonics skills, let’s take a closer look at the Phonics Poems included in the pack. Here’s a quick snapshot:

  • 80 poems so you have one to use for every phonics skill!
  • 5 Days worth of activities for EACH poem that practice: Phonemic awareness, Vocabulary, Oral Language, Phonics, Reading Comprehension & Writing.
  • Cover pages for organization and/or making student booklets.
  • Answer keys for each set of activities for grading ease and/or student self-checking!
  • No-prep pages so you can just print and go
phonics poems and daily activities to practice the phonics skill

This is an AMAZING phonics resource! Students will love the poems, will notice their phonics sounds and be engaged! Now comes the extra fun part! Teachers can take these phonics lessons to the next level with companion books! Team Lucky Little Learners has sat down and came up with two picture books for each poem that can be used to reinforce the phonics sound, engage students in the theme of the poem and can be used to focus on comprehension strategies. Before we share the book, take a closer look at weekly routine for using Phonics Poems with Daily Activities:

Read more about the poems here: A Weekly Routine to Build Fluency Using Phonics Poems

Shop them here: Phonics Poems with Daily Activities

SHOP THIS POST

toothy task kits

Phonics Based Poems Pack

Using Companion Books with the Poems

As you read in the weekly routine post, Day 1 is the nitty gritty phonics sound work: Introduce & teach the sound, read the poem, and have students complete the day 1 activities. Day 2 is when a companion picture book could be a useful tool!

We’ve got two suggested books to use on Day 2:

  • Book #1: focuses on the same sound as the poem
  • Book #2: focuses on the subject of the poem

Here is how and why to use each type of companion book:

Book #1: Phonics Sound Emphasis

Picking a companion book that focuses on the same phonics sound as your poem of the week builds fluency as the students scour the book for words with the weekly sound. This will also help them learn and remember the sound. Sample lesson ideas/activities:

  • Have students go on a sound hunt in the story before or after you read it. They can write down all the words they find. (If you have one or limited copies of the book, this can be done whole group or during small groups.) Then, make a class list or anchor chart of the words! (If you use a sound wall, add these words to it! If you haven’t heard of a sound wall, start here: Let’s Talk About the Classroom Sound Wall and How to Introduce Vowel Teams Using a Sound Wall.)
classroom sound wall to teach phonics
  • Project the book (or use a document camera) and have students follow along with you as you read it. Tell them to say “stop” or they could make the phonics sound whenever you get to a sound word.
  • Word Sort: this activity requires a little prep work, but could be fun and meaningful! Type up a list of phonics sound words that were in the poem AND story. Have students sort the words into columns to see if they remember whether the words were from the story or poem.
  • Word search: make a word search featuring words from the story and poem. Discovery Education has a FREE word search maker tool.

Book #2: Subject Emphasis

Choosing a companion book that features the same subject matter as your poem is a fun way to work on comprehension skills such as:

  • Writing-give a journal prompt in which students write about the subject. If the subject of the poem and picture book is monsters for example, they could make up a monster story. If the subject is camping, they could write about a camping trip they have taken or want to take.
  • Compare/Contrast: Have students use a venn diagram (following the I Do, We Do, You Do teaching strategy of course) to compare and contrast the poem & companion book
  • Comprehension: Ask students questions about the story. With the story being longer, it will be easier to come up several questions to “quiz” the students.

Companion Book List

Alright, let’s get into this amazing list! Check out these 45 + books that can build fluency and comprehension skills as well as student engagement in your classroom!

The book images and titles contain Amazon Affiliate links.

Short A

The short a poem is titled “Taxi Cat”.

Short A Phonics Focus Book: I Want my Hat Back

By Jon Klassen

Poor bear cannot find his favorite hat!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Short A Subject Focus Book: Hi, Cat!

By Ezra Jack Keats

In this sweet story, a young happens upon a stray cat and has quite the day!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Short E

The short e poem is titled Ted and Beth.

Short E Phonics Focus Book: Henny, Penny, Lenny, Denny & Mike

By Cynthia Rylant

This story is all about life for fish friends in their fish tank.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Short E Subject Focus Book: Night at the Fair

By Donald Crews

This story has beautiful and engaging illustrations of a fair!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Short I

The short i poem is titled Billy’s City.

Short I Phonics Focus Book: Armadillly Chili

By Helen Ketteman

A cute southwest tale filled with southwest animal characters.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Short I Subject Focus Book: Town Mouse, Country Mouse

By Jan Brett

In this story with amazingly detailed Jan Brett illustrations, city life and country life are compared and contrasted, just like in the short i poem.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Short O

The short o poem is titled I Do Not.

Short O Phonics Focus Book: Rocks in my Pockets

By Marc Harshman

A fun tale of life and excitement for a family on a mountain.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Short O Subject Focus Book: The Little Red Hen

By Paul Galdone

Just like in the poem, readers learn that to get the reward, you must do the hard work too!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Short U

The short u poem is titled Bunny the Pug.

Short U Phonics Focus Book: Chuck and Woodchuck

By Cece Bell

A cute story of friendship.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Short U Subject Focus Book: Pig the Pug

By Aaron Blabely

A story of a grumpy pug kids will LOVE!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Mixed Short Vowels (a, i & e, o u)

The short a/i poem is titled My Cat Skip and the short e/o/u poem is titled Red Hot Gum.

Phonics Focus Book: Decodable Readers

Check out this set of 15 decodable readers for a mixed short vowels review!

Shop it here

OR, read mixed short vowel review sentences here: Reading Short Vowels in Sentences.

Subject Focus Book # 1: Lost & Found Cat: The True story of KunKush’s Incredible Journey

An incredible story of a lost & found kitty.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Subject Focus Book #2: The Foodie Flamingo

By Vanessa Howl

A story about trying new foods and learning about yourself.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


CVC/Closed Syllables (mixed a, e, i, o, u)

The cvc mixed closed syllable poem is titled That’s Not Fun.

Phonics Focus Book: Bob Books: First Set

In this book set, kids get exposure to all five short vowels in cvc, closed syllable format. These books are great for early or emergent readers.

Check out an Online Flip Through Here or Shop it here.

Subject Focus Book: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

By Judith Viorst.

This book, like the poem, follows a child on a bad day!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


L Blends

The L blends poem is titled Flip Flops.

L Blends Phonics Focus Book: The Very Clumsy Click Beetle

By Eric Carle

A fun story of perseverance with Eric Carle’s wonderful illustrations.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

L Blends Subject Focus Book: A Day at the Beach

By Tom Booth

This fun story tackles the subject of siblings and teamwork all while being set on a sunny beach.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


S Blends

The S blends poem is titled Strong Steve.

S Blends Phonics Focus Book: Stop Snoring, Bernard

By Zachariah O’Hora

An amazingly cute story of a loudly snoring otter!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

S Blends Subject Focus Book: Be Strong

By Pat Zietlow Miller

This story focuses on not just physical strength, but also mental/emotional strength & power as well.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


R Blends

The r blends poem is titled Brian’s Trip.

R Blends Phonics Focus Book: A Frog Thing

By Eric Drachman

A story of a frog who wants to fly.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

R Blends Subject Focus Book: I Really Want to See You, Grandma

By Taro Gomi.

A silly and heart warming story of a grandma and grand daughter.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Mixed Consonant Blends (st, cr, cl, gr, sp, bl, sk, br, tr, sw, sl, etc)

The mixed consonant blends poem is titled Sticky Crisp.

Phonics Focus Book: Stop, Drop & Flop in the Slop

By Brian P. Cleary

This fun & wacky story focuses on mixed consonant blends and is sure to have students laughing!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Subject Focus Book: Bella’s Recipe for Success

By Ana Siqueira

Bella learns the lesson of not giving up when her first cooking experience ends in disaster.

Shop it here


SH Digraph

The Sh digraph poem is titled Show and Tell.

SH Digraph Phonics Focus Book: Sheep on a Ship

By Nancy E. Shaw

A silly story about pirate ship and their sea adventure.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

SH Digraph Subject Focus Book: Too Shy for Show and Tell

By Beth Bracken

A story about overcoming shyness that would be great to weave in an SEL lesson!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


CH Digraph

The ch digraph poem is titled Charlie Chews.

CH Digraph Phonics Focus Book: Itchy, Itchy Chicken Pox

By Grace MacCarone

A rhyming book about the dreaded chicken pox!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

CH Digraph Subject Focus Book: I Can Eat a Rainbow

By Olena Rose

This book teaches students the importance of variety in their diets.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


WH Digraph

The wh digraph poem is titled Who Who Who.

WH Digraph Phonics Focus Book: Humphrey the Lost Whale: A True Story

By Wendy Tokuda

An amazing true story of a lost whale in San Francisco.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

WH Digraph Subject Focus Book: The Kid’s Book of Questions

By Gregory Stock Ph.D.

Start fun class discussions with a book that has kids thinking about and answering fun questions!

Do an Online Would You Rather Brain Break here or Shop it here.


TH Digraph

The th digraph poem is titled Thankful Thoughts.

TH Digraph Phonics Focus Book: How Many Teeth?

By Paul Showers

A science book about teeth.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

TH Digraph Subject Focus Book: The Things I’m Grateful For

By Arnie Lightning

Five short stories & activities to teach about feeling grateful.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


PH Digraph

The ph digraph poem is titled Phoebe’s Photographs.

PH Digraph Phonics Focus Book: Digraphs: Consonant Digraph ph for Kids

By Birchall Publishing

This one is a little different. It is NOT a story picture book, but rather a book that lists ph digraph words. It is a way to get them to learn more than just the word “phone” when learning this sound!

Check out this Online PH Phonics Story Here or Shop it here.

PH Digraph Subject Focus Book: What in the world: Look Again!

By National Kids

This puzzle book uses beautiful photographs to share puzzles with kids. This would be fun to project a puzzle a day for the class to solve!

Try these Online Zoomed in Picture Puzzles for a fun class challenge or Shop the book here.


CK Digraph

The ck digraph poem is titled Stuck.

CK Digraph Phonics Focus Book: The Completed Hickory Dickory Dock

By Jim Aylesworth

This is a fun one because it follows the old nursery rhyme AND it features a different sound family on each page PLUS a good handful of ck words.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

CK Digraph Subject Focus Book: My Magical Choices

By Becky Cummings.

This story will teach students they have the power to make choices that will affect their day!

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Consonant Digraphs (sh, th, ch, wh, ph, ck)

The mixed consonant digraph poem is titled Three Wishes.

Consonant Digraphs Phonics Focus Book: The Thing on the Wing Can Sing

By Brian P. Cleary

Yep, one of Mr. Cleary’s books is back on this list but they are SO good for teaching phonics. This story features short vowel words with all the consonant digraphs.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Consonant Digraphs Subject Focus Book: What Would You Wish For?

By Davie Sable

Start a class discussion on what students would wish for if they could have any wish.

Read Online Here or Shop it here


CV/Open Syllables

The cv/open syllable poem is titled I Said No.

C/V Open Syllables Phonics Focus Book: Jumping Jungle: Half-Pint Readers series 5

By LuAnn Santillo.

These short readers feature cv words as well as review sight words.

Practice the skill online here or Shop it here.

C/V Open Syllables Subject Focus Book: The Not-So-Friendly Friend: How to Set Boundaries for Healthy Friendships

By Christina Furnival

This book would be a great discussion starter on friendship and bullies.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.


Long Vowel/Silent e Books

This section will be a little different as there is ONE Phonics Focus Book for all five of the long vowel, silent e sounds.

Long Vowel/ Silent e Phonics Focus Book:

Once gain we are focusing on a Bob Book set (set 5) to teach these sounds. These books are completely decodable! AND they feature a TON of long vowel with a silent e words.

Read a sample book from this Bob Set here or Shop it here.

Long Vowel/ Silent e Subject Focus Books

Here is a subject focus book for each long vowel/silent e sounds:

Long a, Silent e

The long a, silent e poem is titled Kate’s Lake.

The book is Me and You and the Red Canoe by Jean E. Pendziwol.

This story is about a family & their special times on the lake.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Long e, Silent e

The long e, silent e poem is titled These People. A book that would go along with this poem is titled Love and the Rocking Chair by Diane Dillon.

This book tells the tale of a family heirloom and family memories.

Read Online Here or Shop it here

Long i, silent e

The long i, silent e poem is titled Things I like. A book that would correspond with this poem is What I Like About Me by Allia Zobel Nolan.

A very cute story that promotes self love.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Long o, silent e

The long o, silent e poem is titled Home on the Slope. When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant would be a great companion book to this poem.

This story tells the memories of a young girl growing up in the mountains without any modern conveniences.

Read Online Here or Shop it here.

Long u, silent e

The long u, silent e poem is Rude Duke. This poem is about siblings not getting along, so what better companion book than a book written by siblings?! Check out this book: The Evil Princess vs. The Brave Knight by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm.

A princess and a knight tease and torment each other (like a brother and a sister) but can they actually get along?

Read Online Here or Shop it Here.


As you can see, there is easily a book or two for each phonics skill featured in our poems pack! Hopefully the companion books shared with help you get a head start on planning engaging, meaningful phonics/reading skills lessons. (Maybe even cross curricular connections!)

What other sounds are included in the phonics poems?

  • Mixed silent e pattern (a_e & i_e) and (o_e & u_e)
  • Mixed CVCe (a_e, i_e, e_e, o_e, u_e)
  • -ing ending
  • -ed ending
  • -er and est endings
  • Compound words
  • Mixed inflectional endings (er, ed, ing, est)
  • Contractions
  • Hard C
  • Soft C
  • Hard G
  • Soft G
  • Mixed hard & soft C and G
  • SCR trigraph
  • SHR trigraph
  • SPL trigraph
  • SPR trigraph
  • STR trigraph
  • THR trigraph
  • Mixed trigraphs (squ, spr, thr, str, scr, shr, spl)
  • Long vowel teams (ay, ai), (ie, igh), (oa, oe, ow), (ee, ea), (ue, ui)
  • Mixed CVVC (vowel team) syllables
  • Y as a vowel (puppy)
  • Y as a vowel (fly)
  • R-controlled vowels ER: IR, UR, AR, OR
  • R-controlled syllables (er, ir, ur, ar, or)
  • Diphthongs (oi/oy), (ou, ow), (au, aw), (ew, oo)
  • Consonant + le syllables (final stable syllables)
  • Silent letters (k, g, w, l, b)
  • Two-syllable words with long vowels: CV, CVCe, CVVC
  • Multisyllabic words
  • DGE
  • WR
  • KN
  • GN
  • Double consonants (ff, ll, ss, tt, zz)
  • OO like book
  • EIGH
  • -ALL
  • NG (-ang, -ong, and -ing)
  • NK (-ink, -ank, -unk, -onk)

Hopefully the Phonics Poems with Daily Activities PLUS the companion books to help cement the skills gets your phonics block rocking!

Happy teaching!

books for teaching phonics skills

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Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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