Using Color by Code for Engaging Phonics Practice

Are you looking for new activities to help your students practice phonics skills? If you're anything like me, the answer is always YES! In first grade, we learn SO many new phonics skills and they require a lot of practice. Because of this, I'm always on the lookout for engaging resources that will keep my kiddos interested. If you're in the same boat, I've got just the thing! Today I'm sharing how I use color by code worksheets for engaging phonics practice all year long. 

Use color by code activities like these for engaging phonics practice your students will love!

What is Color by Code?

If you know what color by number is then you know what color by code is.  The only difference is that instead of just matching numbers to their assigned color, the "code" in color by code can be anything!  It might be sight words, spelling patterns, math facts, or vocabulary.  

Students will use the key found on the color by code worksheets to solve and color the picture. These worksheets can be used across every subject imaginable including math, phonics, and more. After answering questions or solving problems, students will color in the picture according to the code. 

Color by code pages like these use fun and easy to solve secret codes for students to use to color in an image.

The phonics practice pages we use are a bit different than your typical color-by-code worksheets though! Students must first solve the secret codes by writing the beginning sound for each picture. Then, they put those letters together to spell a word. Each word will be identified with a specific color in their picture. 

This process adds another layer of practice to the activity as students work both with sounds (phonemes) as well as letters (graphemes). They'll also write the word out, sound it out, and read it too. I've found that this multistep process really helps to keep their engagement and interest in this activity, no matter how many times we use it across different phonics lessons!

Benefits of Color By Code Activities

Color by Code activities have tons of benefits! First off, they're low-prep. Just print and go! I love having some low-prep activities printed and ready to go in a desk drawer to pull out at a moment's notice. While I'm a big fan of using center activities and hands-on learning stations, having some meaningful worksheets available too is a wonderful way to balance out your limited prep time as a teacher. 

Secondly, they're super engaging. Students, especially my firsties, love color by code phonics pages. I think the primary reason for this is that these feel like a bit of a "puzzle" to my students and also offer a "break" from our normal lessons. They race with their desk mates to see who can crack the code first and then really enjoy coloring in the picture afterward. 

Color by code activities like these are not only great for keeping your students engaged but also perfect for getting in extra targeted skills practice as well.

Third, they're SO versatile. If you find yourself with just a few minutes to spare, this is a great activity to pull out to keep kiddos on task. Or maybe your students need a "reset". We've all had days when students are a bit grouchy or distracted, right? Pulling out an activity like this and popping on some calming music is a great way to get out of a funk and save the day! Or perhaps you just need a small group activity that will help target a specific phonics skill. Color by code phonics practice activities are perfect for a variety of scenarios, making them a hit in my book. 

Target Specific Phonics Skills using Color By Code

In first grade, we're learning a ton of new phonics skills throughout the year. If you teach in the primary classroom, you know there's a lot of ground to cover. In my room, we use a wide variety of methods to learn and practice all of these skills. 

We may start out with whole group lessons, move on to small groups, and then finally practice in centers. As a supplement to these teaching methods, I'm also a big fan of using meaningful worksheets for targeted practice. While there's a lot of "fluff" out there, these Color by Code Phonics Practice Pages definitely don't fall in that category! 

Use these no prep color by code pages to target specific phonics skills in a fun way your students will love!

These interactive worksheets offer a fun twist to students that help them focus on working with letter sounds, writing letters, writing words, blending sounds, and reading words. I love that no matter what we're focusing on, these worksheets can be used as extra practice to help my students master new words. 

Whenever I notice my students in need of a bit more practice on a specific skill, these are a great way to round out our lessons in a way that's appealing to them. 

Engaging Phonics Practice All Year Long 

As I mentioned, we use these activities all throughout the year to focus on a variety of different phonics skills. Whether we're targeting digraphsr-controlled vowels, or vowel teams we use these color by code worksheets as a fun and simple way to sneak in some extra practice. 

These come in handy during center time, as independent learning activities, as part of small group instruction, for fast finishers, or even as homework. I like to keep a stack of these on hand for "emergencies" as well. You never know when you might need a last-minute sub, or have a few unfilled minutes in your day. 

Color by code pages like these are great because you can use them to target specific phonics skills throughout the entire school year, or use them to differentiate practice for specific students.

These work so well in my classroom that I made them to support many of the different phonics skills we focus on throughout the year. You can check them all out in my TpT Shop

Grab a FREE Color by Code Phonics Practice Resource 

Excited to give these a try in your classroom, too? You're in luck! I have a FREE Color by Code Phonics resource that focuses on short vowels for you to download here. Grab your own copy and give this a try in your classroom to see how engaging phonics practice can be. 

I recommend starting off with these in small groups or as a whole group lesson to give kiddos the rundown on how to complete them. After they've got the gist, these are perfect for many other independent learning opportunities. I hope you enjoy this freebie, friend! 

Grab this FREE color by code activity to start using targeted phonics practice in your classroom today.

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Looking for engaging ways for your students to practice key phonics skills? These engaging color by code activities are perfect any time of year when you want to target specific phonics skills. Use these no prep pages as independent practice or even as a center activity your students will love! #thechocolateteacher #colorbycode #colorbycodeactivities #targetedphonicspractice

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