It doesn't have to be that way.
I still make sure the child has the basics of blending out a word first, but only the very basic skill ("d-o-g," "s-i-t"). I don't ask her to be proficient. After all, it's all about practice and practice. Why not combine phonics and movement and silliness -- just what she likes?
So the mantra for the following exercise is, "If you can read it, you get to do it." I decide what phonics I'm teaching, then create phrases using that skill that can be acted out.
The child works alone or with a partner, but in no way does anyone else help her. (Okay, she can be helped with the non-short vowel words shown in boldface, but no other words.) If she can figure out the words, she get to act it out -- far more fun than getting a star on her paper. If she can't, she doesn't get to do the acting.
Simple -- and highly motivating. The students will work to come up with the phase so they can act. What could be better?
a. A box of props nearby is nice but not necessary.
b. I use this with other phonics lessons, too. I will post their phrases periodically.
c. This works just as well informally at home as well as during lessons.
1. Go rub -a dub in a tub.
2. Run as fast as a van.
3. Be a mad dad.
4. Jump on a bump.
5. Be a mom.
6. Be a fox.
7. Kiss a bib.
8. Be sick.
9. Kiss a sock.
10. Put your legs on your neck.
11. Swim fast.
12. Be a duck.
13. Be a rat.
14. Zip up pants.
15. Get ants in your pants.
16. Put on socks.
17. Pop up.
20. Hum and hop.