Make a "Word Slider"

What You Need:

  • 5 or 6 small (dessert-size) paper plates, in one plain color
  • White or colored card stock paper, 8-1/2" x 11"
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker

What You Do:

  1. Make two, 1-inch cuts on each plate, parallel to one another. (See Image 1).
  2. To the right of the two parallel cuts, write a 2-letter word ending such as -op, -ip, -it, -at, and -ot. (See Image 1). As your child becomes more comfortable with reading, you can create more complex word endings with four or more letters.
  3. Cut a strip from your card stock, approximately 1 inch wide and 8 inches long. Use a pencil to mark dividing lines at each one-inch interval. (See Image 2).
  4. Have your child write one consonant or a two-letter blend in each square, taking care to see that it goes with the ending you have picked. (See Image 2). As he writes, have your child practice saying the letter sounds out loud.
  5. Next, thread the letter strip through the two cuts on the plate, so that one letter shows at a time as you slide the strip through. (See Image 3).
  6. Repeat this process with the rest of the plates and card stock, using different consonants and endings.
  7. Play around with your slider—children are usually delighted by the “magic” of the disappearing letters—and then keep it near a place where you and your child often read. The next time you sit down with an early reading book such as “Hop on Pop,” or “Pig in a Wig,” take out a slider first and have him practice those word families!


What's Going On?

Researchers remain divided over the best way to teach reading—is it better to learn by using phonics or by using a whole words approach?

Educator groups such as the International Reading Association answered this debate by arguing that the best way to learn to read is to balance the two approaches. With homemade activities like these "word sliders", you can help your child identify whole words while practicing phonics. With this handy tool, your child will build confidence with early reading, a gift that can carry through years of reading in future grades.

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