As they learn to read, first graders spend a lot of time learning spelling patterns. These patterns can get complicated, and with so much new stuff coming their way, it's always helpful to get to know a few "tricks of the trade."
Let your child get some spelling practice in while creating a wacky postcard in this activity that has him using five different vowel "phonemes," or vowel sound patterns, that appear often in the English language. Word banks and example cards are provided below to give an idea of how the phoneme/vowel blend will translate to sentences for the postcard stories.
What You Need:
- 5 large, blank index cards or blank postcards (can be purchased at any post office)
What You Do:
- Collect a “sound bank” of vowel patterns. Some examples could be:
- Ow—town, about, mouth, sound, loud, our
- Oy—boy, noisy, joy, toy
- Ar—shark, party, bark, mark, park
- Ear—hear, sheer, steer, deer, fear, near
- U—brook, look, shook, wood, put
- Pick one set of vowel patterns. For this example, the "ow" vowel pattern (town, about, mouth sound, loud, our) will be used.
- Work with your child to write a short message or story onto a 4" x 6” index card—one sentence is just fine to start—that uses as many words as possible from that group. For example: "Our Aunt Sally took us on a train ride. The sound of the beachside town we traveled to was loud. She told us about the legend of the mouth of the river that made this destination famous."
- If your child can handle the writing, have him write the message on one side of the 4" x 6” index card. If not, it's fine to write for him for now, but do invite him to do this important final step: take a highlighter and highlight every word that includes an “ow” sound!
- Turn the card over, and invite your child to draw a picture on the front to illustrate the message. To protect the picture, cover it with a sheet of clear plastic contact paper, trimmed neatly to the edge of the card.
- When you're done, send it off, and don't hesitate to keep writing more!
Alicia Danyali, B.S. Elementary Education, taught primary-level students for four years at the International School of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The last four years of her teaching career, she taught at the Washington International School in Washington, D.C. She recently completed writing a series of children's picture books and is a mother of one young son.