Stretch and Say: A Reading Activity

3.8 based on 12 ratings

What You Need:

  • 1–2 yards of 3", white elastic, available in any sewing department or store
  • Permanent marker
  • Optional: Colored masking tape

What You Do:

  1. Cut the elastic into 3" to 4" strips. You can put masking tape on the ends to keep the elastic from fraying.
  2. Write a one-syllable, consonant-vowel-consonant word on each. Good examples include: "Dad," "kid," "mom," "sit," "book," and so on. Put a short line across the bottom so your child can quickly tell which side is up!
  3. Now you're ready for some elastic fun! Have your child hold each end of the elastic. As he gently stretches it out, have him vocally stretch the sound out for each letter. After stretching the last sound, he can let the elastic “shrink” and vocally compress all the sounds together into the word.

Once the word has been read, have your child use it in a sentence to help with comprehension. You can also make more sets of elastic for word families (like "tot, pot, rot" or "man, can, tan") and for short vowels (a, e, i, o, u) to really stretch his skill!

Why This Works:

Much of kindergarten and first grade reading is spent "pulling apart” sounds to help children develop an ear for language. This activity allows children to see the letter, hear themselves say the sound as they see each letter stretch, and then blend all sounds together to create a word.

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