Like Me on Facebook!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blending Help

 Had a friend ask for some blending help with her child so I thought I'd post some activities because I'm sure some others need it!

From Reading Rockets' website:
When beginning readers sound out words, they slowly say each sound in a word (c-a-t), and then say the sounds quickly together to "read" the word (cat). In reading, teachers call this blending because sounds are being blended together. Blending (combining sounds) and segmenting (separating sounds) are skills that are necessary for learning to read.

Here are a few activities to help master this skill...

 Cut out some pictures from magazines or use pictures in books you have laying around the house. Tell your child you are going to say a word in the pictures using "Robot Talk" a slow way of saying words (e.g., /ssssssuuuuuunnnnn/). They have to look at the pictures and guess the word you are saying.

The following activity (see Yopp, M., 1992) is to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands."
If you think you know this word, shout it out!
If you think you know this word, shout it out!
If you think you know this word,
Then tell me what you've heard,
If you think you know this word, shout it out!
After singing, say a segmented word such as /k/ /a/ /t/ and your child provides the blended word "cat."

Here is a great book to help reinforce these concepts...

Love good ol' Shel, but this book really hits on manipulating phonemes.  All the beginning sounds are reversed.  Your child will have fun trying to read it, but will also be learning how different letters create different sounds.

What other activities have you tried?

Monday, March 18, 2013


A friend recently introduced me to the greatest invention ever- indestructible books.  Have you heard of these? 
From their website:

Indestructibles™ introduces a revolutionary new baby book invented by a mother of triplets who wanted to share books with her babies, hassle-free. They are water-proof, tear-resistant, and baby-durable, making them the perfect books for babies who "read" with their little hands and mouths.
They are literally the BEST for young babes.  I have so many nice hardback books that are getting demolished by Gentry's little hands. Bath-time has been revolutionized!  Another great thing about them is that they're wordless.  I loved to give my students wordless books and have them tell the story.  With Gentry, I make up a different story everyday, so that it's not monotonous like other children's books.  For older kids, have them create the story.  See how different each telling can be, or have them draw an extra page to the book and tell that story.
Gentry is getting her first tooth and she asked not to be photographed until it came completely through ;)

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fill in the blank

Again I had another idea before giving you more apps.  I was thinking of ways to help Gentry make sounds and I caught myself talking jibberish, but making parts of word sounds.  I thought this could be a great way to teach young kids how to blend phonemes... remember that word?

If you have picture cards, magazines, newpapers, stickers or anything with pictures of multisyllabic words works.  Play a game holding up the picture and saying the first syllable of the word.  Have your child finish the last syllable.
So for this, you would say "TUR" and your child would say "TLE."  You could even take turns saying the first syllable (although with younger children, they don't always know the picture).

For more advanced learners, try 3 syllable words- Your child says the first syllable, you say the second and he/she says the third.

I realize this isn't breaking down each phoneme individually, but it's a start to teaching kids there are different sound sections in words.

Here are some printables (although not all with 2-syllable words)

Go to the Phoneme Flashcards... some other great printables for more advanced learners...

Basically any Google search for alphabet flashcards will get you some free printables.  Any other great phonemic awareness sites out there you can share?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Superbowl Sunday

I know I said I'd do a series on Apps, but Miss G has been sick and it's super, SUPER Sunday.  So back at the apps this week. 
Who's going to be the big winner today?

That's the question of the day!  Gentry certainly has no idea...

Have a few suggestions for the Superbowl watching to do with your kids...

During the commercials (the appropriate ones at least!)
  • Pick a letter before each commercial break.  See if your child can find any commercials for products that begin with that letter.  More advanced?  Try finding words in the commercial beginning with it.  Less advanced?  Try to pick out letters written in commercials (text, signs, etc.)
  • Have your child pick one word said in the first commercial.  By the end of the next commercial, see how many rhyming words he/she can come up with. 
  • Have them watch a commercial, then act out their own rendition of it.
  • Do some good old fashioned reading while commercials are playing.  See how many books you can get through each commercial break.  Try to beat the last break!
During the game
  • Keep score by using tally marks on a markerboard or sheet of paper.
  • Have your child practice writing the team's name that scores each touchdown.  Write it using shaving cream, markers, colored pens, Twizzlers, anything fun!
  • Make your own football field (make sure to include the #'s on each yard line).  Write one letter on each yard line.  Have your child move toys, Cheerios, anything along as they follow the teams' moves.  Whatever letter they land on, they must go find something in the house that starts with that letter.
Hope you enjoy the Superbowl!  Gentry says if you do these activities, you'll have this much fun:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I think I'm the only human being alive without an iPad.  I hope that changes, especially once Gentry gets older and we can start using some of the fun apps out there.  I've been using some with students I tutor and I thought I'd share my FAVES

Montessori Crosswords: It is $2.99 but VERY worth it.

I love it for 3-7 year olds because it sounds out each letter as you touch it.  For example, in the picture above, the app is making the "n" sound as the person is touching it.  This is key for the ability to blend, segment and manipulate phonemes.  

Don't know the word phonemes?  They are the smallest units of sound, not necessarily letters.  For example, SUN has three phonemes /s/ /u/ and /n/, but so does CHIP with /ch/ /i/ and /p/.  Students who struggle with learning to read often find it difficult to blend these sounds together.  So, if I said /s/ /u/ /n/ very slowly, they couldn't process the individual sounds and blend them into SUN.  They also have a hard time manipulating the sounds, or changing the /s/ in front of SUN to an /f/ to make FUN.  But enough of a lesson, back to the apps.

Sentence Maker: Teaches word order, sentence structure and is even customizable to your child's ability level.  You can add your own text and sound to make funny and personal sentences.  And we all know how making things relevant to your child's life will usually make the concept stick!

Bug Brained:  This is a company with a whole line of apps specific to your child's level.  Here is a first grade one having kids swat the uppercase letters.
And here is a Kindergarten leveled one where your child can touch the picture for the letter sound.

I'm going to do more apps over the next few weeks.  So stay tuned for more.  Gentry's napping and my long to-do list only give me time for three today. Anyone have any great ones out there to share?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wikki Stix

Fancy Nancy... do you know her?  If you have a daughter you need to!  Boys can definitely befriend her as well!  Here Gentry's reading Fancy Nancy's Christmas book with Wikki Stix in hand. (PS- her shirt says "i heart girls' days with mommy" in case you were curious)

Wikki Stix?!

From their website: Wikki Stix are made of hand-knitting yarn enhanced with a microcrystalline food-grade, non-toxic wax, the kind used in bubble gum and lipstick. They do not contain latex, gluten, nor peanut or other nut oils or byproducts which makes them an ideal creative activity toy for children with allergies.   Simply stated…they stick! No glue, no paste, no mess. Just press them down with light fingertip pressure and they will adhere to almost any smooth surface. They are also easy to peel up and reposition so “mistakes” virtually disappear, which helps build self-confidence. There is no preparation, no clean-up, no mess. Press ‘em down, peel ‘em off… it’s that simple! **


I used to always get my students to underline words in text with them.  We'd search for all the short e words, -ock family words, adjectives, etc.

You can do the same thing depending on your child's reading ability.

Reading ability?!

Try looking for:

  • specific letters
  • letters in your child's name
  • capital versus lowercase letters
  • punctuation
  • words that start with a certain letter or sound
  •  specific word families (-ack, -ock, etc.)
  • funny words
  • challenging words (great for having your child read independently and come back to you for help with later)
Any other suggestions?!  I tried to show you what it looks like to underline a sentence (upside-down), but Gentry just wanted to highlight the pretty pictures.  Baby steps!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Good use for old boxes

Reduce, reuse and recycle right?! This book is perfect for getting that point across. It also proves how kids often trump us in the imagination category. It's about how a child views an empty box versus an adult. Read this to your child and then see how many different "boxes" your child can imagine!

Gentry only missed a few words reading today ;) Her "box" is a motorcycle with her sidekick Macon. Someone should have told her to keep her eyes on the road!  Tell me what your child makes with a blank canvas like this!