Thursday, April 30, 2015

Word Patterns: -ay word family

When children can 'break up' words and recognise familiar patterns in them, it opens up a whole new range of knowledge; they can use the familiar patterns and phonemes (letter sounds) to predict words they have never seen before, e.g. if they know the common word day (d + ay), they can read may, hay, stay etc.

This month's free game download is 'May Day', with a range of words based on the /ay/ pattern. You can download and print it onto thin card (laminate for best results). You will also need dice and movers/tokens to play the game.

May Day board game (-ay words)

This game will be available during May, and is free for non-commercial, educational use. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

First Sight Words - cards for games, matching

Once children learn to recognise a few words, it's good to encourage them to practise until the words become very familiar. 

Here is a page of "First Sight Words" that I made to help beginner readers develop familiarity with some commonly-used words; these are words that I have found children often recognise.

The matching words are in a variety of different fonts, and the text is grey rather than black so the words don't show through light card.


You can print the words onto light card then cut them out to use for matching, for playing 'Memory' (only use 4-6 pairs to start with), or as cards with reading games (free printable reading games are available from, and also  each month on this blog).

Here is a 'background' you can print on the reverse of the cards sheet if you want to make sure the words don't show through (it has a little colour in it; you can print in greyscale if you prefer):

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pre-Reading Skills - I Spy - free picture sheet to download

'I Spy' is an old game which is great for developing children's awareness of beginning sounds. For pre-readers, it's best played with letter sounds rather than letter names, so the child really notice the beginning sounds of the words. 

Visual discrimination of detail is also important for reading - so activities such as jigsaw puzzles and 'find it' (e.g. Where's Wally?) are good practice.

Here is a printable 'I Spy' sheet that you can use to help children develop awareness of visual detail, sounds in words and also 'expressive language' (the ability to express themselves in words) - all important skills in learning to read.

You can print it and use it in an educational setting - or take it with you when you go out for a day or on a long trip to help keep a child entertained.

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Here are some ideas for how to use the "I Spy" sheet (you can download and print these if you like - click on the links in the headings):

You can use this sheet to play the normal ‘I Spy’ game (“I spy with my little eye something beginning with…”); try using letter sounds rather than letter names (e.g. “Book starts with a ‘b’ sound. Can you find something else that starts with ‘b’?”)

For a challenge, try using ending sounds (e.g. “Book ends with a ‘b’ sound. Can you find something else that ends with ‘b’?”).

Play ‘Vowel I Spy’ - look for items with clear vowel sounds, e.g.
·         short ‘a’ sound - bag, cat, pan, map, bat, ant, arrow, hand
·         short ‘e’ sound – egg, hen, peg, pencil, zebra
·         short ‘i’ sound – lips, ship, chicken, jigzag, scissors
·         short ‘o’ sound – doll, dog, clock, stop
·         short ‘u’ sound – cup, bug, jug, sun, duck, thumb, trumpet, butterfly, umbrella
·         ‘long i’ (igh) sound – bike, knife, sign, spider
·                                 ‘long e’ (ee) sound – tree, TV
·         ‘long oo’ (as in zoo) sound – shoe
·         ‘or’ sound – fork, door, sea horse
·         ‘ar’ sound – jar, star, guitar, heart, glasses
ou’ sound – house, mouse, flower

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·         How many round things can you see?
·         How many long things can you see?
·         How many animals can you see?
·         Can you see anything that you can eat?
·         How many things can you see that make a noise?
·         Can you see anything that is really black and white?
·         What things can you see that you can play with?
·         How many things can you see that are useful?
·         Which things can you see that you can wear?
·         How many things can you see that can fly?
·         Is there anything there that is really small?
·         How many things can you see that you might find in your house?
·         How many things can you see that are part of nature?
·         How many eyes can you see?
·         Which things could help you to see?
·         Can you see anything that could help you travel?
·         Which pictures do you think are funny?
·         Which are your favourite pictures? Why?

Can you think of more questions to ask?

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Terms of use - All content and printables in this blog are free to use for your personal/educational use - they may not be used for any commercial purposes or distributed elsewhere, but you are welcome to add the links to Pinterest boards etc.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sight Words - ‘Practice Words’ printable sheet

Children can have a lot of trouble learning their common ‘sight words’, so you may need lots of strategies to help them.

One aid is to write out the words to be learnt in different colours and styles, to help build a mental picture of the words in their surroundings. I developed this sheet to help a student who was having a lot of difficulty with some words.

You can download it to use with your child/students if you like; you can write in the words they are struggling with, or better still get the child to write in the words (just make sure they are correctly spelt and that the letters are facing the right way – write softly for them to trace over if necessary!). The child can use coloured pens or pencils, and can decorate the page with colours, drawings or stickers as they like.

The boxes are big enough for 2 or 3 ‘related’ words (e.g. where, there; would, could, should;  he, me, we; go, no, so) – or you can just focus on one word in each box.

When the child practises the words, you can tick those remembered correctly and quickly.

The child may want to highlight or circle the words that prove most difficult (giving them the option of doing this also gives them some ‘ownership’ of their learning). 
Discuss why those words are difficult and see if you can work out together a way to help them become easier (break them into letter sounds or ‘chunks’, look for patterns, draw a shape around them, etc.).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Game: Bunny Fun - free Printable Board Game to use with Sight Words.

With Easter only a few days away, I thought it was a good time to post a printable board game with a "Bunny" theme... so here it is. You can download and print this game (laminate for best results).

Bunny Fun- Printable board game

You will need some Sight Word cards to use with the game, and a die (dice) and some tokens or 'movers'. Here are some movers that you can print and assemble to use with the game:

Bunny Fun - printable 'movers' for board game

These printables will be available in April, and are free for your private/educational use. They are in.pdf format, and the links will take you to a public Dropbox folder; note that you do not have to sign up to Dropbox to access them - just exit the pop-up box if you are asked to join or sign in!