Last year, our school began to hear the buzz about Pat Cunningham's Four Blocks of Literacy program. One of her "blocks" is called "Working with Words" This is where the book "Making Words" comes in.
Making words is a fun, hands-on, multi-level way of teaching words, phonics, phonemic awareness, beginning, middle and ending sounds,spelling patterns in words,and recognizing that some words like "all" will help us spell other words such as tall, ball, fall, etc. It is a great approach to help first graders learn words.
The materials you will need are index cards, a pocket chart, markers, individual letters for each child, letter holder, and toolbox with drawers to hold the letter cards(that's what I use)
This book "Making Words" helps teachers plan their "Working With Words" block of time. The book shows you step by step what you need to do to prepare for the lessons. It begins by telling you what materials you need, and the things you need to prepare ahead of time. Yes, it does take time to prepare for these lessons but it is worth it. And you will have them for the next year.
Then you turn to the first lesson and it tells you exactly what words the students will be making and what letters each child will need. The teacher puts those letters (teacher has a set of letter cards also, except bigger)in the pocketchart for everyone to see. Pass out the letter cards to students.
First, start by calling out each letter to check that each child has the letters. Have students lay out their letters in ABC order. You can review letter sounds as you hold them up. Then, you start by telling the students they are going to make words with the letters I have given them. Tell them the first word will have 2 letters (always tell them how many letters). Tell them you want them to make "at". Students use their letters to make "at". Then have a student come up and make it with the teacher's big letter cards.
The teacher has written the word "at" on an index card and places it on the pocket chart. The next, the teacher says, " make a work that has 3 letters, and to do this all you need to do is add the letter b to "at". You will make "bat". Continue in this fashion. Now, change the "t" in bat to "d" and you will make bad. By the end of the lesson the students will have used all of the letters given to make a secret word.
The students love "Making Words" block of time. I have really noticed a difference since a begin using this book. Students writing and reading have improved for all my students, even the low students. It challenges the higher ones and really stimulates the students with learning disabilities.
If you want a program that is fun, challenging, meets all levels of learners, improves reading and writing then this book is a must have!
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