Recently, I read Horrible Harry and the Ant Invasion to my boys. In one chapter, Ms. Mackle asked Harry and his classmates to brainstorm words that contain the word “ant.” Pants, plant, pennant…
This made me think about some word building activities that we could do with magnetic letters on our new red board.
Word Inside a Word
(The activity described above, with magnetic alphabet letters)
- I make a small word like “ant” with magnetic letters
- Kids brainstorm words that sound like they contain that word part. This is a great way to practice really listening to word parts to identify individual sounds.
- I write the rest of the letters to complete their words, using a dry erase marker.
- Repeat with other word parts–Have kids generate word part ideas too.
One of my favorite activities in the classroom was Patricia Cunningham’s Making Words. The program is wonderful, and if you’re a teacher, I highly recommend it. It helps students identify letter sounds and spelling patterns, and then transfer what they learn to be able to spell and read new words on their own.
My first grader and I are trying a simplified home version like this…
- Choose a word, preferably one that has some relevance for the child. A seasonal word, a word related to his hobby, etc.
- Arrange the magnets that spell the word in random order on the white board.
- Challenge the child to come up with as many words as possible, using the letters you’ve put on the board.*
- Then, for the BIG challenge, have the child make a word that uses all of the letters you’ve put on the board. (The “BIG” word.)
*A few suggestions:
- You may want to give hints to guide your child in word building. For example, “Try making a word with two letters.” “Great, you made the word do.” Now can you add a letter g to make a new word, dog?” “Now let’s change the d to an h, what word do we have?”
- Try sounding out some words together, saying the sounds for each word separately, then saying the whole word: “D-O-G, Dog”
- Have your child arrange the magnets to make the word, then you or the child can write the word on large sticky notes, index cards or sentence strips. That way the magnets will still be available to use for more word making, and you can use the word cards to sort words according to beginning letter sound.
Have you used the Making Words program? What are your favorite word building activities?