Using Printable Phonics Worksheets for Cumulative Review

Using Printable Phonics Worksheets for Cumulative Review

Cumulative review (otherwise known as cumulative practice) is the systematic addition of new skills to previously learned and related skills. Cumulative practice activities allow students to consolidate new phonics skills whilst simultaneously reviewing previously taught skill.

Research indicates that once a new phonics skill is introduced, it should be reviewed for (at least) the next four to six weeks (Wiley Blevins, A Fresh Look at Phonics, 2016). Students need plenty of opportunities for systematic, purposeful review in order to master phonics concepts that have been explicitly taught. 

I tend to mostly review phonics concepts through play-based phonics games and activities because these sorts of activities can be used over and over again to reinforce concepts … plus play-based learning = super engaged little learners!! I'll share some of my favourite play-based activities for cumulative phonics practice in a future blogpost, but today's focus: worksheets/printables. 

Worksheets and printables can often get a bad reputation - and they should certainly be used sparingly. Explicit teaching and rich learning opportunities should always come first. However, there is also a time and place for (evidence-based, quality) printables too!

Some quality worksheet activities for reviewing phonics knowledge could include:

  • Read and draw the decodable words
  • Read, write and draw the decodable sentences
  • Unjumble the decodable words
  • Trash or Treasure- sort the nonsense and real words
  • Thumbs Up Thumbs Down- does the decodable word match the picture?
  • Thumbs Up Thumbs Down- pick the correct spelling.
  • Sound Boxes- break the words into each sound.
kindergarten phonics worksheet for cvc words
Answer keys are also a good idea, so that students can self-check and monitor their learning as they're going. I print answer cards 2 to a page to save on space and printing. 


1. Place in write and wipe mats and use as a literacy rotation
One of the biggest game-changers for me in my classroom was the introduction of write and wipe mats. Not only did they cut the need for laminating (SO much better for our planet!) but they also gave me a way to use high-quality worksheets and printables more than once - as literacy rotation activities!

2. Create a booklet
I often create a Phonics Review Booklet for my kids - sometimes I'll print worksheets 2 to a page to reduce printing and space. I use this booklet during dedicated phonics review lesson time OR as a fast finisher activity. My kids always have their phonics booklet in their chair bags ready to go whenever they finish their work early! Not only does it keep them busy, but it gives them extra opportunities to consolidate their phonics knowledge! 
phonics cumulative review booklet for cvc words
3. Home learning activities
Good quality printables can provide parents with an easy way of consolidating phonics concepts with their child at home. This is a perfect solution if:
  • You require some remote-learning activities
  • Your school requires you to provide homework activities
  • Parents ask for some holiday activities
In conclusion...

Cumulative practice will enable students to develop deep knowledge and automaticity, all while learning new skills as well.

Looking for some FREEBIES to get started?

If you would like to get started with some evidence-based printables, you can download the following two FREEBIES!

Free CVC Worksheets

Phonics Long Vowel A Worksheets

And if you find these freebies helpful, you may enjoy the full sets: