Bowling For Sight Words

Kids love playing games.  So why not incorporate teaching and practicing sight words into active and fun activities designed to keep them engaged while still learning!   Bowling for Sight Words is a kid-endorsed, absolutely awesome game for practicing sight words.  This bowling set was found at my favorite store (that would be Walmart, of course) in the toy department.  I created the stickers using the labels tab in Microsoft Word and then simply placed a sticker on each bowling pin.   To play this game, students take turns “bowling for sight words” and reading the words on the pins they knock down.  They can keep score if they wish, but it’s just as fun taking turns without keeping track.

To make the sight word stickers you will need Avery 8161  1″x4″labels

Click the following link to download free sight word labels for lists 1-3 Sight Word Stickers Lists 1-3


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Parent Handouts for Learning Sight Words and Improving Reading Fluency

As the school year ends, parents often ask for suggestions on how to help their child at home over the summer months.  Last year I developed several parent handouts to address specific areas of reading.  The Learning Sight Words handout provides suggestions for teaching and reinforcing sight words.  This handout is most appropriate for kindergarten and first grade students.

Click the following link to download this free two page handout.  Learning Sight Words

For first, second and third grade students, the Oral Reading Fluency handout may be helpful.

Click the following link to download this free two page parent handout. Oral Reading Fluency-Parent


Spring Math and Word Family Activities

Just before heading out for a walk the other day, my friend showed me a robin’s nest complete with three chirping baby robins who took up temporary residence in her garage.  That reminded me that I haven’t yet posted the Robin’s Nest Addition Freebie on the blog.  I know there’s only days left until summer vacation (technically 8 day for me), but this activity is pretty quick and easy to make.

Click HERE to download the FREE Robin’s Nest Addition game.

This activity is also available for use with word families.  There are 8 word families with 31 pictured robin eggs.

Click HERE to download the Robin’s Nest Word Family.

Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

Several years back all the K-6 and special education teachers in our districts participated in the Language Essentials for Teachers of Language and Spelling (LETRS) training.  One of the beginning sessions introduced the the five key areas of reading instruction proposed by the National Reading Panel.  Phonemic awareness and phonics are two of these components.  During this session, there seemed to be quite a bit of confusion over the terms of “phonological awareness”, “phonemic awareness” and “phonics” and knowing the difference between those terms.   So, let me see if I can help provide clarification.

Phonological Awareness- Phonological awareness is a general appreciation of how spoken language can be divided into its components.  For example, we speak in sentences.  Sentences can be broken down into words and words into syllables.  Breaking words into onset-rime and an appreciation of rhyme and alliteration fall under the category of phonological awareness.

Phonemic Awareness- The word “phoneme” means sound.  When a word is broken down into its smallest unit, a sound (or phoneme), the term “phonemic awareness” is used.  Phonemic awareness is a sub skill of the broad category of phonological awareness.  Phoneme isolation, blending, and segmenting are several skills that fall under this category.

Maybe this graphic helps.


Click the following link to download the above graphic:  Phonological Awareness

Phonics and phonemic awareness are not the same.  Phonics involves how speech sounds correspond to the written letter or letter combinations.  Phonemic awareness is only about hearing and manipulating the individual speech sounds in words.  The best way to remember the difference between these two terms is to know that any phonemic awareness skills can be “done in the dark”.

To download the “Do It In the Dark” poster click the following link:  Phonemic Awareness Do It In the Dark

Did you know– Research has identified phonemic awareness and letter knowledge as the two best predictors of how well a child will learn to read during the first two years of school.


Bead Slide: A Tool for Teaching Phoneme Segmentation

The bead slide is one of my favorite tools to use when teaching the phonemic awareness skill of phoneme segmentation.  They are so simple to make.  Check out the video to see how to use and make the bead slide.



Sometimes it’s just hard to come up with words right off the top of your head while you are working in your small groups.  Here is a little cheat sheet for you.

Click the following link to download this handout.  Phoneme Segmentation Words

Did you Know–Segmenting and blending are the two phonemic awareness skills found to have the greatest impact on learning to read.

The Bead Slide is one of 15 hands on activities contained within the Response to Intervention Phonemic Awareness Activity Pack.



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