Using read-alouds to practice phonological awareness activities is a great way to motivate your little learners while exposing them to lots of important skills. Here are some great picture books for teaching phonological awareness and phonics.
I also added ideas for activities to do with most books!
*You can click on any title to purchase the books via Amazon. These are affiliate links, which means I earn a small percentage if you purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. I always only recommend resources I love!
Of course, you can also check your library for these titles instead of buying and sometimes you can find read-alouds on Youtube!
Did you Take the B From my -OOK? by Beck and Mark Stanton
Adorable! The author loves the letter B but when he sneezes, the Bs disappear from all the words! SO the book is left with -utterfly and other words missing the letter B, until the end where the kids call for the letter B and it returns. So fun and interactive! Great for isolating the beginning sounds in words.
Trick-or-Treat by Bill Martin Jr and Michael Sampson
In this Halloween book, a little boy goes trick-or-treating in his apartment building. When he visits the top floor and a wizards casts a spell, the treats he’s given on the way back down have switched beginning sounds, so he gets things like Belly Jeans instead of Jelly Beans! The illustrations of the silly food items make this book extra fun.
Label a Trick or Treat bag! Have students draw a large trick-or-treat bag, then draw and label candies inside, changing the beginning sounds.
Trick or Treat bag from the boy’s building! Add candy to a bag that “came from the boy’s building.” Tell the kids the name of each candy by switching the beginning phonemes and have them guess what the candy is before you show them.
Runny Babbit by Shel Silverstein
This is an adorable collection of poems with a bunny and his friends’ adventures, made extra silly by switching beginning sounds and syllables! It’s impossible not to laugh when you read this book, like when his mama leaves notes on the fridge like, “Say thease and plank you!” and “Tick up your poys!”
Have a Runny Babbit Invades the Classroom Day! Print out a picture of Runny Babbit and hide him in your room. Start your day by switching up some beginning letters or syllables in your morning message, then sign it Runny Babbit! Have a fun day of word play like this, incorporating it into your directions, kids’ names, etc. until you find Runny Babbit at the end of the day and things are back to normal.
Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
Besides having great messages about being yourself, it’s ok to be different, and everyone has a special talent, this book is fun to read for its rhyme and rhythm! It’s about a giraffe who doesn’t know how to dance but with the help of a little cricket, finds that he’s good at his own unique dance. Leave off the last rhyme on each page and have kids call it out for fun interaction!
The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Kids love to collect things- rocks, stamps, shells….When I was little, I loved to collect stickers! In this book, the boy collects all kinds of words he reads- from short, simple words to multi-syllabic, complex ones. He also categorizes the words. LOVE this book for so many lessons!
Have a Classroom Word Jar- Decorate an empty jar and let kids add words they come across when reading that they love to the jar. Share a few each week and have the student tell what they love about the word.
Incorporate Math into Word Activities- Count syllables or letters in a word. Graph words by the number of letters or syllables.
Categorize words on a chart- Just like the boy categorized words in the book, make a sorting chart of categories and have kids brainstorm words for each or sort pre-made word cards. For example, categories might be nouns and verbs, words with endings, words that start with a letter.
There’s an Ant in Anthony by Bernard Most
Here’s a great book for finding chunks in words! In this book, Anthony realizes that his name has a small word inside. Soon, he finds the word/chunk ANT in many words. The word ANT is highlighted in red so kids can clearly see it inside the other words.
I also love that the ANT doesn’t always sound like the insect word, for example in the words ANTHONY and ELEPHANT! It’s a great time to remind students that sometimes letters have alternate sounds so it’s important to be flexible when reading and try different ways. Great for words with a schwa sound, like machine, salad, wagon.
Introduce Chunky Monkey! This was hands-down my students’ favorite reading strategy to learn and use. Once I introduced finding small words and chunks, my students would point them out everywhere! Add in a fun little song and Chunky Monkey was engraved in their memories. Grab the free Chunky Monkey song here.
My Chunky Monkey resource for this reading strategy has an interactive PowerPoint to engage your students in learning the strategy, as well as plenty of activities for practice. One of our favorites was Spin-a-chunk.
The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian
I couldn’t leave this one out! It’s one of my favorite picture books for teaching phonological awareness and phonics. It is just such a cute story about a monster who switches the first sound in food names, which results in super silly words (think “shmancakes” and “wollipops”). Read this blog post for ideas and free activities to go with this book!
Such a funny book and soooo relatable for me, since I always forget what I went to the store for! In this book, a boy is sent to town to buy six farm eggs, a cake for tea, a pound of pears, and bacon. The boy gets distracted and starts to think of words that sound similar. So when trying to remember six farm eggs, he thinks of six fat legs or six clothes legs. Great for pointing out how the words are similar and different.
See You Later, Alligator by Sally Hopgood
Who doesn’t love a good, classic farewell rhyme? This book is full of adorable farewells as a tortoise says bye to his zoo friends to go on an adventure.
Make some Classroom Greetings! Have students brainstorm some ways to say hello and goodbye while you write a list. Then, come up with new rhymes to make a greeting or farewell phrase. Here are some examples:
- Hi, fly!
- Hello bird, yellowbird!
- What’s up, buttercup?
- Whatcha doing, whatcha chewing?
- In a while, love your smile!
- See you later, little tater!
The Alphabet Tree by Leo Lionni
Such a classic, to teach about the concepts of print: letters make up words and words make up sentences. This book is about letters who lived in a tree that got blown all around by the wind one day. A word bug comes along and teaches the letters to come together to make words. Then, a caterpillar comes along and teaches them to put themselves together to make sentences!
Alphabet Picture Books for Teaching Phonological Awareness
In addition to the books above, don’t forget to read alphabet books! Make your own class alphabet book by having partners work on 1-2 letters in the alphabet, cutting out or drawing pictures and labeling them.
When reading alphabet books, have students predict what the next page will say based on the letters and topic!
Here are some of my favorite alphabet books:
Click, Clack, Quackity Quack by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
I love this alphabet book because it tells a silly story in its illustrations, it has simple text, and includes alliteration. It’s fun to read and many kids are familiar with this author and series.
D is for Dress-Up by Maria Carluccio
This is a simple book with a topic most kids know a lot about- clothing! So it’s great to use for alliteration and have kids predict the next word based on the next letter of the alphabet.
D is for Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine
Any time you can incorporate learning about different cultures into a read-aloud is a big plus! D is for Dragon Dance goes through the alphabet while introducing the traditions of Chinese New Year!
Read-alouds were my favorite time of day and they can be especially fun if you make it interactive. Invite your students to call out rhymes, clap, act out, and talk about the story and you’ll have them engaged while practicing essential skills. Don’t forget to also read rhyming and alliterative poems and add some tongue-twisters too!
I hope you learned about some new picture books for teaching phonological awareness and phonics! What other books do you know? Did I miss your favorite? Let me know below!
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