5 Strategies that Make Learning the Alphabet a lot of Fun

Learning the letters can be a lot of fun! Here are 5 Strategies that your children will be sure to love.  

1) Fill a tray with a light coating of sand, ground
coffee, flour, or rice.  Make sure
that the tray is a contrasting color so that when the kids make the letters,
they can see the surface of the tray underneath.
2) Form the individual letters out of food that
starts with that letter.  For
example, make the letter B out of sliced bananas, carve the letter O in the
rind of an orange, or make the letter M out of mustard.
3) Have the children find the letters in the
environment.  For example, they
might see that two intersecting branches make the letter T, a portion of a
ladder makes the letter H, or an Allen wrench or hex key makes the letter L.
4) Boil spaghetti and cool it.  While it is still pliable let the
children form the different letters. 
Then let the letters dry and paint them. 
5) Take pictures of the letters that the children
made in the prior activities. 
Print them out and let them spell simple words with the letters or even make
their own name.

If you try these activities, I’d love to hear your thoughts!  

Inference Activities Ideas, Freebie and Workbook Link

Inferences are often tricky to teach and challenging for
students to learn.  They are
abstract notions or concepts that are implied through language or images.  Therefore, concrete ways of learning
have to be placed aside and students have to learn to uncover hidden
messages.  Personally, I like to
use advertisements for my lessons.
Here are a number of strategies that can help you to teach
this skill:
Magazine advertisements often have hidden
messages to help entice buyers. 
Look at magazine ads and discuss the inferences.  Consider the colors, backgrounds,
expressions, layouts and more.
Likewise, billboards offer inferences.   Look at all the details in the
image and discuss what the billboards are trying to sell and what in the images
makes you want to buy that product. 
Similarly, television commercials can offer some
wonderful opportunities for students to practice their inference skills.  Again, ask yourself what they are
wanting you to buy and what strategies they use to tempt possible customers.
If you would like to purchase a product that has already
compiled images for you as well as other inference activities and a game, you
can come learn more about my product, Making Inferences: The Fun and Easy
Way.  You can even download a
freebie sampling of the activities!

Compound Word Game, Making Connections, Also Develops Critical Reasoning, Mental Flexibility and Sequencing Skills

Developing language processing skills, critical thinking, mental flexibility, verbal reasoning and sequential processing abilities, is foundational in any elementary education.  What’s more, these lessons need to make the learning process engaging and fun.  I created Making Connections Compound Word Games to address these areas.  Learning specialists, homeschoolers, teachers and parents can now help students develop these skills!  Your students will love these brain teasers!  They can be quite challenging, so this product will offer a lot of fun for students of all ages.  I now even offer a free sampling, so come download it today!


Freebie Game for any Orton Gillingham or Phonics Based Reading Program

Come get a free copy!!  Kids don’t have to learn and practice new knowledge by plugging through long lists of words or completing worksheets.  I am a firm believer that the repetition they need can be achieved through fun and engaging games!  Puppy Party is one of my reading games that makes my students squeal with delight.  Kids travel around the game board collecting puppies while learning the short vowel  sounds.  The winner is the player with the most puppies. It is great for small groups, learning centers, or individual remediation.  It also works seamlessly with any phonics or Orton Gillingham based reading program.  

You can get a free copy of Puppy Party and learn about my other fun reading games by clicking here:

This colorful Thanksgiving digital 

download – PDF offers enjoyable and

engaging printable activities that 

strengthen language processing skills 

such as listening, following written/oral 

directions, understanding 

homework/test questions and 

interpreting multiple choice items. 

Included in this publication are three 

activities that will also help your 

students practice linguistic cues and 

develop spatial, sequential, attentional and executive 

functioning skills.  You can come get a free sampling or

purchase this as well as other great

Following Directions activities by clicking on the image or the

following link.

Fun Halloween Activity that Strengthens Language Skills

Weaknesses in language processing can be difficult to remediate, and finding fun activities that can help strengthen this cognitive processing area is a further challenge.  I designed my Following Directions – The Fun and Easy Way series to offer activities that help students develop listening skills, attention to detail, vocabulary, mental flexibility, spatial skills, and more.  They were initially created for my own private practice, and now they are available to the public.  Each page is filled with colorful images and students get to draw, complete mazes and work through process of elimination exercises that are fun and engaging.  For added enjoyment, I am now creating holiday exercises that can be used throughout the school year.  My latest download offers three Halloween handouts.  Come view all of the activities by clicking on the image and even download a free sampling.

All the best, Dr. Erica  Warren

Help for Struggling Readers: Creating Your Own Color Overlays

You can create
your own overlays by using whole sheets or cutting strips of transparent,
colored report covers, dividers or overhead projector film. 

Step one: Buy a
variety of colorful transparent sheets. 
You can use –
  • color,
    transparency film
  • color, transparent
    report covers (plastic)
  • color, transparent
    dividers (plastic)
All of these options can be found at office supply stores.
Step two:  Everyone is different.  Let your students try out the different
colors and see which one they like the best.
Step three:  For some students, keep whole sheets so
that students have the option of changing the background color of the entire
page of text.  Other students might
like a thin strip of color, as it can help with tracking from one line to the
next.  I make them a variety of
lengths and widths, and often let students decide for themselves.  Note: The strips also make wonderful
book marks. 
Step four
(optional):  Place a plain sticker
on the end of
the overlay strip or the bottom of a whole sheet so that 
can write their name on it. 
Students can also pick out a sticker of an image too.  Just make sure to keep all stickers on
one end of the color overlay strip or the bottom of the overlay page.
Step five (optional): For those students that get overwhelmed by to many words on a page,
you can place duct tape around the edge of the overlay to block out competing
lines of text. 
At the end of the
activity, even if a few of your students don’t find color overlays helpful,
they will still have a useful book mark.  

For more great reading remediation ideas, check out my reading games!  You can even get a free sample game!! 


How Can Books on Tape Improve Reading Speed and Reading Comprehension?

Listening to books on tape or to someone reading aloud can
improve reading comprehension because the brain does not have to work on
decoding the words but can simply focus on the content.  But merely laying back and passively
listening is not always the best approach, because it is easy for personal
thoughts to interrupt the text content. 
Therefore, for this mode of learning to be most effective, it is best
for the listener to do one of two things:

 Scan the text:
Scanning the text while listening will not only help maintain attention, but it
will assist with sight word recognition. 
Additionally, students that decode words one letter at a time while
reading will begin to see whole words and phrases.  Before long, these skills will apply when the student reads
independently, and whole words recognition and reading speed will improve.
Visualize the content:  Picturing the characters, the setting
and the plot helps to sustain attention, improve comprehension and it also
makes the text more memorable.  With
practice, many students report that they are able to create a mental movie in
their mind and that reading becomes far more enjoyable. 
There are a number of places
online that offer books on tape.
1) Learning Ally: 
2) Audio Books for Free:   
3) LibriVox:
If you would like to help students develop their visualization
abilities, I have a free image that
reviews the 10 visualization skills. 
I also offer two PowerPoint presentations that teach the 10 skills
needed to visualize.  If interested
go to:

The Ten Visualization Skills Needed to Improve Reading, Writing and Learning

Visualization is an important skill to master as it can lead to improved attention and a better memory. In fact, mental images can be used as a secret weapon to tackle the encoding of new material. It can be used when reading. Accessing your mind’s eye can make the scenery, characters and plot of a book come alive in your imagination. Also, it can be used for writing. Picturing a story before you write it can improve descriptive writing and it will also make the writing process a lot more fun. Finally, visualization can assist when listening to new information. Taking the time to make mental images when listening to a lecture can help you to sustain attention and can make the material far more memorable. So how can you improve your ability to visualize?

There are ten visualization skills that need to be addressed.

When making visualizations in your mind’s eye, try to develop each of the ten areas by asking yourself questions like: What are all the colors? How big are all the objects? Are their any important shapes? How many objects are there all together? What is the mood? From what perspective am I viewing my visualization? What is the background? What direction are the objects facing? Is there any movement in my visualizations? Are their other senses I could use to enhance my visualizations – such as sound, taste and touch?

These are a lot of skills to develop, but with the right exercises your visualization skills can improve dramatically. Do you teach the visualization skills in your class?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

For a free copy of the Ten Visualization Skills as well as Power Points lessons  CLICK HERE

Mindful, Fun, Multisensory Materials for Learning the Vowel Combinations or Vowel Teams

One of the most difficult reading concepts to learn in the English language is the vowel combinations or vowel teams.  Well, not anymore.  I have made the process fun, memorable and multisensory with my workbook entitled Vowel Combinations Made Easy.  It was created for my own students and I have found it to be extremely successful.  Students learn their vowel combinations by finding them hidden in images, coloring, doing mazes and playing card games.  What’s more, I am now offering a free sampling of my workbook, so you can have the opportunity to see some of the activities.  

If you are interested in getting the free sample pages and activities CLICK HERE
If you are interested in the full digital version CLICK HERE
If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the workbook CLICK HERE