By Penny Leigh Sebring One of the big stumbling blocks for kids learning to read is the multitude of spelling variations in the English language. Take the letter combinations IGH and IGHT. No child attempting to sound these out would guess that they indicate a long i sound (or, in combination with E or A, a long a sound), yet they do. While thankfully these spelling patterns only feature in a relatively small selection of words, they’re found in some very common ones—and some very . . .
By Chrysta Naron Anyone who’s watched educational videos with kids has probably seen one (or many) with the words printed at the bottom of the screen and a cheerful ball bouncing from word to word, guiding viewers along the text of a song or story. Other times, instead of a bouncing ball, the words might be highlighted, one by one, by a yellow box. The ball or box helps us follow along to the lyrics of “Hakunah Matata,” for example, or read along to Goldilocks and the Three . . .
By Chrysta Naron Knock knock. Who’s there? Boo! Boo who? Don’t cry. It’s only a joke! Or in this case, it’s only reading. Sometimes the OO spelling pattern can throw kids for a loop! The letters don’t make the short O sound (like hot) they learn to read first. And it doesn’t make the long O sound (like rope) that they know as the letter’s name. So just how can you teach your child the sounds that O makes when it’s doubled up? Play this . . .
By Mikee Mapalo Fun facts: Every word has at least one vowel, as does every syllable. (In fact, that’s the definition of a syllable: a word segment with a vowel sound!) Yet vowels are among the trickiest letters for kids learning to read, write, and spell. Every vowel can make a “short” sound, like A in cap, and a “long” sound, like A in cape. What’s more, they make different sounds when they’re doubled or combined with other vowels. Whew! Mastering all this takes practice, and as we . . .
By Chrysta Naron Arrr, me mateys! It’s the 19th o’ September, which means we be celebrating “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” For this silly and seaworthy occasion, we’re taking the opportunity to create a pirate treasure map reading activity and story time. And, along the way, we’ll be working on literacy and an important life skill: the ability to follow written directions. With that goal in mind, the treasure map we’ll be creating today isn’t any ordinary one. Instead of pictures, dotted lines, . . .
By Laila Weir Little kids love crafts, and they love dressing up. That’s probably why making beaded jewelry is so popular with the preschool and kindergarten sets. It also builds important fine motor skills, but guess what--with a simple adaptation, you can also use this fun activity to teach early reading and spelling. The seeds to literacy are planted long before kids start school, so it’s crucial for parents to introduce key knowledge to kids early on. And the best way to do it is to . . .
By Sydney Moninger, COTA/L Kids love to make a mess. So much so that even the most painstakingly arranged craft can quickly turn into demolition time! Sometimes, the best way to hold their attention is to use the mess productively. This simple and free tactile letter activity lets kids make a controlled mess while learning essential reading and writing skills. The key is using a multisensory approach. A multisensory activity uses a combination of the five senses: touch, taste, smell, . . .
By Chrysta Naron As summer begins to wind down, all I can think is, “I want s’more!” S’more fun, s’more sunshine, s’more time by a campfire, and definitely s’more of the delectable dessert of the season itself. In that spirit, and to keep up the summer learning, we’re going to create a fun s’mores spelling game that teaches tricky consonant blends. This activity will evoke the fun of toasting marshmallows, but with a lot less gooey mess. (Or for an extra-gooey edible option, see the end of . . .
By Sheila Dickinson As a children’s librarian putting together story times for young kids, I reinforce language skills and learning by singing songs with my young audience, talking with them, playing together, writing, and of course reading with them. My colleagues and I love to share books, music, musical instruments, chalk for sidewalks, coloring pages, puppets, flannel boards, and toys at the library. Bringing your child to story time at your local library is a fantastic way to connect, . . .
By Laila Weir What?! Use fashion to teach early reading skills? Well, yes. When you’re raising little people, buying clothes is something you have to do a lot. Not only do they outgrow things seemingly overnight, but there are also endless stains, tears, and misplacings to contend with. (Buying them adorable clothes also happens to be fun, at least in my book!) Raising a successful reader is also an important part of the parenting job—as in, critically important. Research shows that . . .