As with yesterday’s post, this activity was played with learning to read in mind but could easily be adapted to suit something your child/children is/are learning. Again the words were all CVC words and allowed J to rehearse his phonic knowledge. You may or may not have heard educational practitioners talking about blending and segmenting words. Basically this means that children need to be able to break down words into sounds and also blend the sounds to make a whole word. Blending and segmenting are helpful for children learning to read and write but also for older children when it comes to tackling more complex words either in reading or spelling. The segmenting part can be used not only with sounds but also with syllables. So if you have an older child who is learning to read/spell polysyllabic words (words with more than one syllable) then segmenting is a very important skill. I’ll give an example, if a child has a list of spellings and one of them is ‘information,’ segmenting the word into syllables… in-form-a-tion can make the task of learning this word far simpler. This is the same with reading unknown words.
What I’m trying to express, is that these simple, early skills that our children are rehearsing through play will go with them to support them throughout their education and lives ahead.
Today’s activity is all about rehearsing hearing sound within words and crucially, being able to hear them in the correct order. Much harder than you may think!!
For this I simply used:
- play dough
- toys that are CVC words
To set it up, I rolled out some play dough, put three objects next to the dough and put the appropriate letters for each toy in the wrong order.
Before J started, I told him that the sounds were in the wrong order… silly Mummy! Then we verbally segmented the word into sounds together, e.g. c-a-t. I asked, which sound should be first and J picked up ‘c’. He then pressed the ‘c’ into the play dough to make an indentation. We repeated this for the whole word. Once the indentations were made, J decided to run his finger along the sounds. This is great for learning letter formation and the eventual progression of learning to write!
Once the word was in place, we pointed to each sound and said them together, J had the job of blending it to say the whole word. Given that the cat was there, this was hardly a difficult task for J, but the main purpose of this activity is to practise the skill of segmenting and hearing the sounds in the correct order. The pride J feels when he reads the word ‘cat’ is of prime importance too as building self-esteem and confidence is a CRUCIAL part in anybody’s learning journey!
As J pressed the letters, he got his daily fine motor exercise and he also found it lots of fun!
The finished product looks lovely and was so nice to run fingers along the sounds. Another thing you could do at this point is mix up the objects and see if your little one can read the words and match the toys into their correct place.
We played this several times with different objects and with each play, J got better and more accurate at hearing the sounds in the correct order. With some, it was the final sound he found most difficult, so this is definitely a skill that we will rehearse lots through different play activities.
Teaching children to read and write has always been a passion of mine and the fact that I am now able to do this with my own son is like ALL my Christmas’ coming at once. I sincerely hope my passion comes across. I genuinely believe learning to read and write is the greatest thing in the world and should be 100% fun and exciting. The moment it becomes a chore or stressful, great care should be taken. If your child isn’t showing a genuine interest and enthusiasm to learn to read then one thing I would strongly advise is to wait! They will show a readiness eventually and then using fun and playful ways to engage and interest them will ensure this interest grows and remains throughout their education!