Blends and Blending

Two (or more) consonants may blend together with each sound heard in the blend.

Blends are often introduced after learning about short vowels, so it’s a good idea to begin practicing with blends that have short vowels. Blends with other vowel patterns can be included after they have been learned. Blending the sounds of letters from left to right is an important skill for beginning readers. As other vowel patterns are introduced, scan for phonics patterns in words to decode them.

WATCH Blends (3:20) 2 Letters that work together from Jack Hartmann (3:32) Kids vs Phonics Blends (6:17)

Blends picture sorts from flyingintolearning.com. (More Blends picture sorts from fairypoppins for playdoughtoplato.com and color picture cards from testyyettrying)

Sort onto a B&W blends chart from thisreadingmama (or color blends chart from maketaketeach), S blends ice cream activity at kizclub.com

Blends flip books with pictures and words from phonics-teaching.com

READ Blend sentences at stickyball.net

PLAY Printable Letter Blends puzzle from Learning 4 Kids (11 pages, some color), Go Fish blends game from Adrian Bruce

Great Green Grapes Blend Board Game at TeachersPayTeachers

PLAY Online games: Fuzz Bugs Farm from abcya (pc only), blending bearending blends from kizphonics. Warehouse gameBowling gameSorting Office, and Final Blends Honey Maze from literactive. L Blends & s Blends at yourchildlearns. Blends at galacticphonics, Blends at softschools.com. Blends at education.com with sign-in, Consonant Blends at SadlierConnect (pc only). Advanced Blends: Rocketship Reader at roomrecess.com

More Resources at the Blends and Blending board at Pinterest.

Posted in phonics

The 44 Sounds of English

One of the reasons that English is challenging to learn to read is that 26 letters make 44 sounds, called phonemes! This means that sometimes letters combine to make sounds. Phonograms are the written representation of a sound, also known as graphemes, and there are 72 phonograms.

WATCH What is a Phonogram? from Raising Robust Readers, and 72 Phonograms from printandpractice.com, a website that also provides printable flashcards. An online chart with audio & video is available from thelogicofenglish, and a free app from allaboutlearningpress. The Phonogram Chart below is available free from the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

PhonogramChart

There are also lots of exceptions, so the “rules” are more like guidelines. With a few exceptions, the 21 consonants make one sound, so an alphabet chart represents a lot of them. Things begin to get interesting with the vowels, which can be short, or long, or make new sounds.

The first focus in learning to read is on the short vowels. Long vowels say the letter name, while short vowels say the sound. Short vowels are found in words with closed syllables, like those formed by a consonant-vowel-consonant known as CVC words (as in cat and dog).

Next, learn about silent e; an e at the end of a word (except two e’s are like twins that often like to stick together) changes the vowel to the long sound.

Continue with Bossy R: an r after each vowel changes the sound it makes.

Two letters can work together. Sometimes they make new sounds, like the consonant digraphs CH, SH, TH, WH & NG. (PH can make the /f/ sound)

Vowels can also work together; some can make new sounds, and some (often) make a long vowel sound. Diphthongs are (mostly) vowels that work together to make (mostly) new sounds.

One sound can be represented in different ways. Many of the diphthongs are like this: OU & OW make the same sound (although OW can also make a long O sound), as do OI & OY. AU & AW make the same sound as a short O.

One letter or set of letters can make more than one sound. OO & OO is just one example!

Once the diphthong patterns are learned, many of the remaining vowel teams are often (but not always) long.

2 letters that work together, some vowels work as a team. 2 letters can work together, and the first one likes to speak. They might be long (except the diphthongs!), here are some you may have seen.

This part of the chart includes Final Y, which can sometimes be a vowel that makes the long I sound, and sometimes the long E sound. Once again, one sound can be represented in different ways.

When all of these phonics patterns are put together, the result is a one page vowel chart that represents many of the vowel sounds.

Download the Grocery Store Vowel Patterns Chart for free at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. It is part of a Phonics Toolkit you might like too! You can also find free printable bookmarks and phonics pattern charts at this post about a Phonics Kit. Credits: Some artwork copyrighted by Mark A Hicks, illustrator, www.MARKiX.net. Used with permission. Another resource with the 44 sounds ( pdf) is available at uldforparents.com.

Grocery Store Vowel Chart

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Posted in phonics

GREAT Skills

A gap commonly occurs when employers fail to find employees with the soft skills they are looking for in the workforce. Why? because the skills that are most in demand in the workplace are not often taught. We can change this! The GREAT skills I talk about are:

  • Goal Setting
  • Relationships
  • Emotions
  • A+ Communication
  • Time Management

And I’ll tell you a secret. When you learn to follow the practices that research has shown will increase happiness and well-being, you also learn these great skills. Start with the building blocks of positive shift which spell BE MEASURING, and along the way you unlock potential and develop strengths to open doors to opportunity.

GREAT Skills Trading Cards:

Posted in work skills

Cleaning Checklist

Staying on top of cleaning chores can be quite a challenge. Finally I have a cleaning checklist that works for me. Inspired by this one from clean mama, this very simple routine (just the way I like it!) is customized the way that I wanted. Without further ado, here it is.

This image shows an example of how it works. Every day there are daily tasks, plus one weekly task to do. In the example, the first two weeks of the month of January have been completed, with daily tasks checked off. The first week the office was cleaned, and the second week, the guest room was cleaned. By writing the letter for the weekly task completed in the appropriate column, it is easy to see at a glance what was done when, and what will be next. For the other rooms Tuesday through Friday, ideally all of the tasks are completed, but the letters also work well with the monthly tasks.Print the cleaning checklist (pdf) each month and you are ready to roll. I put mine in a Scotch display pocket and hung it with a magnetic clip on the refrigerator. Progress can be tracked with a dry erase marker. I love the way that tasks are spread out…not so overwhelming!

If you like this, you might like to check out resources at the Home Helper Toolkit and my Household Binder Notebook board at Pinterest.

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Posted in Ideas That Work

Development Plans Are Not Just for Work

YearView

While Performance Plans for work may be called a Personal Development Plan, work is only one small part of personal development. To make a plan for Personal Development, consider many life areas that can be improved.

While going through some files, I found some forms from the Human Resources at the University of New Mexico. At this URL: https://hr.unm.edu/performance-evaluation there is a link to a 3 page fillable document called a Performance Evaluation and Planning (PEP) Form that includes goals. Another fillable document at this website is great for goal setting. While unable to find a link to it, the form can be found by Googling “Chart 1 developing SMART goals and duties.”

Here’s the link to it:  Developing SMART Goals and Duties – UNM HR and here is what it looks like.

SMARTGoals

I couldn’t resist tweaking it a bit, and made two versions. The first one is for setting Work Goals

DevelopmentPlanWork

The other version is for Personal goals.

PersonalDevelopmentPlan

1. Review the value statement of what you do and why.

2. Do a SWOT analysis and fill out a Goal Shift Chart to identify focus areas. The Energy Level Gauge is a more detailed method.

3. Choose goals that will add the most value. Identify the sweet spot.

4. Decide how to develop in the focus area. There are lots of ideas for goals at the Year of Personal Development challenge and at Goal Plans.

5. Make the goal SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based.

6. For each goal, fill in: Resources needed. What will be done. How it will be done. Why it is important. When it will be done.

7. Write action steps and schedule them.

See also Set Work Goals and Development Plan.

Posted in goals, personal development, work skills

The ABCs of Games For Reading

The ABCs of Games for Reading

ABCgames

Active, Board, & Card Games

When it comes to hands-on games to practice reading skills, a good mix includes Active Games, Board Games, and Card Games. (For free online games for phonics, check out this Symbaloo.) This post contains ideas for each kind of hands-on game. For more ideas, check out the Phonics Kit post.

Alphabet

Phonemic Awareness

Short Vowels (CVC words)

Word Families

Blends

  • A. Blend target shoot. Write two different blends with dry erase marker on Solo plastic plates. Mix pictures for the two blends (from flyingintolearning below) to draw and throw a suction cup ball to hit the correct target. 
  • B. Picture blend (flyingintolearning) match onto chart (thisreadingmama) or Great Green Grapes Blend Board Game
  • C. Initial Blends go fish (Adrian Bruce)

Silent e

Bossy R

Digraphs -H bros

Diphthongs (vowel teams that make new sounds)

Vowel Teams that are often long

  • A. Pick & Toss – Cut 3 equal size holes in a large box or trifold presentation board. Label the holes AI, EA, & OA. Print Marshmallow Match from thebubblegumtree & cut out the word cards. Take turns drawing a card & tossing a ball or beanbag through the correct hole. 1st one to match & toss all three targets wins.
  • B. Make the Cake (Long A-Silent e & vowel teams), Nice Dice Vowel Teams, AI/AY Board game or the Phonics Patterns Board Game Set (dailyplanit.com)
  • C. Vowel Pattern Yahtzee

Sight Words

SHORT, LONG, or BOSSY R

After learning about Silent e and Bossy R, click on the wheel below to practice the patterns! Make three columns on the top of a page, with the headings: SHORT, LONG, or BOSSY R. Take turns spinning the wheel to choose a column, then roll dice to choose a word. See who can make the longest list of words in 5 minutes.

 

ShortLongBossyR

You can also download a worksheet. It can be printed on cardstock and the words cut apart for a word sort.

Get many of the board games from the Daily PlanIt in one bargain kit, plus 24 worksheets, 11 word sorts, and more. Learn more about the Phonics Toolkit available at Teachers Pay Teachers and get your copy today!

 

Posted in phonics

Incentives for Reading

The statistics below paint a graphic picture of the importance of literacy.

Two thirds of students who can’t read proficiently by the end of 4th grade end up in jail or on welfare…and 37% of fourth graders cannot read at the basic level.

Statistics from: Begin to Read Literacy Statistics & Pennsylvania Department of Education. Read more on this Pivot Point at the Huffington Post.

Why reading 20 minutes a day is important

Students who read 20 minutes a day from Kindergarten through 6th grade score in the 90th percentile on tests, as the graphic below from edudemic illustrates.

Basically, reading makes you a Smartie!

There are many more benefits of reading too: It’s good for your brain, reduces stress, income is higher, and you even live longer. “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry Truman. “5 ways reading makes you a better leader” at michaelhyatt.com

The value of incentives and rewards for reading (or anything) can be debated. However, providing feedback on progress and explaining why reading is important can be beneficial. Here are some ideas for a simple incentive program to encourage reading and playing phonics games to increase literacy skills.

DOWNLOAD Bookmarks

READ bookmarks: each day that you read 20 minutes, color or punch a star on the READ bookmark. 5 stars = 1 gold (chocolate or token) coin. 1 full bookmark (4 gold coins – 20 days of 20 minutes of reading) = 1 book buck.

PLAY bookmarks to earn Extra Credit: Each day that you play a phonics game, color or punch a star on the PLAY bookmark. 1 full bookmark (20 stars/20 days) = 1 gold (chocolate or token) coin.

Please note that many online phonics games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download the Puffin browser. Free online phonics games are collected in one place here at Symbaloo.

Bookbucks from imaginationsoup.net.

A bulletin board like this one with student names and how many bookbucks have been earned might encourage more reading too. Another option is a thermometer chart to track class progress posting the total number of minutes read within a time period. Set a goal and have a class party when it is reached.

How about modifying this idea from Crayons & Cuties in Kindergarten to celebrate learning 100 sight words?

Candy Rewards that Teach!

CandyRewards

Post a list of prizes and how many Book Bucks they cost. Here are some ideas for prizes:

  • Non-candy: READ Pencils, READ bracelets, Notepads, Magnetic bookmarks, Alphabetimals coloring book, Target bargains like these Dr. Seuss bags, Library card socks…more ideas are at my Library & Books Pinterest Board.
  • Super Reader – anything with a Superman theme: can coosies, socks, etc.
  • Books: Feed Me Words, books by Brian P Cleary, or any you choose.
  • Literacy Games for about $15: Boggle Jr, Word Spin, Bananagrams

The statistics show that improved literacy skills lead to a better life. Learn more about how to create a phonics kit for teaching reading.

 

Posted in phonics
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