Reading Punch Cards

This week, I am showing you how to make Reading Punch Cards. This is a resource I created earlier this year to help my children develop their blending skills. My class were doing really well with learning their phonemes, but quite a few were struggling with blending them together to read words.


I wanted to get the parents on board with this, so during our Parents Reading Meeting, I explained that we would be sending home some reading activities for the children to do at home in addition to their reading books and phonics homework.

I followed this up with a letter to go with the first set of cards. You can download the letter by clicking here: Letter explaining punch cards

The idea of the punch cards is to motivate the children to develop their blending skills and to help them see the progress they are making in reading. Generally the children were moving onto a new card every 1-2 weeks and they were really proud of themselves as they collected each new card.

Each card strip has a list of 10 words on it, and you can make these words anything you like. I chose to do one card for each set of phonemes in the Letters & Sounds scheme, but I also made sets which had a list of single phonemes for my pre-word readers and sets with tricky words on and random selections.

The children take home their new card to practise with their parents/carers at home and then bring it in to school to read to a teacher, TA or parent volunteer. The adult in school listens to the child and punches a hole in the card next to the word they read. I made sure the child could sound out and then blend the words, to check they were not just learning them by sight and also asked the child to read them in a random order to make sure they were not just memorising the list of words.

punchcards03 - punch a hole in the starEvery time an adult heard a child read their punch card in school, they would write down the number of the card on a tracking grid so that I monitor every child’s progress.  If a child was stuck on the same card for more than two weeks, I would have a little chat with their parents about practising at home and generally those children would end up in an intervention group of some sort. You can download the tracking grids and enter your own class names here: punch cards tracking list

punchcards - tracking example

I was very surprised by how motivated the children were by these reading cards and how exciting it was to have them punched. After the first month of using the cards, I also wrote to the parents asking what they thought of the cards because I didn’t want to persevere with something that wasn’t useful. The feedback I had from the parents was extremely positive and they said it gave them a real sense of their children’s progress.

I have put these cards up on my Teachers Pay Teachers store if you would like to buy a set, or you can easily make your own in Word.

Good luck – and let me know if you have a go at using punch cards with your class!

Thanks for reading,

Miss B

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