Literacy Interventions & Activities for K-2

February 13, 2022

Literacy intervention is when we are able to meet our students at their specific literacy needs. Since our students learn at different speeds, it can be difficult to teach them everything they need in a whole group setting. By meeting with your students 1-on-1 or in small groups, you can intervene, or meet them where they are at to work on the specific skills they need a little extra help with.

In today’s post, I wanted to share three of my favorite literacy intervention activities that are both engaging and effective to help both small groups of students and to use in 1-on-1 literacy instruction! Before I dive in, I wanted to let you know you can watch or listen to all this information in video format below:

Notes before we begin:

Students will need extra help on all kinds of literacy skills, including reading comprehension and fluency. However, in K-2 classrooms many of our students are still learning to read, so the focus for these literacy intervention strategies and activities are phonics/phonemic awareness-based.

When assessing where students are, what skills/patterns they need to work on, etc., my favorite screener is the core phonics screener: Quick Phonics Screener


Intervention #1: Sound Sort

While teaching students the connection between graphemes and phonemes is important, you also want your students to be able to hear and recognize those sounds in words. You can do this with a simple thumbs-up and thumbs-down sort. Just say a word and have your students either give a thumbs-up if they heard the specific sound, or a thumbs-down if they did not hear the sound.

To take it another step further, you can print out clip-art pictures or photos (with no graphemes) and have your students sort them in their own thumbs-up and thumbs-down groups. To help with this, I made a bunch of phoneme isolation sorts for this activity that can be printed out for a cut and paste activity or they can be used digitally (in Seesaw or Google Classroom):

You can check out those phoneme isolation sorts by clicking the image above!



Intervention activity #2: Word Ladders

After students have learned about phoneme-grapheme connections and have done some phonemic awareness activities (like the sound sort above), you want them to start manipulating the graphemes to make those phonemes. 

First, students can go into regular word building with letter tiles or letter magnets:

For example, if you are working on CVC words with the middle letter “a”, you might ask your class to build the word “hat.”

Once they have “hat” in front of them, you can ask them to switch the last letter and build the word “had.”

From there, they can change the first letter this time and make the word “dad.” Then, they can build “sad,” and so on. 

After you’ve practiced with letter magnets, you can have your students try to encode the words as well. Not only will they get practice with encoding, but writing all the words down on paper will also let your students see how they went from one word to the next. I created a bunch of image and riddle-based word ladder activity sheets for you to easily use these activities in your classroom! You can check those out by clicking below:


Literacy Intervention #3: 1-Page Decodables

Once your students have had practice with the types of skills and activities above, you can move on to these one-page decodables that I created:

These one-page decodables are set up for your students to successively review different skills before reading full sentences. First, your students will point to each sound at the top of the page and make the sound that each grapheme makes. 

Then, the next section has six words your students will have to decode. These words include the letters and sounds from above, so they will have to blend the sounds they just reviewed to say the words.

Finally, after building their confidence and practicing decoding the words, they can move on to decode full sentences using all six words. 

At the end of each one-page decodable is another section to practice encoding a couple words and a box to illustrate one of the sentences.

A lot of thought went into each of these one-page decodable interventions and for each skill included in the unit, you have 3 literacy sheets to use to practice! It’s also great for differentiation because you can practice whichever specific skill your students need to work on. The unit has over 100 sheets and it goes in order so the skills build upon one another as they continue through the unit. Here is a quick look at the skills included:

To aide in intervention, each target skill listed above in the table of contents also comes with these review sheets that include a visual aid and phonemic awareness activities:

This sheet is a great teaching aide! It has a focus image for students to use when reviewing the skill (in this case, short a). There is a thumbs-up/thumbs-down sound sort like we discussed above for you to say aloud and students can determine if the target sound is in the word.

The three yellow dots is a list of words that your students can use to count the sounds that they hear. Either using their fingers or different manipulatives, your students can count each sound as they hear it in each of the words on the list. Lastly, I included a sample word ladder on the bottom right under the “abc” and here students would make the words from hat→had→dad→sad.

These would all be great examples of activities to do in a small group before they complete the intervention sheet!

You can check out that unit by clicking any of the images above.


So there are 3 of my favorite literacy interventions to use in small groups! What other inventions do you find to be successful in your K-2 classrooms?! Let me know in the comments!


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