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Sight Word Bracelet Project and Game

Learning all the sight words in the English language can be
a challenging task for beginning readers and finding fun and engaging
activities to help them master these phonetically unconventional words can be a
chore.  One of my students recently
came to a session with a charming bracelet that she had created with the use of
letter beads, and it ignited an idea for a fun classroom or home project and
game. 
Sight Word Bracelet Project:
·
Go to the craft store or Amazon.com to purchase
letter beads and twine or cord.  Personally,
I like to use cord that stretches, so that children can easily slip their
creations on and off their wrists.  I included
some links at the bottom of the post. 
·
Make a list of challenging sight words.
·
Have your student(s) select a challenging sight
word and have them place the letter beads onto the cord in a sequence so that
they spell the word.  You can limit
each bracelet to one sight word, or you can do two or more by placing spacers
between the words. 
Sight Words Read and Write Race Game: 
(for
three or more players)
·
Ask each player to wear his or her new sight word
bracelet.  Make sure each student
can read the sight word on his or her own bracelet. 
·
Give each player a piece of paper and a clip
board.
·
Tell the players that they have to read the
sight word or sight words off of each student’s wrist.  But, so nobody else can hear, they must
whisper the answer so only the person wearing the sight word can hear them.  If they get it correct, then they get
to write it down on their piece of paper. 
If they don’t get it right, the person wearing that word or words
whispers the word back in their ear. 
They can come back to that person and whisper their sight word again,
but not right away.  They have to
go and read at least two other sight words before they can go back and reread
the one that they missed.  If there
are not any more words for them to read, they must wait one minute before going
back and giving it another try.  The first person to correctly read and write
down all the sight words on everyone’s wrist, including their own, is the
winner.  If you don’t want a “winner,” after all the players finish the activity, ask for volunteers to read all the sight words on their paper.
If you are only working with one student, you can let them
create a sight word necklace with a series of ten or more difficult sight words
that are separated with spacers. 
Encourage them to wear it and see if they can read and spell all the sight words for their friends and family members. 

I hope you enjoy this activity!  I’d love to hear your thoughts!!

Cheers, Erica

 

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

Reading and Spelling Difficulties: 7 Main Causes

Here is a guest blog by my friends at Easyread.  Enjoy, Erica

By David Morgan
It is estimated that up to 10% of the general population struggles with dyslexia. Some studies call that a conservative estimate, with many more people struggling to read and spell.
Many parents of dyslexic children or dyslexic adults find themselves in this situation, armed with a label but no real solution. Some feel it means that their child will never come to love reading. With the right help that is almost certainly not the case!
Reading is a neurological process that the brain undertakes every time it is presented with text on the page. In order to target the primary cause of reading difficulty to find a solution, we have to look at different areas where that process can break down.
There are seven main causes of reading and spelling difficulty that we have found to date. If you or someone you know is dyslexic, see if any of them match up with what you experience.
1. Optilexia – The main sign of Optilexia is guessing when reading, particularly with the short words. Sometimes the longer words seem easier and the reader will read a word without a problem on one page, but not the next. Spelling in free writing is atrocious, but the Optilexic can usually perform well on a spelling test. Unfamiliar words and place names will feel very difficult. The underlying cause of Optilexia can be found in how the learner is processing the text visually rather than aurally. Once that has been switched, a steady rate of progress can be gained.
2. Eye-Tracking Weakness – Does your child skip words and lines? Do single words seem easier than sentences and paragraphs of text? Normally a reader’s eyes perform a refined jump from word cluster to word cluster left to right, called a saccade. Some struggling readers have weakness in the neural feedback loops controlling the eye muscles that control this movement. That makes focusing accurately on a word in a sentence very hard. The right simple eye-tracking exercises usually fix this neural weakness in just days.
3. Irlen Syndrome – Has your child ever complained about the words moving around on the page? The human eye has a great visual sensitivity to changes in color and brightness in order to identify patterns. However, some struggling readers have an over-sensitivity to black text on white background, which causes the words to shimmer or move around on the page. This can be alleviated with colored films to soften the level of contrast.
4. Memory Difficulties – Memory plays a big part in the reading process. Not only does the person have to remember each sound when decoding a word, but then multiple words need to be remembered for a sentence, then sentences remembered to comprehend a paragraph. People with short-term memory challenges have great difficulty retaining all this information when reading. Short-term memory difficulties have very distinct symptoms. In reading this can show up as poor comprehension, stilted reading flow and difficulty remember phonemes when sounding out a long word. In life this can show up as inability to remember multi-step directions, inability to remember lists of items and being generally forgetful of recent events.
5. Attention Deficit – Have you seen your child struggling to focus on the task of reading? Fidgeting? Easily distracted? I am sure you know why reading is harder than it should be. However, I am also sure you have seen your child happily focusing for long periods on some tasks; ones that seem enjoyable! That is the key to fixing this issue. Make reading fun with games.
6. Fluency Block – Does your child decode words competently, but struggle to read fluently? A conventional reader uses a part of their brain called the letterbox cortex to recognise common letter groupings. Amazgainly you aer able to raed scarblmed txet quite flnuetly, due to this function. Some struggling readers bypass their letterbox cortex when reading, instead using visual memory to store letter groupings. This causes the reader to be able to decode quickly but never really develop any fluency or smoothness. To fix this tricky problem means engaging this very specialist bit of cortex in the decoding process. We do that with anagrams.
7. Stress Spirals – Reading is a higher brain function and is therefore controlled by the frontal cortex. When the brain is under stress, 70% of the frontal cortex energy is diverted to the fight or flight center (amygdala) and the brain loses its capacity to think clearly. A child who struggles with reading is in a state of stress when trying. This sets the child up for inadequate mental resources when attempting to read. The pattern of being under stress and getting more stressed when trying creates a downward stress spiral which often results in meltdowns, tears and finally giving up.
A dyslexic reader may have one or several of these causes of difficulty. The key to making reading or spelling easier is to identify the cause and then find ways to address it. That is what we specialize in at Easyread.
Looking for a phonics program to help your struggling learner? Easyread incorporates solutions to these causes that may be due dyslexia, auditory processing disorder or highly visual learning styles. www.morganlearning.com 


Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Free Reading and Spelling Game for the TCH or CH, DGE or GE, CK or K Rules


The English language is packed with confusing rules that can make decoding and reading difficult tasks to master.  What’s more, many of the workbooks and activities are boring, and even if students complete the lesson, it doesn’t mean that they can apply the content in a different learning situation.  However, presenting the same content in a game-like format can make a lesson memorable and engaging even for struggling learners.

Here is a fun game that my students love to play.  It’s great for literacy centers or reading centers, and it will also assist students with spelling.

Materials:

  • 1.5 -2.0 hole punch or round object that can be traced
  • Craft paper
  • Laminating sheets and laminator or 
  • Round wooden discs from the craft store and glue
  • Playing cards:  You can purchase blank playing cards on Amazon:  see link at the bottom, or use laminated craft paper and then write the letters on the blank side with a permanent marker.

How to make the game – using TCH and CH:

  • Place the word beginnings onto playing cards.  I make a stack of at least forty cards.  Twenty cards should illustrate the beginning of TCH words such as MA, WI, DU, and STI. The other twenty cards should illustrate the beginning of CH words such as MUN, HUN, BEA, and BEL.  Many lists can be found on the internet.
  • Make the spinning disc with the two word ending options on either side.  You can glue craft paper and colorful letters onto wooden discs, or glue two, thick, round pieces of craft paper together and laminate.

Instruction:

  • Teach the students the spelling rule:  TCH is usually used after a short vowel sound, and CH comes after a consonant or long vowel sound.
  • Teach the students the spelling rule:  DGE is usually used after a short vowel sound, and GE comes after a consonant or long vowel sound.
  • Teach the students the spelling rule:  CK is usually used after a short vowel sound, and K comes after a consonant or long vowel sound.

How to play:

  • At the beginning of each turn, the player spins the round disc with the word endings on them.  Hold the disc with one finger as illustrated and flick the edge with another finger.   
  • When the disc falls to the table, select a card with the word beginning.
  • Put the word beginning and word ending together to see if it forms a word with the correct spelling.  
  • If it does, the player gets to keep the card.  If not, the card is returned to the bottom of the stack. 
  • The winner is the first player to collect 10 cards.
If you would like to learn about some of my other popular reading games, go to: http://goodsensorylearning.com/reading-games.html  There, you can even download another fun, free game for learning the short vowels! 
I hope you enjoy this game.  I would love to hear you thoughts.
Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.com  www.dyslexiamaterials.com and  www.learningtolearn.biz 

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Language Arts Letter Cubes: Fun Literacy Center Freebie

I love to use foam blocks for all sorts of language arts fun. Most recently, I created a game that my students adore. Here are the steps so you can create it too.

1) You can purchase colorful foam cubes on Amazon for a very reasonable price.  I included a link at the bottom of the post.

2) Select 12 cubes and with a permanent marker add the vowels and consonants as suggested in the table below.

3) Assign the point value on the bottom right hand corner.  This will also help the players to orient the letters.  For example, the letter M will look like the letter W when it is upside-down but as long as the number indicating the point value is in the bottom right hand corner, players can recognize that they need to rotate the letter to the proper orientation.  Also, using capital letters helps with letter confusion.

4) Other items needed to play:  

  • a timer 
  • a set of 12 colored cubes with the letters and point values for each player.

5) How to Play:  

  • Each player rolls a set of 12 colored cubes onto his or her playing area (players can not change the orientation of the cubes but must use the letters rolled).  
  • Set and begin the timer for 2-5 minutes.  You can decide on the amount of time you prefer.
  • Words must crisscross or join like a scrabble game, and players must try to use as many cubes as they can.  Like Scrabble, proper names and abbreviations can not be used.
  • When the timer goes off, the round ends and players add up their points as indicated on the cubes for each word created.
  • Bonuses are granted as follows:
    • 4 points for a 6 letter word
    • 5 points for a 7 letter word
    • 6 points for a 8 letter word
    • 5 points for using all 12 cubes
  • The winner is the player with the highest score after 5 rounds
If you would like to learn about some of my other popular reading games, go to: http://goodsensorylearning.com/reading-games.html  There, you can even download another fun, free game for learning the short vowels! 
If you like this or have any other ideas, please share your thoughts!!

   Enjoy, Erica

Learning Center Ideas: Free, Fun Phonics Activities

It’s wonderful when giggles of joy and excitement ring
through the classroom as young students eagerly learn the skills needed to be
proficient readers.   Learning
centers or reading centers are often the place where this can happen, but the
trick to tickling your students attention often lies in multisensory,
interactive activities or games. 

Here is a fun phonemic awareness activity I designed that
you can make with old recycled pill or vitamin containers and other common
household goods.  It’s a wonderful
learning center idea that will help students blend phonics sounds into words.

   1)  
Collect and clean old vitamin or pill
containers. I like to use the clear, colorful ones.
   2)  
Decide upon the playing pieces.  I use a 1 inch hole puncher with thick
cardstock, large lima beans, or wooden craft discs. 
   3)  
Place consonants, blends, digraphs, word endings
or more onto both sides of the playing pieces.  I like to color code the pieces to match the color of the
container so that clean up is quick and easy.
   4)  
Label the containers as illustrated or as you
like.
     How to play (2-4
players):
The object of the game is for players to select “a pill”
from each container and try to make a word by blending the sounds.  If a player can make one word or more,
they write down the biggest word on a score sheet and collect one point for
every letter used in their word. 
After each round, the playing pieces are returned to the appropriate
container.  Players shake the
bottles and then select new pieces.  After ten rounds, the winner is the player with the highest
score. 

If you like this game, you will love my newest Reading Games 2 publication.  Come check it out! There, you can also download a full, freebie sample board game! http://goodsensorylearning.com/reading-games.html

Cheers, Erica

Motivating Strategies for Reluctant Readers

I just wrote a blog that offers strategies that motivate reluctant readers.  Come check it out on my new community blog (Westchester Professionals for Community Empowerment) that offers free advice from the top professionals in Westchester, New York.  CLICK HERE

Cheers, Erica

5 Fun Ways to Teach the Vowel Combinations or Vowel Teams


   1)  
Place the vowel combinations on a balloon with a
permanent marker, or have the students do it themselves.  Pass the balloon from student to
student.  They will then say the
first vowel combination they see and then they share the sound that it
makes.  In a more advanced version,
they can share a word that uses that vowel combination.
   2)  
If you are looking for something more durable
than a balloon, you can purchase playground balls and write the vowel
combinations on them.
   3)  
Use old scrabble tiles.  Place two tiles together to make a
vowel combination and then let the students come up with as many words as they can
by adding additional tiles.  Write
all the words down that are created into a list for all the students to see.  For added fun, they can add up all the
numbers on the tiles to gain points. 
   4)  
If you don’t have scrabble tiles, you can purchase
small kitchen or bathroom tiles and write the letters on them with permanent
markers.  If you get the small,
rectangular tiles, they can fit both vowel team letters on one tile.
   5)  
Give the students a newspaper or magazine
article and a highlighter.  Have
them highlight all the vowel combinations they can find.  Then have them write all the words and
as a group read the words aloud and discuss what sound the vowel combination
makes in each word.
If you are looking for more fun ways to teach the vowel
combinations.  Come check out my
downloadable workbook, Vowel Combinations Made Easy.  You can even get a free sampling of the publication!  Click Here 
Cheers, Erica

Reading Assessment for Orton Gillingham and Phonics Based Reading Programs

I just wanted to announce my newest publication: Good
Sensory Learning Reading Assessment
.  It was created for teachers, reading
specialists, learning specialists and parents who need a simple but comprehensive reading evaluation instrument that can direct instruction
so specific reading needs can be targeted. 
 It works seamlessly with any phonics or Orton-Gillingham based reading program.   Moreover, the evaluation can
also be utilized post remedial intervention to define cognitive growth as well
as areas that require continued attention and support. Twenty three, quick subtests are administered to a single student, and the test can be administered in one or more sitting(s). 

If you are interested in seeing a free, full length preview.  Feel free to click on the following link, where you can download it for free, and if you like it, you can purchase the item too.
Cheers, 

 

Help for Struggling Readers

Many
students struggle with the cognitive skills needed to be good readers. 
With weak abilities in the areas of visualization, tracking, visual processing,
auditory processing and/or memory, the practice of reading can soon become,
frustrating, tiresome and laborious.  When kids pair negative associations
and feelings with books, they may avoid picking up a book
altogether.   For the same reason that you would not build a sky
scraper on a weak foundation, for these kids, it is important to strengthen the
individual areas of cognition first.   Many of these skills can be
developed through game like activities that kids enjoy.    Here
are a few ideas that you might like to try:
1)        When reading to your children have fun sharing your visualizations
with one another by imagining what the settings and characters look like. 
You can even encourage your children to come up with their own illustrations
for stories.   
2)        Pull out a newspaper and encourage your child to find a specific
word, such as the word the, on the page.  Encourage them to follow the words
from left to right so that they are strengthening their tracking skills.  They can use their finger, a thin
strip of paper or even a highlighter to keep their place.
3)        Play games such as the memory game – where students flip cards to
find pairs, or get a free app like the old game Simon which strengthens visual
and auditory memory.

In addition, I also offer four
publications that might be helpful.  I have two visualization training
PowerPoints, and I also have two workbooks titled Reversing Reversals and Reversing
Reversals 2
 that work on
these foundational skills.  Click on the images below to learn more and
download a free image of the 10 visualization skills as well as free samplings of both of my workbooks. 

Cheers, Erica

Alphabet Cookies – Practical and Delicious

Now you can take your favorite cookie recipe and cut the dough into the alphabet!  You can use it for learning the letters, spelling names, and even making words and sentences.  If you don’t want to use them for cookies, you could use it to cut up a pan of jello!  Finally, if you want to make it into something that is not edible, you could use the cutters to make the letters out of clay or play-dough   See below for a link where you can buy them!

Have fun!

Amazon.com Widgets