In first grade, students are overwhelmed with reading strategies. They're exposed to wave after wave of phonics patterns, and internalizing these patterns can take tons of repeat practice.
Here's an activity to reinforce simple short and long vowel words and help your child get a quick visual representation of the "silent e rule". Easy and fun, this activity is sure to have your child flipping over vowel practice!
What You Need:
- White card stock, cut into a large circle about 7 inches in diameter
- 1-inch wide strip of white card stock, about 5 inches long
- Variety of writing tools: markers, pencils, colored pencils, crayons
- Brass fastener
- Blank index card
What You Do:
- Poke the brass fastener through the center of the circle. Use the fastener to attach the strip to the back of the circle so that it hangs over the side of the circle by about an inch.
- Fold the excess paper over the front of the circle so that you create a flap that you can easily turn around the perimeter of the circle.
- Use a black marker to write a lowercase "e" on this flap.
- Use the marker to write a word on the circle directly to the left of the letter e. The word should follow a simple consonant, short vowel, consonant pattern (CVC words). Some suggested words include kit, hat, cub, tub, bit, rip, cap, rat, tap, rod, cop.
- Turn the flap slightly so the e is in a new space, and write another word from the list. Continue in this manner until you have about ten words written around the circle.
- On an index card, use a pencil to write a description of a special treat or reward for your child, such as enjoying popcorn together, or making an ice cream sundae. Flip the card over so your child can't see what you wrote.
- Now, unfold the flap with the letter e, so all your child can see is the CVC words on the circle. Have her read each word to you. Assist as needed, and remind her that these are short vowel words.
- For each word, have her draw a small illustration in the space to the right of the word. For “hat,” she can draw a simple cowboy hat, and so on. Have her continue in this manner until all the words are illustrated.
- Now tell her she's going to practice some long vowel words. To read them, she will simply “flip” the vowel sound, so the vowel sounds like its own name. Illustrate this, by flipping over the letter flap in front of the word “hat.” Say “hat,” then flip the e over so it is visible, and say “hate.” Have your child repeat this action, then turn open the flap, turn the wheel, and repeat for each word on the circle.
- Assist as needed. Flipping vowels can be tricky! Encourage your child to keep trying, and tell her that if she flips the vowels all around the wheel, you have a special reward for her.
- When she's finished, have her flip one last time. She flips the index card over to reveal her special reward!
Liana Mahoney is a National Board Certified elementary teacher, currently teaching a first and second grade loop. She is also a certified Reading Specialist, with teaching experience as a former high school English teacher, and early grades Remedial Reading.