kindergarten

  • I’m always looking for new ways to teach short a word families. This matching game was a big hit at our house! Now that she knows all her letters and sounds and has other important pre-reading skills, I’ve been teaching my daughter (4 years, 9 months) to read short vowel words. I’m not going to tell you she’s been jumping up and down about it. In fact, until recently, she didn’t want to learn at all. What made the difference was teaching her to blend sounds using successive blending (I have a video here all about it if you want to try it.) Once she figured that out, reading words has been much more fun for her. To take it a step further, I created a simple matching game featuring CVC words with short a (the only short vowel we’ve practiced so far). I don’t know what it is about matching games, but they’ve always been a big hit with my kids. My Six, who was also reluctant to learn to read, actually begged for more matching games. It’s how I helped him learn his sight words. Watch the quick video above to see the activity in action. The great thing about memory games is that they’re very simple to make. Just cut index cards in half and write a match on each half. Since I decided to create a game using pictures, writing on index cards wasn’t going to work for me. (Drawing is just not one of my gifts.) So I created this simple game on my computer. The download has 16 different matching games. The corner of each card tells you the set that it belongs to so you don’t mix them up. I recommend printing each set on a different color of cardstock. This way you can...
  • October 28, 2018

    12 Books for Veterans Day

    This post contains affiliate links. I grew up near a large naval base. Many of my friends had dads who served in the navy – dads who were “out to sea” at least half the year. I remember how excited they were when the deployment was nearing its end! I have a huge amount of respect for those who serve in the military and for the families that keep things running while their loved ones are away. (If you’re one of them, thank you! And if you’re looking for support, I highly recommend this blog. ) In America, we have a special holiday on November 11 to thank all military personnel who have served in past and present wars. It’s called Veterans Day. I encourage you to use the holiday as an opportunity to reach out to veterans in your community. Talk with your learners about the sacrifices veterans have made for our country.  Here are some books to help you do just that! ( For a printable list, just click here. ) Veterans Day, by Rebecca Rissman guided reading level: F This is a beautifully simple book about Veterans Day to read aloud to preschoolers or to have beginning readers read on their own. Veterans Day, by Mir Tamim Ansary approximate guided reading level: M This book goes tells the history of Veterans Day without getting bogged down in details. The format is very neat and easy to follow, making this a great book for young readers who are learning to read nonfiction. I like that it has a table of contents, glossary, and index. Veterans Day, by Rebecca Pettiford guided reading level: J This is a lovely, simple book – another great read aloud for preschoolers or a good book for beginning readers. If kids can read books like Henry...
  • October 23, 2018

    How to teach blending sounds

    This post about blending sounds contains affiliate links. I’m currently teaching my younger daughter to read. She knows all her letters, most of her sounds, and has all the pre-reading skills I recommend before teaching a child to read. But we’ve been hitting a little bit of a wall with blending sounds. She’ll see a word like this: wag, and she’ll say the sounds /w/ /a/ /g/ … “Pat?” Woah … where did pat come from? Actually, this isn’t all that uncommon. It can be hard for kids to keep all those sounds in their short term memory long enough to put them together to make the right word. That’s where successive blending comes in. Here’s a video that shows exactly how it works. If you prefer a picture tutorial, here you go: I created a set of cards – one set for the first sound, one for the middle sound, and one for the ending sound. The first cards are all letters that are used in CVC words. The middle letters are all vowels. The final letters are all letters we often see at the end of CVC words (so, for example, you won’t find an h or a j in the last stack of cards). To play, simply flip over the first card and say its sound. Have your learner repeat it after you. /h/ Flip over the second sound. Have your learner repeat it. /a/ THEN (and this is key), push those first two sounds together. Say their combined sound. /haaa/ Have your learner repeat it. Flip over the final card. Say its sound. /t/ Have your learner repeat it. Now put all the sounds together. First … /ha/ /t/. Then, /haaat/. Have your learner repeat it. For my daughter, the favorite part of this activity was determining whether the words...
  • Check out my giant list of fall books for preschool and up! This post contains affiliate links. Over the years, I’ve shared quite a few book lists about fall – because I absolutely love this season! I’ll start this post with a list of general books about fall. Down below, you can click on any of the images for even more books about fall … apples, pumpkins, leaves, scarecrows, Halloween, and Thanksgiving! Short on time? Click here for a printable list you can take to the library. Here we go! Fall Is Not Easy, by Marty Kelley This is a delightful rhyming book about a tree who struggles to change its colors for fall. Instead of turning into traditional fall colors, its leaves are colored like a rainbow, a giant smiling emoticon, polka dots, a hamburger (our favorite!) and more. Lots of silly fun while also teaching kids about the seasons. Fall Mixed Up, by Bob Raczka My Four and I giggled as we read this funny book about things that aren’t quite right during the Fall season. We get a hint that things are mixed up on the very first page: “Every Septober, every Octember, Fall fills my senses with scenes to remember.” The rhymes are cute, but it’s the illustrations that steal the show. Our favorites were the pictures of squirrels flying south for the winter (suspended by red balloons), and kids taking big bites out of caramel pumpkins. Bella’s Fall Coat, by Lynn Plourde Bella loves her Fall coat – that Grams made especially for her – to last forever. But the coat is worn out, and Bella is too big for it. Thankfully, Grams has a solution. This sweet, vibrantly colored book was a favorite of my Four. Hocus Pocus, It’s Fall!  This is a gorgeous...
 

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