Help children get increasingly comfortable with recognizing and naming all uppercase and lowercase letters of the alphabet. One fun way to do this is to play an adaptation of the old favorite game, I Spy. Reuse some piece of text that all children can have in front of them, for example, a photocopied paragraph in a book that matches one of the teacher ’s big books. Ask all children to focus on the text. Start the game by saying, “I spy with my little eye, seven small letter ‘t’s’.” In this way, challenge children to locate all the small letter ‘t’s’ in the passage. (Remember, they are not supposed to be reading the text, just looking for the letter and getting comfortable with recognizing it in uppercase and lowercase forms.) Allow children to take turns being the spy.

Show children that the sequence of letters in a written word matches the sequence of sounds they hear when the word is spoken.

  • On the board, write a simple word that begins with a consonant. Direct the children to sound, blend, and identify the word. Swap the initial consonant with another consonant and ask them to say the new word. Demonstrate the sounding and blending of the letters for them. Repeat this exercise often. After children have mastered swapping the initial consonant, try replacing the final consonants. On any given day, however, it is best to focus on one letter position at a time. After children have had some experience, try the harder task of switching the vowel sounds.

Initial consonant swap:

bat, cat, hat, mat, pat, sat, vat

Final consonant swap:

fit, fin, fib, fig

Vowel sound:

pat, pet, pit, pot or bit, bat, bet, but

Tip: Don’t forget Dr. Seuss books, such as Green Eggs and Ham and One Fish Two Fish, which offer lively and fun prose filled with rhymes and word play that you can integrate into your lessons.

Help children build their sight vocabulary. Try this word card game, a version of the parlor game Concentration. Make or gather two copies of 6 word cards, for a total of 12 cards (2 cards for each of 6 words). Shuffle the cards and lay them out in rows of three by four, face down. The first player turns over two cards and read each word that is turned over. If two cards match, the player takes the cards and gets another turn. If they don’t match, the player must put them back exactly in the same place, face down. Then the next player tries. Using his or her memory about the cards previously

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