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The Phonics Dance!™
8 Jun, 2012. 6 Comments. Uncategorized. Posted By: Kristen Smith

Get this….

“Reading is a difficult process. Here’s why:

84% of the words in the English language are phonetically correct.

BUT….

The 16% that are not phonetically correct appear in all types of literature 80% of the time.”

(The Phonics Dance™)
So, how do we as teachers combat that? One way is by using the Phonics Dance. I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a workshop presented by Ginny Dowd this year and it was one of the best I’ve ever been to. She was upbeat, down-to-earth and had so much to share. I left the workshop saying, I can implement that RIGHT NOW! 



So, what is the Phonics Dance?The Phonics Dance!™ is a quick and easy way for primary grade educators to teach phonics and increase the reading and writing skills of each and every student in your classroom. It is multilevel learning at its best, and can provide success for all students, regardless of their developmental level. This is a nationally recognized program which is based on research and meets the standards for the Leave no Child Behind Law.” 


After the workshop I began the ‘dance’ the very next day with my firsties and (as you already know they LOVE to dance) they LOVED it. They loved shaking their groove thangs as we sang the phonics sounds. Best of all, it revolutionized so many of their reading skills. They would read a word like “transportation” and say things like, “oh look!! there’s a tion, tion tion!!” They loved being detectives and finding all their hunk and chunks in their words.


Now, I’m getting a little big ahead of myself. Here’s a video so you can see some of the dance in action!

(This is not my classroom yet rather is a link from youtube.)




I remember at the beginning of the workshop Ginny had said something to the effect of, ‘if I waited to teach all the special sounds to my first graders when the curriculum told me to, they would not be prepared to read the books and stories that they would see in a first grade classroom.’ How true that statement rang in my ears. In the curriculum that I teach, I do not formally teach “igh” until MAY!!! However, as you well know, we read words with that sound in it very early on in first grade!! 


The Phonics Dance allows you to teach all these special hunk and chunks fairly quickly and then review it every single day afterwards! As you can see from the video each “hunk and chunk” has a hand motion/gesture and poem or rhyme to go with it. It truly helps all of our learners.  


We would dance the dance every day as a quick review and then jump into our normal Language Lesson.  I would use the terminology so many times throughout the day. 


It also helped my firsties when it was time to write. They no longer would spell words like “tradition” as tradishun and instead would use their hunk and chunk knowledge to write it tradition! 


There are so many great resources that you can purchase at the Phonics Dance webpage and I’m sure you will not regret it! At the beginning of the year, all of the letters of the alphabet are reviewed with poems and gestures and then after that, the dance is introduced. On the webpage you can purchase the hunk and chunk cards that look like this…

(taken at the workshop I was at)
…or you make your own! I decided to make my own which was fairly easy. As a class we also changed some of the rhymes to suit our style a little more. I would have to say my class’s favorite hunk and chunk was “tion” because I found a picture of a potion and our rhyme became, “tion, tion tion KA-BOOM!!” {As we were chanting it we moved our hands in a circle and spoke in a whisper voice and then when we said KA-BOOM we were fairly loud and our hands would go up in the air like the potion exploded. (does that make sense??) }
I really enjoyed this workshop and I hope that this will help some of you in your classes! Check out the webpage and products at http://www.phonicsdance.com/ Ginny gives many worships throughout the school year so I encourage you to go to one if you can!! 

6 Comments
  1. I love the video! Would this be appropriate for second graders in July/August/September? I’m very curious!

    Heather at TeachItToday

  2. Heather–
    I think it would be appropriate at the beginning of second grade! At the conference Ginny said that they use the Phonics Dance at her school all the way through the beginning of 3rd. It would be a great review for you to use! I like that it helps my kiddos with spelling, too. Like, the oy and oi chants. (My kids stopped writing things like boyling (boiling) because they knew that it’s “oi in the middle of the word and don’t you forget it!” 😉

  3. I think your post about this has been one of the most helpful ones I’ve found. Thanks! Do you have pictures of your hunk and chunk cards? I’d love to see how you did yours. We have only had 3 days of school, so I’m feeling ready to order this and get it started soon!
    veronicam81000@yahoo.com

  4. Love this!

  5. I have been looking into buying this for my classroom. However, it looks like there are so many components online that you can buy. Do you know which parts that I NEED to buy in order to have this be successful? Thanks! Looks like fun!

  6. I have been looking into buying this for my classroom. However, it looks like there are so many components online that you can buy. Do you know which parts that I NEED to buy in order to have this be successful? Thanks! Looks like fun!

6 Comments

  • I love the video! Would this be appropriate for second graders in July/August/September? I’m very curious!

    Heather at TeachItToday

  • Heather–
    I think it would be appropriate at the beginning of second grade! At the conference Ginny said that they use the Phonics Dance at her school all the way through the beginning of 3rd. It would be a great review for you to use! I like that it helps my kiddos with spelling, too. Like, the oy and oi chants. (My kids stopped writing things like boyling (boiling) because they knew that it’s “oi in the middle of the word and don’t you forget it!” 😉

  • I think your post about this has been one of the most helpful ones I’ve found. Thanks! Do you have pictures of your hunk and chunk cards? I’d love to see how you did yours. We have only had 3 days of school, so I’m feeling ready to order this and get it started soon!
    veronicam81000@yahoo.com

  • Love this!

  • I have been looking into buying this for my classroom. However, it looks like there are so many components online that you can buy. Do you know which parts that I NEED to buy in order to have this be successful? Thanks! Looks like fun!

  • I have been looking into buying this for my classroom. However, it looks like there are so many components online that you can buy. Do you know which parts that I NEED to buy in order to have this be successful? Thanks! Looks like fun!

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