Do your kids know the alphabet sounds and you’re not sure what to do next?

Need an EASY, quick and EFFECTIVE way to teach Phonics?

Our Starfish Sound Ring Level 2 has it all sorted for you.

The Starfish Sound Ring level 2 pack is a set of 33 common graphemes and letter strings designed specifically to easily help children learn the second phase of phonics (the first phase is learning the sounds of the Alphabet letters).


Why did we design the Starfish Sound Ring Level 2?

Most literacy teachers, especially those with lots of experience, end up using teaching strategies from a variety of literacy programs to get the best possible results for the children they teach.

In our tutoring centre, we are lucky to have access to a wide range of teaching resources, and we are constantly finding ways to improve our teaching.

The following programs, for example, of literacy have informed and influenced our teaching: LIPI 1 and LIPI 2 (Lessons in Phonics Instruction, produced by a local team of NSW DET Teachers quite a few years ago), Ants in the Apple, Sound Waves, THRASS (Teaching Handwriting Reading and Spelling Skills) and Jolly Phonics for instance.

Even though there are some good programs out there, we found we were having to modify them, swap bits and add in bits to meet our teaching needs – based on what we found WORKS.

We needed something:

  • in line with best practice of teaching literacy
  • effective
  • quick
  • easy
  • practical
  • straight forward
  • FUN
  • provides modelling, practice, immediate feedback
  • teaches to mastery
  •         graded – progressively becomes more difficult
  •         individualised – can be matched to where each child is “at” in their learning
  • supports poor working memory
  • reduces cognitive load
  • links visual and auditory

But why start with Level 2?

Where’s level 1?

We started with Level 2 – common digraphs and letter strings because thats where we found there was the MOST immediate NEED.

We currently use Ants in the Apple (and consider that our level 1).  Our plan is to have our own Starfish Sound Ring Level 1 (alphabet) available in the next few months. It is being designed as I type!

After that, we will design and produce Level 3 which will be more complex graphemes, prefixes and suffixes.

A Rule Ring is also in the pipeline, which will be reading and spelling rules such as “ck” after a short vowel eg qua’ck’ and chi’ck’ and lu’ck’y

What you get.

  • 33 easy to handle good quality cards (they’re the same size as playing cards)
  • all cards have a suggested order colour guide at the top (red, yellow, then blue)

  • The 33 phonemes and letter strings:  ck, ch, sh, th, wh, all, ph, ing, ai, ay, ar, ea, (short vowel) ea, ee, …y, ey, er, ir, ur, y (long vowel), ugh, ow (long vowel), oa, aw, or, au, oi, oy, ow, ou, oo, oo (long vowel), ue, ew.
  • plastic case
  • hinged ring

How to use the Starfish Sound Ring

Cards your child already knows or is learning goes onto the hinged ring

Remaining cards stay in the plastic case

Check if your child knows any of sounds already by using the reverse side and letters/grapheme only  starting with the red ones eg th, sh, ch

You can see how I check which ones Lucy knows in the clip below…

Put any sound cards they know onto the hinged ring & select one of the sounds they don’t know to teach.

You can see how I do this in the clip below…

Model the sound and catchy phrase, and have your child repeat while looking at the card.  Repeat several times.

You can watch me work with Lucy the first time she goes through the sound cards with picture prompts in the clip below.  Notice that the first time I do the whole thing, the catchy “ditty” and the sound, and I ask the child to say the sound.  Each time we review the cards thereafter I gradually ask the child to contribute more until they are doing the whole thing themselves.

To provide lots of teaching and learning of the new sound, we follow the sound ring activity with the educational bricks to reinforce grapheme knowledge – with a minimum of 10 words (including non-words).

We have several comprehensive posts on how we use the educational bricks, find them here.

Each session revise the cards and their sounds on the sound ring.

If your child is demonstrating competent recall of cards on their sound ring, add a NEW card and sound to teach (as above) moving from the Red to the Yellow to the Blue cards.

We teach like sounds consecutively.  For example we teach the long a sounds ay then ai and the long e sounds ee, ea,…y then ey

Once your child knows all 33 sounds using the picture prompt, you can then use the reverse side of the cards (with only the letters not the picture).

Teaching Tips:

  • make it fun
  • add physical movements and/or facial expressions where appropriate
  • make it quick (fast pace)
  • reduce distractions
  • make it part of a routine
  • provide prompts while they’re needed to ensure learning success, but withdraw prompts as soon as they’re no longer needed
  • teach to mastery – don’t be in a hurry to race children through the sounds, wait for them to demonstrate proficiency before you move them onto the next sound

PURCHASE your Starfish Sound Ring level 2 set here.

Here’s a video clip where Kath and I introduce the Starfish Sound cards level 2 to an experienced teacher.