Since I work with kindergartners and 1st graders who are learning how to read, we spend a lot of time each week using our knowledge of letter sounds to make words. It is amazing to see my students become readers, but as we all know it can be a VERY long process for some. As a result of the length of time I spend each day trying to get my students to become independent readers, I try to switch up the activities we use daily to cover the same concept. Something new I have tried this year which both the students and I love is a combination of the ABC Magnetic Alphabet Lite app on the iPad, magnet strips with magnetic letters and Word Creation journals.
Common Core Alignment:
The ABC Magnetic Alphabet Lite app on the iPads is free! (There are also other themes you can pay for if you want to use it for more than just letter/words. The free version fits my needs perfectly though!) I primarily use this app after we “warm up our brains” with a Phonemic Awareness activity. Each student has an iPad and I say a letter sound and then they find that letter, say the name of it, and put it in the main part of the screen. After the iPad screens are full, I say the name of a letter and the students “send it back home” by swiping it back down to the bottom. This is a nice way to review the letter sounds before we begin using those sounds to make words.
The great thing about this app is that it can be use for many different activities. If you only have a few (or even just one) iPads in your room, you can set students up in a center with this app. If it isn’t in a teacher guided center, you can instead have one student be the teacher while their partner is working on the iPad. One way I have the student be the teacher while their partner is using the iPad is by having the student say a sight word/spelling word/vocab word, etc. and the partner needs to make the word on the iPad, using this app. Then the students switch roles so everyone gets a chance to use the iPad and practice their words!
After using the iPads, I then use individual magnet strips and magnetic letters for each student. I find the size of these strips perfect for each child to have in front of them in their own space! I use these mainly for ‘making words’ activities where I say a word, the students say the sounds and then use the letter tiles to make the word. I don’t know about your students, but mine love anything magnetic so these magnet strips have made ‘making words’ really fun!
After we make a word on the magnet strip, the students then copy the word into their Word Creation Journals. We read the sounds and say the word one more time together after writing it down and then repeat the process with the magnetic strips again until we have made 5 new words.
I personally really like being able to incorporate technology, manipulatives and writing all in a 30 minute 3-step process for ‘making words’ because it has a good amount of variety so my students (and I) don’t get bored!