Phenome practice postcards

By | 2017-08-17T20:07:22+00:00 May 23rd, 2017|For teachers|0 Comments

As first graders learn to read, they spend a lot of time learning spelling patterns. These patterns can get complicated, and with so much new stuff coming their way, it’s always helpful to get to know a few “tricks of the trade” to improve their reading and writing skills!

Let your students get some spelling practice in while creating a wacky postcard in this activity that has them using five different vowel phonemes. These specified vowel phonemes, or vowel sound patterns, appear often in the English language. Word banks and an example card excerpt are provided below to give an idea of how the phoneme/vowel blend will translate to sentences for the postcard stories.

Sweet Dog by DiyaV (10Y USA)

Sweet Dog by DiyaV (10Y USA)


Have your students ever written or received a postcard? Before starting the activity, think of introducing some old postcards of your own. You can discuss their function, similarities and differences in postcards you’ve received, and even the emotions one might feel in sending and receiving postcards. Help your students think of possible tidbits they want to share in postcards and to whom they want to send them! After writing a postcard, your students will be able to draw and decorate the front and back as much as they’d like! You can even provide a some stamps for your students to choose from.

What You Need:

  • Large, blank index cards or blank postcards (can be purchased at any post office)
  • Paper
  • Pencils
  • Markers

What You Do:

1. Collect a “sound bank” of vowel patterns. Some examples could be:

  • Ow—town, about, mouth, sound, loud, our
  • Oy—boy, noisy, joy, toy
  • Ar—shark, party, bark, mark, park
  • Ear—hear, sheer, steer, deer, fear, near
  • U—brook, look, shook, wood, put
  • Owl by FUNDAYILMAZ (12Y Turkey)

    Owl by FUNDAYILMAZ (12Y Turkey)


    2. Pick one set of vowel patterns. For this example, the “ow” vowel pattern (town, about, mouth sound, loud, our) will be used.

    3. Work with your students to write a short message or story onto a 4″ x 6” index card—one sentence is just fine to start—that uses as many words as possible from that group. For example: “Our Aunt Sally took us on a train ride. The sound of the beachside town we traveled to was loud. She told us about the legend of the mouth of the river that made this destination famous.”

    4. If your students can handle the writing, have them write the message on one side of the 4″ x 6” index card. If not, it’s fine to help them for now, but do invite them to do this important final step: take a highlighter and highlight every word that includes an “ow” sound (or other chosen phoneme)!

    5. Turn the card over, and invite your students to draw a picture on the front to illustrate the message. To protect the picture, cover it with a sheet of clear plastic contact paper, trimmed neatly to the edge of the card.

    6. When you’re done, send it off, and don’t hesitate to keep writing more!

    We can’t wait to see all of your students’ postcards! Be sure to share them with us on Creatubbles.

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    Holly Jachowski is a community manager from Education.com, which provides thousands of teacher-approved learning resources for teachers, students, and families. She is a strong believer in the company approach that there is no "one size fits all" in education. Through her position, she enjoys helping young families access educational resources that help make learning more engaging.