Friday, December 30, 2016

Early Literacy Practice Pages

Do you have students who need help with some early literacy skills? Or students who have mastered most of the skills, but have some difficulty following directions, so they often answer questions wrong, even though they understand the concept?

I do! I do!

I needed a way for them to practice general readiness, phonemic awareness, phonics, and structural analysis skills, so they would feel more confident when taking tests and learn to analyze directions so they didn't get questions wrong because they weren't paying attention to the key words in the questions.

So, I came up with these early literacy practice pages.

I've been using them in small groups and they are really helping students to think about what the questions are asking and to look at each answer choice carefully. Many of them contain answer choices that are similar and look correct.

Here are all the skills included...

Most of the skills contain 2 different activity sheets, and there are some that contain more. Blends has 3 different sheets, mixed review has 4, and word families has 5 different sheets.

Here is an example of one of the sheets. See how some of the wrong answers look like they could be right, if you don't pay close attention to the question?
This one is all about rhyming. I came up with quite a few different ways to test the children's understanding of rhyming.

When I complete a sheet with an individual or small group, we go very slowly. I help the children read the questions and identify the pictures with them. These sheets were not created for children to complete independently. So many teachable moments would be missed!

Once an answer has been chosen, we discuss why it is the right (or wrong) answer. It is very interesting, and very telling, to hear the children explain why they chose an answer. It is during this conversation that children usually figure out if they chose the wrong answer. I tell them that they fell for my trickery and to be super careful not to let that happen. They love the challenge!

Answer keys are included for teachers to refer to. I highly suggest using it because it will tell you what each picture depicts, just in case you can't figure it out on your own.

If you are looking for a great way to help students who have difficulty with a few or many early literacy skills, or students who don't read or listen to directions very well, then you may want to check these out. You can find them by clicking here or on the image below.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Building Long Vowel Words Small Group Game

My last blog post was all about building words with blends and digraphs. Now, I'm here to show you a small group game called Building Long Vowel Words. Learning to blend and decode individual sounds in words helps children build strong word attack skills and is crucial to reading success.

Along with all of my word building activity sheets, I also like to have plenty of hands-on games available, to keep my students learning and engaged. Playing games helps build social skills and, as long as you model proper game etiquette, students can play them at stations, while you are meeting with your reading groups. Through the years, my students have chosen to play academic games during free time. Even though I tell them they don't have to! This makes my teacher heart happy!

I start teaching long vowels in kindergarten. I teach all about the magical powers of the silent e at the end of the word (Super e) and then the children continue to learn more and more long vowel word families in first grade. I like using word families to teach long vowels because learning and practicing the rime patterns helps children familiarize themselves with many more words that contain the same rime.

In the game, Building Words With Long Vowels, students combine onsets and rimes, focusing on long vowel word families. The more they play and build words, the more they understand that there are systematic and predictable relationships between letters, their sounds, and the words they make.

Here is the game board. It's cute and colorful, and the children enjoy moving their tokens from start to finish. The game is perfect for 2-6 players.

To play, students take turns choosing an initial consonant card and a word family card. I copy them on two different colors to keep them organized. I made basket labels to hold the cards. (The labels are included with the game.)

They place the cards on their mat. Each player has their own mat. They read the word out loud. If the word is a real word, they write it on the recording sheet (this step is optional) and roll the dice. If the word is a nonsense word, they write it on their recording sheet and then stay on the same space. They only move ahead if they make a real word. Student directions, with and without a recording sheet, are included.

This is the recording sheet. I like to use it for extra practice, but I know that not all teachers like recording sheets. 

Students can check their answers on the answer key, if necessary. Some of the words may be new to them, so I make sure the children know how to look up a word in the dictionary, to find its meaning. They've learned lots of new words playing this game!

And there you have it! Students move around the board, reading and writing and learning long vowel words. There is a separate game for all five vowels, plus, three extra games that contain a mix of all long vowel word families, for a total of eight games. Here are all the word families included. Once students understand that the vowel says its name, they are able to read all the words, even those with vowel teams.

This game can be played all year long because there are so many different words that can be made. Each game played is always different from the last.

It's perfect for stations/centers, small groups, RTI, and FREE TIME!

If you are interested in adding this long vowel game to your classroom, just click here or on the image below.

Grab it while it's on sale for a few days!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Word Building

Word building is a research-based strategy that has been proven to be highly effective in teaching children to decode and blend individual sounds in words. Manipulating sounds enables students to become familiar with the patterns of sounds in words.

Through the years, I have worked very hard, creating activities that my students can use independently, to help them practice this important skill, as often as possible.

My students practice building word family words.
Click here for a FREE activity sheet!

And words with short and long vowels.

And words with blends.

And words with vowel teams.

And with all these word building activities that I have, you'd think I would be satisfied! LOL! But, recently, I had a reason to go back to the drawing board, and create one more building words pack!

I was working with some first graders, who were having difficulty reading words with blends and digraphs. They could read some of them in isolation, but were very unsure of themselves when reading the words in the context of a sentence. They said the words were just too long.

So, we worked on building CVC words with letter tiles and then replacing the first letter with a blend. I sat and came up with some CVC words that could become longer words when you added a blend at the beginning. They built the words with the letter tiles, and then wrote the words, and then read the words, and we repeated this for awhile until they realized that reading words with blends wasn't so hard!

While we were working together, I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be nice to have some building words activity sheets already made, where you could add blends to CVC words and not only read and write the words in isolation, but read the words in the context of a sentence?"

And, that is how this new pack evolved!

Building Words With Blends and Digraphs enables students to build words, beginning with an easy to read word, so they feel confident and successful from the start. Students build the word in the box,

 then change the first letter, replacing it with a blend (or digraph),

and read and write the new word on the line.

Then, they read a sentence, and highlight both of the words they built. 

Each of the 8 blends activity sheets begins with a CVC word or a word where the final consonant is doubled. 

This systematic, direct approach, really helped these students learn to confidently decode and blend individual sounds in words and become familiar with the patterns of sounds in words.

They are great as a station activity or small group activity. I love to use them during RTI and for homework, as well.

Here's an example of building words with digraphs.
 All of the 8 digraphs activity sheets begin with a CVC, CVCe, or CVCC word. Students change one letter and replace it with a beginning or ending digraph (ch, ph, sh, th, wh, ck, gh, kn, ll, ng, tch, wr, zz) to make a whole new word.

I also included 2 building words with blends and digraphs activity sheets. Each sheet begins with a CVCC, CCVC, or CCVCC word. Students change a blend to a digraph or a digraph to a blend, to make a whole new word.

Each activity sheet includes the exact letter tiles needed to build the words on the page. You can print a set of letters for each student, or print a few sets on different colored copy paper and store them in separate Ziploc baggies. I recommend printing them in different colors so the sets don't get mixed up. You can save the letters to use year after year.

I also included a page with all 26 lower case letters and a page with all 26 capital letters. You can print a few sets on different colored copy paper and store them in Ziploc baggies. This way, you don't need to print a new set of letters for each activity sheet.

If you would prefer not to print any letters, you can use letter tiles instead.

Click here to read a blog post I wrote, which includes visuals of how I store my letters.

If you are interested in these building words activity sheets, you can find them here, or by clicking the image below.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Winter Holiday Center Activities

I can't believe it's already time to start planning winter holiday activities! I like to have plenty of fun and engaging activities for the children to do independently, because we all know that it is extra hard to keep children engaged while visions of sugarplums dance in their heads!

The following holiday language activities for little learners can be found here.

They will surely keep students challenged and on task. 
They won't even realize it's school work!

Labeling Rudolf
I included a colored version that you can put in page protectors and students can label Rudolf with a dry erase marker and a black and white version so each student can have a copy. Two different writing templates are also included, so students can write about Rudolf, using some of the words they used to label him.

Beginning, Middle, and Ending Sounds Activity Sheets
Answer keys are included!

Things I Like...
Students will enjoy drawing pictures of and writing about things they like during the holidays. I also included a template with solid lines, instead of the handwriting lines.

Holiday Honey's
Who will the children see or hope to see during the holidays? 
Students write their names and draw a picture of them.

Scrambled Sentences
Students unscramble six sentences and write them on the recording sheet. I included sentences about Christmas and Hanukkah. A black and white version is included, as is an answer key.

Holiday Shopping List
Students use the 24 colored or black and white picture/word cards to make a list of things they'd like to receive for the holidays. Then, they draw a picture of each item.

Write the Room
You can hang the word cards around the room and have students walk around with their recording sheet on a clipboard. Or, you can place the picture/word cards at a station and students choose words to write. There are two different versions of the recording sheet. The one not pictured has a space for students to illustrate each word. The 18 cards come in color and black and white.

There are also two writing activities included, one for Christmas and one for Hanukkah, which are not shown above. Click on the image below to find these activities in my store!

Here are some great ones...

Click here or on the image below to see these activities in my store.

These activities will really make it easy for you to plan your holiday centers. 
Prep them once and enjoy them year after year!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Thanksgiving Literacy Center Activities

My favorite time of year is coming up...
Thanksgiving Time!

Here are some fun and engaging activities for kindergartners.
There's a great mix of hands on activities and no-prep printables.
Planning your centers will be a breeze!

Scrambled sentences are always a big hit.
Students will have lots of success reading the words on the cards.
A sentence recording sheet is included, along with an answer key, to make this activity self checking.

These turkey rhyming cards are sure to engage your students! They can be used as a memory game, a matching activity, a write the room activity, or, just leave them at a center, along with the recording sheet. A recording sheet for matching ten rhymes is also included.

There's no better time to learn how to write a thank you note, then during Thanksgiving time! Students can write to anyone! A template without the prompts is also included.

Here's a fun way for students to learn and practice counting syllables in words. There are printables for real and nonsense words, and beginning and ending sounds, as well. All of them come with an answer key!

Click here or on the image below to see these activities in my store!

Here are some great ones!

Click here or on the image below to see these activities in my store!

You can grab these Thanksgiving activities on sale, along with the rest of my store on October 31 and November 1!

Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard