ACSD Literacy Leader PLC

SUCCESS for our students!

S= sound, sound, blend activities

U= understanding is the key to reading, you have to decode to get to understanding

C= confident that the research supports what we are doing

C= collaboration with teachers, literacy leaders, and associates

E= explicit instruction for students

S= strategic and intensive readers with benefit from this page

S= systematic and applicable instruction

The Ankeny Community School District adopted a new core reading curriculum for the 2010-2011 school year. This came about because we needed a better way to embed comprehension strategies into our reading curriculum, as our data showed that was where we needed the improvements. Our core program, LEAD 21, does an excellent job teaching the seven main comprehension strategies in texts that are real-world relevant. We love that this program has made students think on a higher level. Already our tests scores have improved. The purpose for this wiki is that it provides ideas and information pertaining to systematic decoding instruction for the learners who fall out in the intensive and strategic range, grades K-2. The literacy leaders "teacher quality project" centers around explicit decoding instruction using Isabel Beck’s Making Sense of Phonics, and tying it together with LEAD’s Word Work and Phonics continuum. We do what are called “sound, sound blend” actions using the word families/phonics that are part of the LEAD program, along with word building activities that Isabel Beck suggests in her book. We also are tying the pieces together by reading texts that have these patterns in them, so the students are applying the knowledge back to books.

Part of this year's PD was the focus on systematic phonics instruction for students that are in the Intensive and Strategic groups from LEAD 21. The purpose of the page is to give our students that extra practice in decoding. This page contains 1st and 2nd Grade sound, sound blend activities to match with Isabel Beck's Making Sense of Phonics and LEAD 21 Word Work Scope and Sequence. It also contains a clip on how to do the sound, sound, blend and making word activities as well. In addition, there are lists of books to go with word patterns. Feel free to add more to the wiki as you see fit.


Beck, I. L. (2006) Making Sense of Phonics. New York, New York: The Guilford Press

Wright Group. (2011). Lead 21: All Units 1-8. Chicago: McGraw-Hill

For 1st Grade Instruction:

For 2nd Grade Instruction:

Here is a sample video first of a sound, sound, blend activity, followed by a word building activity, provided by Heather Tragesser from Ashland Ridge Elementary School. "In successive blending, students say the first two sounds in a word and immediately blend those two sounds together. Then they say the third sound and immediately blend that sound with the first two blended sounds. Advantage of successive blending is that it is less taxing for short term memory because blending occurs immediately after each new phoneme is pronounced." (Beck, 2006, pg. 50) Word building fosters students ability to notice spelling patterns in words and to help with orthography. Research shows that students who build words can make significantly better progress on standardized tests of decoding, comprehension, and phonological awareness. (Beck, 2006, pg. 56)


Other helpful resources for phonics instruction:

Jones, S. (1998, November). Six ways to practice spelling. Resource Room on the Web.
Retrieved April 24, 2011, from

Word of caution about teaching phonics:

Hall County Schools. Phonics Interventions.
Retrieved April 27th, 2011 from

Explicit, systematic phonics instruction:

Retrieved April 27th, 2011 from


Ongoing Book List to match word patterns: