Is your student learning ai and ay words phonics? In this post, there are TWO free printable activities that can help your student master ai and ay words (Scroll down for the pdf links). What do these sounds say? The ai unit is in words like mail, while ay is in words like day. Kids learning ai and ay words are usually starting to develop fluency. Their reading rate should exceed 25 correct words per minute.
If a child is struggling with fluency when working on ai and ay words, encourage him to read silent e, ee/ea or ai and ay decodable texts each day. In addition, kids should work on accuracy. The free activities in today’s post allow kids to develop accuracy—the most important foundation for reading.
ai and ay words
Beginning readers should focus on single-syllable ai words. These words make the long a sound. Here are some sample ai words: nail, rail, tail, mail, trail, rain, pain, wail, drain.
Here are some sample ay words: bay, hay, gray, way, say, May, tray, pay.
Introduce ai and ay together
Since ai and ay words make the same sound, introduce them together. Have your student read a sentence like the following:
The snail sat in the rain.
Ask your student, “What is the new sound? What sound is repeated?”
Next, have your student read an ay sentence like the following:
May sat by the bay on a hot day.
Again, ask your student, “What’s the new sound? What sound is repeated?”
Place ai and ay on a flashcard and review them daily, along with the other sound units your student has learned.
Leveling ai and ay activities
When do kids typically learn how to read ai and ay words? Kids generally learn to read ai and ay words in first grade. On Reading Elephant, our printable phonics books are organized in the following way:
Thus, ai and ay decodable texts can incorporate language like the following:
Gail went on a train ride. The train went up a hill to the bay.
For a complete ai/ay phonics book, check out the free printable book The Train Ride.
ai and ay game
In the attached activity, students can play a game to learn to read ai and ay words. Click the following link to download the free ai/ay game:
When kids learn a new sound, they should not exclusively focus on that sound—this is where a lot of phonics programs misstep. Kids need to review old sounds and learn new sounds simultaneously. Why? If you present a child with an exclusive ai word list like the following:
…she’ll guess at the words! She’ll know to say the long a sound every time! Thus, she won’t develop word analysis skills. The ai and ay activities in this post allow kids to review old sound units and learn new sound units at once.
ai and ay coloring activity
In the the second ai/ay activity, kids can color. Click the following link for the free ai/ay coloring activity:
I hope your student has fun playing and coloring the free ai/ay activities in the post.
Reading Elephant offers accessible systematic phonics books.