Tactile Sight Word Cards- No Sandpaper Needed!

Ever since posting the DIY tactile letters, I wanted to create templates to make tactile words for the first three lists of the Dolch 220 sight words.  I’m such a believer in a multi-sensory approach to teaching that, despite the amount of time they’ll take to make, they’ll be so worth the effort!  Once made, they should last you for years.

So, this is what you’ll need for your project:  1.  Adhesive Outdoor Tread.  I purchased this tread at my favorite home improvement store–the Home Depot in the paint section.  2.  9 sheets of 3 different colors of 12×12 cardstock (scrapbooking cardstock found in most large department stores).  3.  Clear contact paper if you do not have access to a laminator.

To make your tactile sight words, follow these simple steps:

1.  Print the pdf with the sight word templates and the letter templates and cut them out.

2. Mount the sight word templates on the colored cardstock and cut them leaving a border around the template.  I use my scrapbooking tools, but scissors will do.  You will be able to get three sight word templates on a 12×12 cardstock.  I color-coded my lists.  For example, list one was mounted on green, list two on blue and list three on red.

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3.  Laminate or cover each mounted template with clear contact paper.

4.  Gather the letters for the word on the card.  Turn over/flip the letters for the word on the backside of the tread and trace around the letter with a fine point Sharpie marker.

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5.  Cut the letter from the outdoor tread.

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6.  Simply peel the paper off the back of the tread and adhere on the template.

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 Well, that’s about it.  Pretty easy to make.  These tactile sight word cards will make a great addition to your small group intervention toolbox.  One helpful hint…you’ll want to have some Goo-Gone on hand to clean your scissors after cutting the tread.

Click the following link to download your pdf file of the sight word templates for lists 1-3 of the Dolch 220 Sight Words. Templates for the Tactile Sight Words


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Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 5: Blends and Digraphs

I’ve been having so much fun creating the cookie sheet activities! Thanks to everyone who has sent emails and comments with suggestions for future volumes.  I love hearing your ideas and it seems like I’ll be busy creating cookie sheet activities for quite some time.  The newest lastest and greatest volume of the cookie sheet activities is designed to teach and practice consonant blends and digraphs.  There are 18 sorting templates!  This activity allows for differentiation as students can sort with either two or four sounds.

Click the following link to download two FREE templates and corresponding pictures Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 5 Sorting Digraphs and Blends

Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 5 also contains 10 templates where the students must decide which blend or digraph is contained in the word.  This activity is a little more advanced than the sorting activity.

Click the following link to download two FREE sample templates  Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 5 Digraphs


Click HERE to download the full 38 page version of Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 5

Be sure to check out other Make, Take & Teach Cookie Sheet Activities
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 1: ABC Order, Rhyme and CVC Words
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 2: Number Order, Number Concepts
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 3: Sight Words
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 4: Beginning Sounds and Short Vowels
Cookie Sheet Activities Volume 6: Word Families
Thanks everyone!  If you have an idea for an activity that would work with the cookie sheets, please let me know.


Four Types of Reading Assessments

Assessment and intervention is the heart and soul of Response to Intervention (RtI).  Prior to beginning either a school-wide program or developing an intervention plan for a particular student, it is critically important to have assessment data.  There are 4 types of reading assessments that comprise a comprehensive K-3 reading assessment plan.  Each type of assessment is important in its own right and provides valuable information to school teams in the RtI process.  So, take a look at these types of assessments.  How comprehensive is your K-3 reading assessment plan?

1.  Screening-  The purpose of a screening assessment is to identify students who are at-risk for reading difficulties.  Identifying the students early on who are likely to struggle with learning to read is important as we can then develop intervention plans that, hopefully, PREVENT a life-long reading deficit.

The DIBELS Next and the Aimsweb assessments are the two most commonly administered screening assessments in schools.  Our schools utilize the DIBELS Next assessments.   Students are screened three times a year using the particular assessments designed for each grade level.  For example, students in 2nd-6th grade read 3 grade level passages for one minute.  The number of words correct per minute (wcpm) is calculated and compared to an expected level of performance.   The assessments are easy to administer and take no more than 8 minutes per student.  When the data is entered into the computer-based system, a variety of charts/graphs are provided for school-based problem solving teams to analyze.  Below is a sample of a class list report that a teacher will receive after each benchmark period.

2.  Progress Monitoring- The purpose of progress monitoring  is to track student performance during an instructional period.   Once a student is identified as at-risk for reading difficulties, an intervention plan is developed.  Every week or every other week, the student is assessed with a progress monitoring probe (usually a one minute assessment).  The purpose of the assessment is to determine if the student is making progress when provided with the additional support.  Below is a sample of a progress monitoring chart measuring oral reading fluency for a 2nd grade student.

Both DIBELS Next and Aimsweb offer progress monitoring assessments.

3.  Diagnostic-  Diagnostic assessments provide the teacher with more in-depth information about the student’s skills.  Diagnostic assessments can range from standardized assessments to teacher-made classroom assessments.   The Quick Phonics Screener and the Primary Spelling Inventory are two assessments that we use to help us target specific deficits in the area of phonics.  We also find that having a running records assessment is helpful when designing interventions.  Several schools use the Rigby Running Records while others use the Diagnostic Reading   Assessment.   In Michigan, we use the Michigan Literacy Progress Profile to assess letters/sounds and specific phonemic awareness skills.

4.  Outcomes-  Outcome assessments are typically administered once a year.  These assessments are usually referred to as “high stakes” assessments and the data is used to assess curriculum design, implementation and teachers’ efforts over the course of a school year.  Outcome assessments provide standard scores and percentiles so that the problem solving team (and parents) can compare a particular student’s performance to peers across the nation as well as peers within the district.   The two outcome assessments used in my schools are the Gates-MacGinitie for kindergarten and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.  Although these assessments provide valuable information, they are costly and time consuming to administer.

Click the following link to download this poster 4 Types of Reading Assessments

Be sure to check back as I will be exploring each type of assessment in future blog postings.  This post corresponds with Priniciple 8 of the 8 Core Principles of Response to Intervention.


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Cereal Box Puzzles

Years ago I attended a literacy center workshop and the presenter offered tons and tons of great ideas for activities.  I love the kind of workshops where you leave with great ideas for hands on activities that you can create and use the very next day!  During the session she shared the “Cereal Box Activity”.  I thought this activity was so very clever!  It’s easy to make, has a self-checking feature and it can be used with many skills.  In this video, I created the activity using math facts.  You can create the activity for a variety of skills such as parts of speech, state capitals, and the list goes on and on.  You can also differentiate the activity by limiting or increasing the number of puzzle pieces.  So, take a peek at the video below and learn how to make your own cereal box puzzles!


It was a bit difficult seeing the finished product in the video so I attached this pic.

Are you scrounging for boxes in your cupboards yet?




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DIY Word Family Sliders

Teaching students to identify “chunks” in words is an important step in learning to read.  Identifying these “chunks” helps to build fluency as the student will not have to stop and blend each individual sound.  Word families are groups of words that share the same ending.  For example, the words: can, Dan, fan, man, pan, ran, tan, and van all belong to the “-an” word family.   Learning these “chunks” and patterns within words also helps students spell when writing words.  Word Sliders and Word Wheels are helpful when introducing word families.  Try this little freebie when teaching word families in your classroom.

To assemble the word family sliders you will need:

  • 6  8 1/2x 11 full sheet labels (Avery 48165)
  • 18 Glidden 3×5 paint sample cards (if you want to color coordinate your pictures, I listed the paint sample colors on the last page of the pdf)


  • 4 sheets of cardstock.

1.  Print pages 1-6 of the attached pdf on the full sheet labels and pages 7-10 on cardstock.

Click HERE to download the pdf of the cards and letter strips

2.  Cut word cards along the dotted line and cut out the letter strips

3.  Peel the backing from the word cards and place over color coordinating paint sample.


4.  With an Exacto knife, cut a line on the dotted lines on the cards.

cut slitsrev

5.  Weave the corresponding letter strips though the slits.  The colors of the strips should match the card and the word family is typed toward the bottom.


When you assemble this activity, you will have 18 Word Family Sliders to use during your small group intervention!


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