AI & AY Center Activities

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Hey there, friends!

If you have been following along with our blogs and resources you’ll know that we LOVE using centers based activities to support our students. These are great for group or classroom settings, where you might need to be working with one group of students, but need to have the rest of your class working on something else at the same time. To read more about using center based learning, check out our blog here.

AI & AY Phonogram Center Based Learning Printable Worksheets and Activities

This week’s resource is our AI/AY center activities.

Both “ai” and “ay” are vowel teams that we use to make the long A sound. We use “ai” in the middle of a word or syllable, and “ay” at the end of a word or syllable (think of the phrase “play in the rain”).
You can read more about ai/ay here.

What Does the ai & ay Center Based Activity Include?

This is a great question! We have everything you need to teach your class the “ai” and “ay” spelling rules.

Sound Drill Cards

At the beginning of the packet you will see four cards. These can be cut out and added to your sound drill deck. There are options that include the key word & image, and ones without. You can choose which to use based on the level of your students.

AI & AY Sound Drill Cards

Discovery Guided Learning

The next page has a list of words that include the target phonogram. Research shows that when students can discover a pattern on their own, it helps with retention. We recommend reading your student/students the list of words, and then ask them which sound was the same in each word. Ideally, they will identify the long A sound. Then, they can highlight the phonogram that is used to spell that sound.

Phonogram Introduction

ai & ay printable phonogram introduction pages

The next page is used to introduce the students to the target phonogram. At the top of the page you will see the phonogram (in this case “ai” or “ay”) as well as the key phrase and image. Have your student write the phonogram on the handwriting lines provided, repeating “ai says A” (or “ay says A”) three times. The mix of visually seeing the letters, hearing the letters and the sound and writing the letters provides your lesson with a critical multisensory component.

There is also a place to indicate how many sounds the target phonogram has. “ai and ay” only have one sound, however, other vowel teams (like “oo” and “ou” each have multiple sounds).

The third section on this page asks the students what other ways they can use to make the long A sound. This is important as it will allow the students to start making these connections that are imperative for them to learn to read and spell.

There is also a sound drill check in at the bottom of this page.

Phoneme Manipulation

ai & ay phoneme manipulation task cards and script

The following two pages are your Phoneme Manipulation pages. The first (with the boxes) are for your student, and the following page (with the script) is for the instructor. The prompts in the script should be read aloud, and your students can use the boxes (we also recommend a manipulative like blocks or chips) to help them visualize the task. For example, the first “ai” prompt says “Say aim. Tell me the sounds in aim. Change the /m/ in aim to /l/.” When asked to tell you the sounds in aim, students should have two blocks (one for /A/ and one for /m/) then, when they change the /m/ to /l/ they should swap out the block used originally for the /m/ sound.

ai & ay word reading introduction printable sheets

Word Reading Introduction

Two pages are provided for word reading introduction. The first is the easier of the two lists and the second is more advanced. The words are broken down into phonemes so that your student can practice identifying each sound and then blending them together to make a word. The dot below the target phonogram is highlighted in yellow.

Decoding and Skill Development

The following two pages are used to practice decoding. One page includes single syllable words and the other advances to multisyllable words. You can do one or both with your students depending on their level. Each includes a skill development section with tasks pertaining to students’ phonology, orthography and semantics skills.

Sentence Reading

You can utilize this page in a number of ways. Prior to reading aloud, we typically ask students to identify words with the target phonogram. You can also have students identify words that they are unsure of how to read, as well as words that they are unsure of the meaning. The doodle box is a fun way for students to engage with the sentences. Typically, we have them pick one sentence and draw it in the space provided.

Silly Sentence Creation

ai & ay sentence activity printable worksheet

This is a great way to work on your students semantics. Students should cut out the cards on the bottom of the page and arrange them to make silly sentences. Each sentence should have a subject (in blue), a predicate (in red), and an adverbial (in green). After choosing their final 3 cards, students can write the sentence on the handwriting lines provided.

Phonogram Sort

You can use this in a number of ways. Students can cut the words out and sort them visually, based on whether the word contains an “ai” or an “ay.” You could also read the words to the student and ask them to identify if the sound was an “ai” or an “ay” based on where in the word they are hearing the long A sound.

Interactive ai & ay phonogram sorting activity

These activities will make a great addition to your classroom, and are easy to adapt for centers or whole class instruction.

To see these pages in action - check out our video below.

The FULL resource (including all of the pages above AND our Play in the Rain game) is on Teachers Pay Teachers and in our Membership Site be sure to grab your copy today!