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Decoding Phonograms


Language Arts  


2, 3, 4  

By- Kate Colosimo



The students will recognize phonograms in a variety of different words and use them to create new words.



Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss

One pre-printed note card per student

Lined paper




Begin by asking students what they know about rhyming words. Ask the class for some examples and write them on the board. In a similar fashion, ask students to recite nursery rhymes or poems that they know. If time permits, write the titles on the board also. Once the majority of the class has had an opportunity to participate, start discussing what makes words rhyme. Prompt the students to discover end rhyme (although using the exact term is not necessary). Discuss the ending sound of each word, including both the consonants and the vowels. Use make-believe words to see if they understand rhymes.



  1. Ask the students to clear their desks and pass out the pre-made note cards.
  2. Each note card should have a phonogram printed on it. They should be phonograms that appear frequently in “Fox in Socks”.
  3. Good examples would be, ox (for box, sox, Knox, fox), icks (for bricks, chicks, tricks), ocks (for clocks, blocks, rocks, tocks).
  4. There are many different phonograms used throughout the book. It is unlikely that any of the students will have to use the same one.
  5. Tell the students that you are going to read the story, Fox in Socks.
  6. After each page, you will stop so they can participate. To do this, they will hold up their note card if they see or hear their word on a page. (Remember to point out that the word on the card will be inside another word, not all alone)
  7. If it appears that not enough cards are going up for each page, begin stopping after every two lines and discussing the words. If necessary, cover the first letter of the word, so that the student’s phonogram is all that is showing.
  8. For example, if no one held up a card after the word ticks is read, cover the t and ask again. This may be beneficial until the students get the hang of looking for their word.
  9. After the story is completed, review the concept of a rhyme using whole class approach, then divide the students into groups of three or four, depending on class size.
  10. Tell the groups to place their note cards in a row where all of the group members can see them. Say that the groups will be given ten minutes to write down as many words as possible that contain the words on their note cards.
  11. It may be necessary to allow students to use make-believe words. If this is the case, they can write the word and its made-up definition. In either situation, demonstrate with an example.



When the time is up, ask the students to put their pencils down. Review what each group has written and ask the class for any additional examples. (This could take much longer if make-believe words are still being included.) To review, tell the students that in order to go put their work away, they must say two words that rhyme together. Call on students one at a time until everyone has gone.



The period of using the note cards while the book was being read shows to a reasonable extent if the students could recognize phonograms in different words and contexts.

The list of words that the groups produce will reasonably show if the students could use the phonograms to create new words (real or imaginary).


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