Mouse Paint, Go Away Big Green Monster Literacy

The “Sight Words Alphabet Program” was revised last summer.  All learning outcomes are based on related literature selections.  In this mini-unit the literature selections “Mouse Paint, Go Away Big Green Monster and The Nose Book” are used to successfully introduce key learning outcomes that are outlined below.

Literacy Follow-up

Literacy Follow-up


Shared Reading Follow-Up

The companion emergent reader “Monster Parade” would be used as a follow-up to model the reading process and to introduce the following:


Alphabet Letters:  Mm and Nn


Sight Words:  blue, red, yellow and come


All Pre-primer sight words are introduced within the program.  They are introduced in meaningful context followed-up with interactive games.  In this reader and color words and identifying shapes are the key focus.


Literacy Follow-up Emergent Reader Black and White Version






Alphabet and Rhyming Literacy Center Games and Activities

Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound represented in the picture they landed on.


Draw and Print

Students draw a picture card and print the letter of the focus initial letter sound represented in the picture.


Picture Mnemonic Printing Activity

Students will be involved with focus letter picture mnemonic printing activities.  The students would put a nose on the letter “n” template representing that letter and sound.  They would place a mouse head on the letter “m” as displayed in the photograph below.


Phonemic Awareness, Phonological Awareness and Rhyming Activities

Rhyming, phonemic and phonological awareness activities are always addressed within the units.  This unit includes suggestions and activities in relation to developing these skills.

Literacy Mouse Paint

Literacy Mouse Paint

Sight Word Literacy Center Games and Activities

Spin and Print

Playing partners spin and print the sight word.


Roll and Print

In this game focus sight words are printed on a blank die.  Students roll the die and print the focus sight word on the templates provided.


Roll, Move and Say

Playing partners take turns rolling a die and moving their game players accordingly and must say the word landed on.


Draw and Say

Playing partners take turns drawing a word and saying the word displayed.  They get to keep the card if it is read correctly.

Sight Word Activities

Sight Word Activities


Writing and Simple Follow-Up Crafts

In this craft activity the students would mix paint colors to make a new color using the mouse template below.  This activity would also coincide with your Science outcomes.  The students would use the mouse template displayed below that is provided within.  As a follow-up writing activity the students would draw a monster and describe it as displayed in the photograph below using the template provided.  This activity is a follow-up to reading the book “Go Away, Big Green Monster”.

Craft 1

Craft 2












Where Can I Access These Resources?

You can access the resources from the link below


Mouse Paint, Go Away Green Monster and The Nose Book Activities to Meet Curriculum Outcomes


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Phonics Sounds Ordering Guide

Importance of Phonics

Research has proven that phonics needs to be taught within our classrooms.  There are different approaches to teaching phonics, which are outlined in the link below:


Different Approaches to Teaching Phonics and Findings


Kinderplans Phonics Program

The Kinderplans phonics program uses a combination of these approaches.  The video below provides an informative description of the program.


Ordering of Teaching Phonics

How should different phonics sounds be introduced in terms of ordering?  I have often been perplexed by this myself.  Below is a guide that will provide assistance with planning.  I have also provided visuals that I use when I go beyond teaching just the consonants and vowels.  The Kinderplans alphabet program provides effective visuals for teaching the consonants and vowels.Letter Ff



Single consonants are the easiest to learn.  Consonants can be divided into three categories:


Stretchable Consonants

These are the easiest for the learners to remember and hear.  When you say the letter name you can hear its corresponding sound be stretching the end.

l, f, m, n, r, s, v, z

Plosive ConsonantsLetter Bb

You can hear the sound in these letter names as well but air flow does not allow you to stretch the sounds.

b, d, j, k, p, t and q

Tricky Consonants

The consonants below are trickier because you cannot hear the sound within the letter name.

c, g, h, w, x and y

VowelsLetter Hh

Short vowels are taught first because phonics rules often determine if a long vowel sound is made.


Consonant Digraphs

The next group of sounds to be taught are the vowel digraphs.  These are consonants that come together to make a special sound.    The most common digraphs are outlined below:

sh, ch, wh, th

Consonant Blends

This is when two are more consonants are blended together.  Some common consonant blends are outlined below:sh and magic e

bl, br, cl, cr, dr, fr, tr, fl, gl, gr, pl, pr, sl, sm, sp, st


Final “e”

The next group, are the final “e” words.  This is when the long vowel sound is taught in relation to the “e” being placed in the final position of the word.

make, pine, kite, cone


Vowel Digraphs

This is when two vowels are together in a word.  These together can make a long vowel sound heard by the first vowel, but this does not always occur.

boat, read, pay, feet, Vowel Digraphs


Vowel Diphthong

Is a combination of two adjacent sounds within one syllable.  Examples of vowel diphthongs are outlined below:

out, soil, toy, haul



The letter “r” controls the sounds the vowel is going to make.

teacher, shark, star, birdr-controllers


Fabulous Freebies – Phonics Visuals

In the link below are visuals that I use to teach other phonics sounds once my learners have master the consonant and vowels sounds.


Phonics Visuals


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Phonological Awareness Activities

Significant Correlation Between Learning to Read and Phonological AwarenessPhonological Awareness Pyramid

I am now teaching grade one and have come to realize the importance that phonological awareness plays in relation to children being able to read.  The students who are unable to identify rhyming matching words are the ones struggling with learning to read.  As a result, my focus for the month of January is to have these students exposed to more rhyming read alouds.


What Is Phonological Awareness?

I have posted the video below previously but this is for the benefit of the readers that have not seen it. It does a terrific job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness.

Rhyming Read Aloud

Rhyming Read Aloud


Pre-Reading Skills Video


Focus on Rhyming Activities

The Read Aloud 

For every theme I did, I always tried to ensure that my read alouds included a rhyming book.  If you using the “Alphabet Program” the theme for January is “Ocean”.  I have listed some “Ocean” read alouds that make use of rhyme.  Having our learners listen to rhyme and word play is one of the best methods of exposing them to phonological awareness activities such as rhyming.


1.  Gizmo the Octopus by Mark Hooper

Spinning Rhyming Game

Spinning Rhyming Game

2.  Way Down Deep in the Deep Blue Sea by Jan Peck  ***

3.  Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae

4.  The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson

5.  Ten Little Fish by Audrey Wood

6.  The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen


Spin-A-Rhyme Board Game

I also included phonological awareness activities in my literacy centers.  The game displayed above is one my students really enjoyed. Partner players take a turn spinning a top and must place a bingo chip on the rhyming picture match.  (Example:  the top landed on a picture of a rake and a bingo chip was placed on the picture of a snake).

Rhyming Matching Game

Rhyming Matching Game


Rhyming Matching Board Game 

This is another game I had at my literacy centers. I copied and placed the rhyming pictures on poster board marked off with a grid.  The students drew a card and placed the picture beside the rhyming match. (example:  clown and crown, ball and doll).


Word Work

Each day we print on our erasable whiteboards.  I introduce a word family and have the students only change the initial letter. They learn that this not only changes what the word says but also that all the words rhyme (examples:  cat, bat, mat, sat, etc.)


Rhyming Mini Unit – Special Deal Until End of January!Rhyming Mini Unit

This mini-unit is not offered as an individual purchase but is only available to members that purchase a membership.  For the month of January only, I have decided to offer this as a single purchase (if you are an existing member, you will already be able to access this under the heading Literacy Centers).


More Information on the Rhyming Mini Unit


Fabulous Freebies!

Each blog post I l also try to include some fabulous freebies.  In the link below you will also find some free rhyming resources.


Free Rhyming Resources


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Working With Struggling Readers

The Logics of English

The Logics of English

I just read the book “The Logic of English” written by Denise Eide.  This is a great resource for teachers in terms of assisting you with integrating phonics instruction into your program. I intend to use this resource to strengthen my phonics instruction within my grade one class. She advocates that all students should be taught reading within a systematic phonics program and this would result in improving the nation’s reading scores and reduce the amount of struggling readers. This is debatable but I do believe that phonics instruction is important and should be integrated into a balanced literacy framework.  I learned to read and started my teaching career based on phonics programs that included rules, worksheets and where most of the phonics instruction was taught in isolation of text. This became obsolete once the “whole language approach” emerged.  Experienced teachers such as myself remained teaching phonics in conjunction with using a “whole language approach.”  In 2000 the “International Reading Panel” tried to settle the wars between the two opposing philosophies and out of this was born a “balanced literacy” approach to learning.  I feel that all classrooms today should be using this framework to guide their reading and writing instruction.


The link below from John Hopkins School of Education outlines the reasons some children struggle with reading and possible intervention programs.  It does note that these students do benefit from a systematic phonics program. However, most of these programs are meant to be used within a small learning group setting.


Reasons Students Struggle With Reading and Intervention Suggestions


How I Tackled My Dilemma in Teaching Phonics

I have always believed that phonics instruction is very important but I struggled for many years on how to incorporate it effectively.  Teaching in isolation of text seemed very disjointed and not that meaningful to my learners.  When I started incorporating phonics instruction within my reading selections, I started to enjoy teaching phonics and it just flowed naturally.


Zoo Escape Reader

Zoo Escape Reader

Example of Phonics Instruction For Hard “Gg” Sound

I introduce the letter “Gg” and its related sound through reading the book “Good Night Gorilla” by Peggy Rathmann.  This is followed by reading the reader “Zoo Escape” as a shared and guided reading instruction (based on a balanced literacy model).

At the beginning of the Kindergarten year I only teach the hard “Gg” sound and later the soft “Gg” sound.


Importance of Follow-up Activities – Word Work

Literacy Center Games

Literacy Center Games

Literacy Center Games

It is obvious that just introducing the letter is not enough for the students to fully internalize the concept. Follow-up activities are crucial in fully grasping how this sound works in conjunction to printing and reading.  The literacy center games are meant to be used for this purpose.  The link below outlines the process in which I go through for my students to fully grasp the concept of learning new letters and their related sounds.


 Follow-up Activities 


Dictation – Extending Word Work

“When writing by hand, the movement involved leave a motor memory in the sensorimotor part of the brain which helps us recognize letters.  This implies a connection between reading and writing, and suggests that the sensorimotor system plays a role in the process of visual recognition during reading.”

Word Dictation

Word Dictation


Anne Mangen Univeristy of Stavanger, Norway


The above statement supports the idea that students do not internalize the connection to the letter and sound until they are able to print that letter. This has also been my experience. For this reason, each day I have a short dictation period where my students print on their erasable whiteboards.  I will dictate words and they must print the initial letter that represents that word.  By the end of the year, most students can print the entire word (usually CVC words). This is part of my word work and phonics instruction and is a very important one.


Extending the Concept To “Soft Gg” – Later In The Year

When doing the fairy tale theme we read different versions of the book “The Gingerbread Man”.  This is followed-up by looking at the letter “Gg” and introducing the other sound it makes.  The reader “Gingerbread Man Perseveres” is used as a shared and guided reading follow-up.

Gingerbread Man Perseveres Reader

Gingerbread Man Perseveres Reader


Spelling Rule

You may introduce the following spelling rule as outlined in the book “The Logic of English.”

Gg may soften to /j/ when followed by e, i, or y.  Otherwise it says /g/.



Phonics instruction is important especially for those students who are not strong visual learners.  These students are auditory learners and need phonics instruction.  For me, I like to teach phonics in conjunction with the stories that I am reading and incorporating into my word work blocks.  For kinesthetic learners, printing the letter(s) in conjunction with learning the phonograms is an important step in internalizing how they are used in representing sound units within writing and reading.

The book “The Logic of English” will provide you with all the different phonograms that we use in the English language.  It also provides you with all the different spelling rules that can be applied when learning to spell English words.  It is a great book to read to provide guidance on how you can approach your phonics lessons and spelling instruction. I would tend to stick with teaching the consonants and the two vowel sounds (long and short) initially at the pre-k level.


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Teaching Ideas for the New School Year


Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

Many of you will be entering the new school year and the excitement of meeting your little learners is mounting.  They will all enter with a wide range of skills and abilities.  With the curriculum expectations becoming more rigorous, we tend to omit the basics. When I started teaching kindergarten, I was so eager on getting these little ones learning the alphabet and start the process of writing and reading early.  I learned very quickly that the majority of my students didn’t understand the concept of what a beginning sound was nor could they hear it.  I had to take a step back and start with the basics.  This is where phonemic instruction comes into play.  The video in the link below does a fantastic job of explaining phonemic and phonological awareness.


Important Pre-Reading Skills


Importance of Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and segment sounds.  We know that a student’s skills in phonemic awareness is a good predictor of later reading success or difficulty.  Since research has proven this time and time again, as a Pre-K or kindergarten teacher, this is a great place to start your literacy instruction.  I have outlined some fun and engaging activities below that can be used for segmentation and blending.


Slow Speaking Sam

Guessing the Word

Slow Speaking Sam Puppet

I have a puppet called “Slow Speaking Sam”.  He says sounds of words very, very slowly. My little ones have fun trying to figure out the word he is saying.  Together we blend the sounds to say the entire word.


Assigning Each Child A Sound

Sound Segmenting

Sound Segmenting

I have three students (to begin with) and assign them each a sound.  They each say their sound and the rest of the students must guess what the word is when you put all the sounds together (blending).


Money in the Bank and Taken Out

Move the Sound

Move the Sound

I show a CVC picture card (45 pictures on the Kinderplans site). Each child is given a cupful of pennies or whatever you have available.  The students move the pennies into the bank representing each sound heard.  After, they blend the sounds together to say the entire word while removing the pennies.  After the game, the students can count how many pennies they collected.


Money in the Bank Templates


Squeeze the Sound

Squeeze the Sound

Squeeze the Sound

Again, I show a CVC picture card.  The students must squeeze the ball each time a sound is heard. They blend the sounds together to say the entire word, while dropping the ball to the ground (do not want a ball that bounces). This is also great for developing fine-motor strength too!


Stretch the Sound

Stretching Sounds

Stretching Sounds

The students stretch each sound using a slinky or elastic band. These can bought at a Dollar store (love those stores).


Using Your Imagination

These are just a few examples but you get the idea of the possibilities.  The activities should involve some sort of movement in order to be effective.


When Do I Start Introducing the Alphabet Letters?

I only concentrate on phonemic awareness activities for the first week or so of the school year.  I still continue to do these throughout the year but I introduce the relationship to a letter.


Meeting Your Curriculum Outcomes

If the Kinderplans Alphabet program were to be followed the majority of your curriculum outcomes would be met.  The only area that is not covered is poetry.  I am working towards adding these to the collection of resources found on the site.

Alphabet Program

Alphabet Program


If you have poems that you use in your class to share, I would really appreciate them sent to me or post a comment below.


Alphabet Program Explained

I just recently posted a video on the site that explains the program.  Hop over to view it.


Alphabet Program Explained



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A Balanced Literacy Lesson Plan

Balanced Literacy Model

Balanced Literacy Model

I have always been a big fan of integrating key learning concepts and subject areas in my language arts daily lesson plans.  This allows me to be more efficient in meeting the curriculum outcomes.  All my plans take a balanced literacy approach to teaching these concepts.  More information on a balanced literacy approach can be found in the link below:


Balanced Literacy Approach to Teaching Reading


Balanced Literacy Lesson Plan for November

The focus theme for November is on Pets and How Animals Prepare for Winter (Science Connection).  Outlined below is how I follow the balanced literacy approach to teaching reading.  Following this model makes my planning so much easier.Wanna Iguana


Read Aloud

This year I chose to use the book “I Wanna Iguana” as my read aloud to introduce this theme.  Within the theme unit (Pets Theme)  there are a number of suggestions but this is the one I chose.  This is a great book to use to understand the power of persuasion.  It also introduces the concept of the responsibilities involved in looking after a pet.  In the link below is a video reading of the book.


Video Reading of the Book “I Wanna Iguana”

The Best Pet Reader

The Best Pet Reader


Follow-up Shared Reading

I will be using the color version of the reader “The Best Pet” as a shared reading experience which is a follow-up to reading the book.  I will project it on the Smart Board for all the students to see.  I will introduce letters and their related sounds within the context of reading it  (Dd for dog, Cc and Kk for cat and Ii for iguana).  Any focus sight words could also be introduced.


Word Study

The Literacy Centers outlined in the link below all incorporate the the Word Study Component of the balanced literacy approach.


Daily Literacy Centers


Interactive Black and White Version of The Best Pet

Interactive Black and White Version of The Best Pet

Interactive Guided Reading

I use the interactive black and white versions of the readers (same one used for shared reading).  At this point, the students are still learning to track words and recognizing few sight words.  They absolutely love completing the interactive component of the readers and this adds a comprehension and fine-motor element to their reading.  The students are to cut and paste the correct pet that is mentioned in the text.  They can match the underlined word with the word printed on the picture.  This is a good visual discrimination activity.

Independent Reading

Once the students have read the reader during shared and guided reading, many of them will be able to read it independently.


Research and Vocabulary Development – Would An Iguana Be A Good Pet?

Since many of my students would not be a familiar with what an iguana is, we will need to do more research and add this to their vocabulary background.    I have used the videos below as a base for this research. This will help them to decide if they feel and iguana would be a good pet.

Information Videos About Iguanas


Modeled, Shared and Interactive Writing

I will model  writing what pet I would like or have as a pet.  After, I will model what the students dicate on chart paper.  As I am writing we often “share the pen”.  If they know a beginning letter sound of word that I am going to print, I will allow them to come forward and print it.


Guided Writing

Guided Writing

Guided Writing

After, the students will complete their own writing with guidance.  Could provide a template for this.

I want a __________ for a pet.

I have a ___________ for a pet.

I would like a ___________.


More Ideas for the Pets Theme

This is just a small sample of what activities you can engage your students in within the Pets Theme.  In the link below you will find more ideas.


More Ideas for Pets Theme


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Phonological Awareness

Important Skills for Beginning of Kindergarten or PreK

Training my students to hear beginning sounds in a fun and effective way can be a challenge.  I begin each year focusing on this skill as many of my students arrive lacking the ability to discriminate sounds heard within words.

Research has proven that phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics plays a crucial role in children learning to read but the terms can be confusing.   The video below is an excellent source of information in explaining the differences.


Pre-Reading Skills Video


In this blog post I wanted to address a few mini-lessons that I have implemented that have helped my students to hear beginning sounds and apply this to the corresponding letter.

Phonemic Awareness

Phonemic Awareness Warmup

One of the learning outcomes in many Pre-K programs is for students to print letters they hear at the beginning of words.  However, many of my students arrive not being able to  distinguish the difference in hearing these sounds. Many do not understand the concept of what a beginning sound is.  During the first weeks of school,  I focus on phonemic awareness activities that will assist them in hearing sounds within words prior to introducing any alphabet letters representing these sounds.  I focus on the initial sound first.

1)  I have a puppet that I named “Slow Speaking Sam”.  Sam says the sounds within words (usually one syllable words) very slowly and the students must guess the word said.  If they can’t guess the word, it is said faster.

2)  I have three students come forward and assign each of them a phoneme sound they are to represent.  We blend the sounds together to say the word that represents these sounds.  We clap or stretch the sounds using an elastic band.   We also discuss the first, middle and last sound heard.  This activity has been invaluable in terms of my students understanding the concept of what a beginning sound is.  When the majority of my students are able to hear beginning sounds; I begin introducing the letters of the alphabet that represent these sounds (phonics).  We extend this activity to deleting and adding sounds.  Using the students to represent sounds assists visual learners with this skill devleopment.

Integrating Use of the Smart Board


Smart Board Sorting Activities
As a group instructional activity, we sort pictures according to what inital sounds are heard.


Phonics Component

Use of Paddle Boards

Dry Erase Boards

Dry Erase Boards

After the students have an understanding of hearing initial sounds in words, the phonics component is integrated.  I was fortunate to have a class set of dry erase paddle boards.  I use these contstantly in my “Literacy Centers” and class activities.  I dictate  words that begin with the focus initial letter sounds and the students must print the letter that represents the initial sound heard in the word.  This helps me evaluate each child’s understanding. This has proven to be an invaluable activity  but my only complaint is that I seem to be having to replace the markers frequently.  I haven’t found a solution to this problem yet.


 Use of Shared and Guided Reading and Literacy Centers


Connection to Literature

Many of the emergent readers are a simple retelling of a literature selection.  The focus literature selection for the upcoming week will be “Rainbow Fish”.  This is a great book to use to address the concept of sharing and to introduce the related emergent reader.


Shared Reading –  Rainbow Fish RetellingRainbow-Fish-Emergent-Reader

I project the color version of the emergent reader on my Smart Board.  First we do a picture walk and predict what the story might be about.  I read the book to them and after we circle and read the words together, reinforcing the use of pictures to give us clues as to what the text reads.


Focus Skills

The reader is not only meant to introduce the reading process but also key learning concepts.  The following concepts will be introduced during shared reading time: what a word is,  letters “r” and “f” and their related sounds, sight word “a”, colors and color words.



Guided Reading

I don’t exceed six students during my guided reading group time.  Since we have read the selection over several times during shared reading, many of my students are able to pretend read the majority of the book.  During guided reading they circle the words and color the pictures according to the text.  This not only adds a comprehension and fine-motor component but most students complete this task at varying times, allowing me to focus on one student at a time.  They read the book to me (tracking the words they circled) and after read it to a friend and take it home to read to their parents.


Printing Book – Group 1

Complete printing book “r and f” and stamp pictures beginning with that sound.  Printing book found in link below:

Printing Book

Sound-Soring-GameObject or Picture Sorting – Group 2

My students will be digging into the rice or soy bean tactile tubs for objects to determine if they begin with “Ll,  Hh,  Rr or Ff” sounds.  If I do not have enough objects representing a sound, I use picture cards laminated on cardstock instead (found in the “All About Me” theme).

I recently purchased soy beans from the “Bulk Barn”.  It was the cheapest I could find for creating another tactile tub.  My students really enjoy this experience.


Spin and Print – Group 3

Spin and Print

Students take turns spinning a top and printing the letters “r and f” depending on what picture the top lands on.


Alphabet Ordering and Matching – Group 4

I have all the alphabet letters in the correct order in pocket charts.  The lower-case letters are printed on poker chips.  The students must match the poker chips to the correct letter found within the pocket charts.  I have three pocket charts (2 students working at each chart). They are encouraged to say the name of the letter, if they know it).  Later in the year, I will have them put the alphabet letters in the correct order.


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Pre K Phonics Program


Printing Sequence

What Order Is The Most Effective In Teaching Beginning Letter Sounds?

This is a question I often get asked, “What order is the most effective in teaching beginning letter sounds?”  Since I introduce the correct letter printing formation at the same time as introducing the letter name and its corresponding sound, I try to follow the sequence our occupational therapist suggests.  However, this sequence does not necessarily start with the sounds that the students find the easiest to hear.

After experimenting with different letter sequences, this is the one in which I found to be the most effective in terms of learning to print and hear sounds more readily.  The first letters I chose were ones that we will use the most frequently in our daily writing.  The order I suggest is as follows:  l, b, h, r, f, m, n, a, t, p, s, e d, c, k, u, v, i, o, j, w, g, z, y, x and q.  The “Alphabet Program” which is included in the Kinderplans membership, was specifically developed to teach the alphabet and their related sounds effectively within a balanced literacy classroom.  More information on the “Alphabet Program” can be found in the link below:

Information About the Alphabet Program


Steps to Teaching the Alphabet and Related SoundsLibrary-Lion

Step One – Read Aloud

I start with reading the suggested literature selection which is associated with the emergent reader that will be used to introduce the focus letter(s).  If you do not have the literature selection readily available in your library, sometimes you will find an online version by doing a search.  For example, I will start the year reading “Library Lion” by Michelle Knudson that is associated with the emergent reader “Lion Likes to Read”.   You can also choose another literature selection related lions.


Library Lion Video


Emergent Reader Lion Likes to ReadStep Two – Shared Reading

I project the color version of the reader “Lion Like to Read” on the Smart Board and model the reading process (reader associated with the literature selection).  We do a activities related to the reader for a number of days.  I will introduce the names and and sounds of letters “l and b” within context of using the reader.


Step Three – Word Study, Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

We do a number activities related to the focus letters and sounds such as:

Alphabet Action Songs

Alphabet Action Songs

1.  Discuss names within the classroom and other words that begin with these letters and sounds.

2.  Discuss possible actions that could go with these letters and sounds.

3.  Sing the songs related to the readers that are found on the “Alpha Tunes” CD which is included in the membership.  I also sing “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” but change the words to begin with the focus sound.

4.  Sort picture cards according to which ones relate to the focus sounds (alphabet picture cards included in your membership).

5.  We sort pictures on the Smart Board.  You will find a Smart Board sorting activity for letters “Ll and Bb” in the link below.



Smart Board Sorting ActivitiesAs a group instructional activity, we sort pictures according to if they begin with an “Ll and Bb” sounds on the Smart Board.  You would need access to Notebook software in order to download this activity.



Guided Reading and Independent Reading

"Ll and Bb" emergent reader

“Ll and Bb” Emergent Reader

During guided reading the students will be circling words and completing the interactive component which requires them to cut and paste the correct “b” picture that matches the text.  This adds a comprehension component to their reading.  After reading the selection a number of times during shared and guided reading, they should now be able to read it independently (pretend reading at this stage).


Literacy Center Follow-up Activities

The “Literacy Center” activities are an important component of the program as this is when the students practice what they have learned during instructional time.  In the link below you will find information on these Centers.


Ideas for Literacy Centers


Alphabet Bulletin Board

Alphabet Bulletin Board


The fabulous freebie for this newsletter is the “Alphabet Bulletin Board Picture Cards”.  These picture cards are related to the alphabet animated action video and the emergent readers.  As a member, you will have access to three different sizes of these picture cards. These picture cards are the medium sized version.  I place these in front of the room and refer to these regularly when reviewing the letters and their related sounds.  Removed on September 12th.



 Animated Alphabet Video


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Five Components of Teaching Reading

Pre-Kindergarten Reading

Five Components of Reading

I recently attended a session by Dawn Reithaug, who has assisted with reading intervention programs within different school districts.  I found this session provided reassurance as to what I am doing correctly and what areas of improvement can be made.  Even after 32 years of teaching, I still get excited about how I can improve.  She identified five components of reading that need to be explicitly and systematically taught:  phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension strategies.  In this blog post I wanted to expand on these areas and provide a few samples of how I incorporate these.


Phonemic and Phonological Awareness

What Is It?

It is the ability to identify and manipulate sounds in words.  In a more recent blog post I presented a video that explains this, as well as, teaching strategies that I have implemented successfully to address this area.


Video Explaining What It Is and Teaching Instruction Ideas


Phonics and Spelling

What Is It?

It is the ability to associate letters and groups of letters with sounds and blending these together to read words. Again, this is also an area that she identified as requiring explicit and systematic teaching instruction.   The “Kinderplans Alphabet Program” was solely developed to address this area of teaching. The importance of introducing a phonics sound and applying this skill within written context was also stressed.  This confirmed what I have always felt was lacking in many phonics programs.


More information about the Kinderplans phonics program can be found in the link below:


Explicit and Systematic Phonics Program


My Alphabet Sound Wall – Importance of Using Strong Visuals



Many teachers post generic alphabet letter picture posters within their classroom but they are rarely used and hold little meaning for the students.  My students use ours continously to support their learning. The pictures are associated with the sounds related to the characters found within the emergent readers and songs we have sung.  More and more research points to the importance of using visuals for teaching and I can attest to this level of importance.  Connecting specific letters to a certain sound is a complex task for these young learners and using visuals provides additional support.


Outstanding Site for Information and Assessment Materials

The site in the link below provides outstanding information and assessment materials that are used widely by different schools.   Picture assessment cards can be found but if you are a member of the Kinderplans site you have assess to many more picture cards.


Oustanding Informational and Assessment Materials


 What Is It?

Pre-Kindergarten Emergent Readers

Ocean Theme Emergent Readers
Used for Developing Reading Fluency

It is the ability to decode and recognize words with speed, accuarcy and proper expression to facilitate comprehension.


How This Applies to Pre-Kindergarten

This is a difficult to implement in Pre-K since many of the students are not truly reading yet, however, there are still strategies that can be incorporated that can set the stage:

1.  Modeling fluent reading to your students.

2.  Having your students do repeated oral reading at the emergent level is the key to success for students at the Pre-K level.  They are not necessarily decoding the words yet but they are being continusouly exposed to print and the reading process.  The emergent readers have proven to be invaluable to my class.  I get so many requests from my students to read these to the entire class that I had to compile a chart outlining on what days they are scheduled to read.  They must practice prior to their turn, so they can read fluently to their classmates.  I modeled what fluent reading looks like.

3.  Teaching high frequency words within context of print.  This should be exercised with considerable caution.  The blog posting below addresses the concerns I have in this area.


Sight Word Teaching


It seems more and more students enter our classrooms with language deficiencies.  It is very difficult for a classroom teacher to replace enriching experiences that a home can provide.  In the link below you will find the document “A Review of the Current Research on Vocabulary Instruction” by NRTAC.


Current Research on Vocabulary Instruction


Choice of Literature Selections Serves Platform for Vocabulary DevelopmentFunnyEnormousEggs(1) 2

In a Pre-K classroom, the bulk of vocabulary development would be provided through the literature selections we choose to read, field trips and online videos. I have read that 5 – 7 new words should be introduced daily. To be honest, I try to feature one new vocabulary word a day for the purpose of retention.  Last week, the feature word was “enormous” which was introduced when reading the emergent reader “Funny Enormous Eggs”.  The students made personal connection with the word and illustrated it.


Reading Comprehension 

This is such a huge topic and it would be difficult to cover this in one blog post.  I would recommend reading the book “Reading With Meaning” by Debbie Miller, it goes in depth on how classroom teachers can implement comprehension strategies effectively in the primary grades.  I have very briefly outlined some strategies below:

1.  Idenitying purpose for reading and making personal connections to previous experiences related to the topic.images 2

2.  Asking who, what, when, where, why and how questions.

3.  Summarizing what was read.


Again, it is important for classroom teachers to model the thinking process.


As always, I hope you found these ideas helpful!


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Pre-K Literacy Lesson Plan

This blog post outlines how I introduce a new letter, related sound and the follow-up Literacy Centers related to these.


Phonemic Awareness Warmup

Phonemic Awareness Warmup

Phonemic Awareness Warm-up

At the beginning of the school year many of my students do not understand the concept of beginning sound nor can they hear it.  The activity below really assists in developing this skill.

I use a puppet named Slow Speaking Sam as a base for doing phonemic awareness activities.  Slow Speaking Sam says sounds in words very slowly (CVC words).  The students must first guess what word he said.  After, three students come forward representing the sounds found within the word. We discuss the sound heard at the beginning, middle and end of it.  After, I attach letters representing these sounds and the students hold these letters.  Since the first phonics lesson focuses on the letter “Ll” and its corresponding sound, I will use words beginning with this sound (lap, leg, lip and log).AtSchoolClip


Introducing Letter During Shared Reading – Focus Letter “Ll”

I always introduce a letter sound in context of print during shared reading time.  I will be using the emergent reader At School to introduce the focus letter “Ll” sound and the reading process (left to right progression and what a word is).  I will display the reader on my Smart Board for all students to view as I model the reading process and focus on the sound of “Ll”.  If you do not have a Smart Board, copy and cut the pictures and place them in a pocket chart along with the text printed on sentence strips.

The reader is found in the All About Me theme.


All About Me Theme


Smart Board Activities

I use the Smart Board activities demonstrated in the video as additional practice for students to hear and associate the letter “Ll”  to its corresponding sound.  If you do not have a Smart Board, practice using the Literacy Activity Centers outlined below as a whole group.


The students touch the spinner board and print the letter that represents the sound it landed on.  The other game requires the students to sort the beginning sounds.


View Smart Board Activity on YouTube

Practice Printing the Focus Letter 

The students practice printing the focus letter on each others back, in the air and in the palm of their hand.


Literacy Centers

The Litearcy Centers are meant for the students to practice the skills they were taught in a fun and interactive environment.  Most of the games are meant to play with partners which I select in terms of personality and ability.  I have the students rotate from station to station (usually ten minutes per station).


Literacy Center One – Printing the Letter

Students practice printing the letter in their printing booklet found in the link below.  If the letter is a more difficult one to print, I will have them practice on small dry erase boards first, until they have mastered how to print it.


Printing Booklet I Use 


Litearcy Center Two – Sorting Objects and Picture Cards

Sound Sorting

Sound Sorting

I have three sets of partners at the this station (table). I am fortunate to have multiple objects that I hide in rice tubs and the students dig and sort these according to if they begin with the letter “Ll” sound.  If you do not have these objects, use the picture cards found in the theme unit.  The students will be sorting the objects or picture cards according to if they begin with an “Ll” sound or not.  I will only be using picture cards and objects beginning with “Ll and Hh” sounds.


Spinning Board Game

Spinning Board Game

Literacy Center Three – Spinning Top Game

Again, I have three sets of partners playing this game at a table.  Each partner takes a turn spinning a top (good quality one) and must determine if they hear the letter “Ll” at the beginning of the picture the top landed on.  If they hear the sound, they must print the letter.

Note:  I place the board in a pie plate to control the path of the spinner.


Literacy Center Four – Alphabet Ordering FREEBIE

Alphabet-Ordering-PicAgain, I have three sets of partners playing this game.  They draw a letter card, say the letter name (if they know it) and place it on the game board in the correct order.  You can access this game from the link below:


Alphabet Ordering Game


Sight Word Practice

Sight Word Board Game

Sight Word Board Game

At the beginning of the school year I do not focus on sight words but phonemic awareness activities as this is really what my students need.  They would learn sight words incidentally through reading the emergent readers during shared and guided reading. However, in the theme unit there is an activity that can be used if you wish to start introducing sight words.  The sight words found within the reader At School would be “I and am”.  The blank sight word roll the die or spinner board games could be used for this purpose.


Music Connection

Each day my students sing the interactive alphabet song video found in the link below


Interactive Alphabet Song Video


Letter “Ll” Focus Sound – Leo the Lion on Alpha Tunes Action Download

On the Alpha Tunes Action Songs download the students can sing and act out the song “Leo the Lion”.  If you are a member, login, click on the link Song Book to access it.


Guided Reading

I will also be pulling small groups of students for guided reading.  We will be reading the black and white version of the emergent reader At School.  I will be focusing on the left to right progression of print and what a word is.  I will have the students circle the words found on each page.  They will be taking the reader home to read to their parents.


As always, I hope you find these ideas helpful.


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