Word Families

This is one section of a Phonics Kit that you can create. Many of the resources are provided for personal or classroom use. See the full post for more resources!

Word families are words that have the same endings, and therefore rhyme.

WATCH word families by Little Fox

Word Family Sliders from Make, Take & Teach

Word Family Bookmarks from 3dinosaurs

Word Family Picture sorts from flyingintolearning.com

Word Family Cards from margedteachingposters 22 cards, 6 pages, some color

Word Family Ladders from confessionsofahomeschooler, 22 pages, both long & short, some color

Get a clue with word family pictures from the measured mom A E I O U

For even more resources, check out my reading Pinterest board.

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Posted in phonics

Short Vowels

This is one section of a Phonics Kit that you can create. Many of the resources are provided for personal or classroom use. See the full post for more resources!

Words that have a Consonant Vowel Consonant pattern (CVC words) often have the short vowel sound.

Note that the letter A can make a short O sound sometimes. (ball, watch, quality)

short vowels say the sound

WATCH Long & Short Vowels (1:55)

Short & Long Vowel Chart from First Grade Wow

Word Cards from homeeducationresources.com – 40 small cards on 2 pages with CVC words & pictures, sort by vowel sound

CVC Flashcards from flashcardfox – 75 cards with color pictures & words

Short Vowel Words & Pictures from 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Short & Long Pictures & Words (pdf – source unknown)

Short I & E picture sort from tchrgrl

CVC Word Machine from homemade-preschool.com

READ short vowel sentences from stickyball.net

READ Books: “Gran on a Fan” by Kevin Bolger, “The Bug in the Jug Wants a Hug” by Brian P Cleary

PLAY 123 Flip It game from thisreadingmama, short vowel Change game from Adrian Bruce

PLAY Online Games: Jungle Jumble from pbskids.org & CVC words at funfonix.com, CVC words at ictgames.com & put it on the shelf at kidzpage.com

For even more resources, check out my reading Pinterest board.

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English is Weird

This is one section of a Phonics Kit that you can create. Many of the resources are provided by the websites below for personal or classroom use. See the full Phonics Kit post for more resources!

English is weird, oh yes, it is! There are vowels that can be spelled in lots of different ways, consonants that can have different sounds, and lots of exceptions. The rules are more like guidelines that give us a clue.

Slideshare Credits

Charts from Boostforreaders.com
Short/Long Chart: First Grade Wow
Bossy R: carlscorner.us.com
Defender D & FLOSS Rule: maketaketeach.com
Schwa: http://www.logicofenglish.com
Synonym/Antonyms: vocabularypage.com
Homograph/Homophones: heerenshappenings2.blogspot.com

Strategies for Reading


Be Aware of Schwa

Schwa is a light “uh” sound that can be made by any vowel. It is the most common sound in the English language.

WATCH Schwa (2:12)

Sheriff Schwa Worksheet from teachchildrenesl.com

PLAY Online Game: Treasure Behind the Mask at Sadlier-Oxford

Sight Words

Phonics guidelines can often be helpful, but there are some words that are not easily decodable.

Sight words are frequently found in written text, and many are not decodable with phonics guidelines

WATCH 100 Sight Words (12:09)

Fry Sight Word lists from Utah Education Network (create printable lists with printfriendly.com)

Dolch Sight Word lists & punch cards from First Grade Parade

Dolch Sight Word lists from K5stars

Dolch Portable Word Wall from First Grade is a Hoot

1st 75 Dolch Words to print on address labels from Make, Take, Teach

Printable Sight Word flashcards from sightwords.com

Illustrated Sight Word cards from Research Parent

READ Phrases with Fry Instant Words from http://www.uen.org, Fry Fluency Sentences from Curriculum Corner, Sight Word Sentences (Dolch) from Listen Write & Read (pdf)

PLAY Printable: Roll a (sometimes silly) Sight Word Sentence from the dailyplanit, Gone Fishing editable Sight Words from thisreadingmama, Sight Word Scrabble from craftnectar. (The last two may not fit easily in the portable Phonics Kit, but look fun!)

PLAY Online Practice with audio: Sight Words Audible at mrnussbaum, Online Games at Education.com

For even more resources, check out my reading board at Pinterest.



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Posted in phonics

Phonics Kit

This is a kit for tutoring reading with some great resources for learning phonics skills. Many of these are provided free for personal or classroom use by the websites in the links. Everything you need to make your own kit with lots of hands-on activities is here. When I haven’t been able to find a resource online, in some cases I have created my own. Links for these are found at the end of this post, and I plan to add more soon. This Phonics Kit is designed to be as portable and as inexpensive to create as possible. A magnet board and magnetic letters are a great addition for practicing words. Each post below includes videos, printable games, and online games to learn the concept as well.


  • Plastic pronged folders with pockets. You can find these about anywhere for around .50 each.
  • Sheet protectors
  • Card stock for printing some of the activities
  • Plastic zip-lock bags from the hobby area, 2″x3″…these are great for holding the sort cards. I simply used a hole punch and added them onto the prongs of the folders.
  • Sterlite plastic file bin & hanging folders

The materials are designed to practice spotting different patterns. There are lots of sorts to do, games to play, and things to read. For the sorts, I used pockets made from Reese’s Pieces packages, and attached name tag holders. Here are some printable business cards for vowel sorts. Simply change the cards in the name tag holders, to use for another sort. It was such a sacrifice to eat all that candy, but anything for the cause of literacy! The 10.5 oz. packages fold flat for transporting, but stand up for the sorts. I taped a file cabinet graphic on the front of mine.

Follow the Sequence for teaching reading from First Grade Garden

Create a folder for each of the topics below:

Phonics Basics (resources for this below, they can go into a student folder as well as in front of the file box)

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness


Short Vowels

Word Families

Long Vowels – Silent e

Vowel Teams

Vowel Teams with (mostly) new sounds – Diphthongs

Bossy R

H Brothers – Digraphs

Syllables : Open & Closed |Consonant -le

English is Weird: Schwa & Sight Words

More Than One Sound – Consonants, Tricky Y, and Vowels


26 letters amaze and astound! They make 44 sounds when they move around!

A Chart of the 44 sounds on one page with pictures from uldforparents.com. (pdf)

Vowel patterns with pictures on one page from thisreadingmama.

Phonics Cue Card from maketaketeach

Short and Long Vowel Chart from First Grade Wow

ABCs to Color on one page from colorthealphabet, Letters to Color including pictures that start with the letter from sheknows

A simple one page alphabet from making words from Teacher Bits and Bobs



Bookmark Set Freebie – These bookmarks include Write the Pattern activities for: Bossy R, Digraphs, Long Vowel Patterns, Consonant -le Patterns, and F Patterns.

printable business cards for vowel sorts

At Teachers Pay Teachers:

Digraph Word Sort and story

Tricky Y Sort and story

For even more resources, check out my reading board on Pinterest.


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Simply Dinner: The Game Plan

SimplyDinnerEbookDo you dread the question, “What’s for dinner?” Deciding what to cook is the hardest part. Get your copy of Simply Dinner: The Game Plan, an eCookbook that will take the pain out of meal planning and help you get your dinner done. It includes 28 easy, basic entree recipes designed for a low-carbohydrate diet using ordinary ingredients. (please note this is not a vegetarian cookbook.) Plus 12 more recipes for vegetables, dessert, & misc., for a total of 40 recipes. Check out the list of recipes included. The recipes pair perfectly with a simple system for choosing meals.

But that’s not all! Solve the dinner dilemma and end dinner drudgery with: a month of menus, a blank recipe card template, a low-carbohydrate grocery list, a contact grill chart and a list of foods with 15 grams of carbohydrate. Easily add your own recipes and customize for what works for you. Just print to keep in a binder with tabs, or print recipes on card stock and cut out to use in a 3 x 5 card file. A perfect gift for: graduates, new couples, single people, or anyone trying to get dinner done!


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Posted in Books, Ideas That Work

Branding Toolkit

BRAND: a promise to deliver benefits that are different from the competition.

When you know your brand, you will know how to plan.

The tools in this kit are geared toward developing a personal brand, but many can also help for business branding. A few that are for business branding can be adapted for a personal brand.


Visual inspired by creativesandbusiness.com


What are my strengths? What needs to be done to develop strengths? Who is the competition? What makes me unique and different?
What problem do you always want to solve? What are your top values? What is your purpose? What will the world look like in the future if you solve the problem?
What do you do? How do you solve the problem that you are always chasing? Which channels will be most effective at reaching your target audience and getting your message across? How can you connect to a social cause you believe in?
Benefits | Measures: Balanced Scorecard, Key Performance Indicators (KPI), Dashboard, Personal Annual Metrics, Personal Development Plan | Target Audience: Personas, demographics | Results
What do you need to measure to know when you are reaching your goals? What are the benefits of what you do? Who are you trying to reach with your message?
Brand, elevator speech | Appeal to emotions, storytelling | User Experience | Design/appearance
How can you most effectively communicate your message verbally and in print? How do you want people to feel when they interact with you? Are people delighted by their interactions with you? Do you provide value? Do you respond promptly? Do your social media pages and promotional pieces clearly communicate your message?
PinterestLogo Branding board at Pinterest
Tools at this List.ly list including Your Personal Brand from PWC.
Download a pdf of the Strategic Planning Process
Posted in Ideas That Work

Smart Skills Trading Cards: Productivity

GREAT Skills are Smart!

This Trading Card Set features information on Productivity, and includes:

  • David Allen, author of “Getting Things Done” (the system)
  • Stephen R Covey, author of “First Things First” and “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” (the focus)
  • Tony Schwartz, author of “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working.” (the routine)
  • Kerry Gleason, author of “The Personal Efficiency Program.” (the plan)
  • Vishen Lakhiani, author of “The Code of the Extraordinary Mind.” (the goal)

Each of the GREAT Skills Trading Card sets cover skills you might not have learned in school (and probably wish you had). Download this set at Slideshare.net to learn about each skill.

There are four important elements of productivity: The System, The Routine, The Focus, and The Plan. The first four authors each contribute to understanding the four elements, and Vishen Lakhiani provides an understanding of End vs Means goals.

For more information about productivity, check out Time Management 101, and learn with the study of productivity, videos and courses. You might also like to see my favorite books about productivity, the Daily PlanIt Productivity Pinterest board, and The Keep It Super Simple System.

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Posted in goals, productivity

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