Digital Word Work & Word Ladders for Distance Learning - Phonics Resources

Grade Levels
PreK - 1st
Formats Included
  • Google Slides™
30 + Directions
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Sound squares and word ladders help students structure how they hear sounds and groups of sounds. These templates are ideal for bridging the gap between your traditional phonics and phonological awareness instruction and distance learning. These templates are created to be used in digital form.

In this resource, you will find 25+ interactive templates to meet a variety of contexts and needs:

  • Blending
    • 2 sounds with counters and letters
    • 3 sounds with counters and letters
    • 4 sounds with counters and letters
  • Segmenting
    • 2 sounds with counters and letters
    • 3 sounds with counters and letters
    • 4 sounds with counters and letters
    • 2 onset/rime
  • Segmenting and Blending
    • 2 sounds with counters and letters
    • 3 sounds with counters and letters
    • 4 sounds with counters and letters
  • Substituting (Word Ladders)
    • With colored counters
    • With letters
    • With colored counters and letters

What are foundational skills?

Word study matters. Explicit and systematic phonics instruction is critical for our emerging readers. Direct instruction has to be a component of our reading blocks, as well as, opportunities for students to use and apply sounds.

In our standards, Foundational Skills standards span K-5. In K and 1st the foundational skills include Print Concepts, Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Fluency. From there, 2nd-5th grades include Phonics and Fluency standards. This means, as primary teachers, we must prioritize phonological awareness and print concepts. By the end of 1st grade, students will no longer be exposed to this content because the expectation is that it is mastered. Do we still intervene? Absolutely. But by August of 2nd grade, these are skills students should be strong in. This doesn’t mean we forget comprehension, vocabulary, and writing (they ALL matter). Yet, these foundational skills are critical for our budding readers.

Do these templates include word lists?

No. These templates (sound squares and word ladders) are used to help adapt your current foundational skills curriculum to a digital or distance-learning environment.

How can these templates be used?

•Whole Group Modeling – These templates could be used whole-group on an Interactive Whiteboard as part of a mini-lesson. In a distance learning environment, these could be used as you screenshare, modeling for students. Additionally, you might include these in a Google Classroom (force make a copy), giving students and families to these manipulatives for at-home learning and practice.

•Small Group/1:1 Focus Groups – Working in virtual 1:1 tutoring sessions or in small groups, a single set of templates could be used by 5-6 studentswho take turns working with and representing sounds and words.

With which programs are these templates compatible?

These templates include PowerPoint and Google Slides versions.

Can I make my own games and activities to sell, using these templates?

No. These templates are intended for single-classroom use. You may not tweak, recreate, or make a resource ”inspired” by these templates to sell or distribute for free.

Can I make changes to the boxes?

To make the slides easy for little learners, the sound squares are built into the background of each page. If you have a specific request, feel free to leave it in my TPT Q&As. I am not able to honor all requests, and will let you know if your preference is possible.

Can I share this with students?

Yes! On a protected site or platform, you are welcome to share this digital file with students and families. That might look like a Google Classroom, a password-protected website, a password-protected Flip Grid, etc. Due to copyright, the digital file may not be placed on a class website that is accessible to the general public.

With what programs is this compatible?

This digital file is able to work with GoogleTM Slides, Google Drive. Microsoft OneDriveTM. Then students may submit their thinking digitally. For instructions on how to use this resource with Microsoft OneDriveTM visit.

Can I share just one or a few slides at a time?

Yes! After you make a copy of this digital file and add it to your Google Drive, you are free to manipulate the slides. You can add/delete/move around the templates to meet the needs of your students. Only want to share one template? Perfect. Delete the other slides and share the file via Google Classroom for your students. Then, when you want the rest of the templates, you can come back to this link and reopen the original file.

For students to manipulate the pieces, the Google Slide must not be in presentation mode.

Total Pages
30 + Directions
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
Lifelong tool
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to see state-specific standards (only available in the US).
Segment spoken single-syllable words into their complete sequence of individual sounds (phonemes).
Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds (phonemes), including consonant blends.
Demonstrate basic knowledge of one-to-one letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary sound or many of the most frequent sounds for each consonant.
Add or substitute individual sounds (phonemes) in simple, one-syllable words to make new words.
Isolate and pronounce the initial, medial vowel, and final sounds (phonemes) in three-phoneme (consonant-vowel-consonant, or CVC) words. (This does not include CVCs ending with /l/, /r/, or /x/.)


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