Getting kids to learn after school can be hard. Bribery, delayed rewards even punishment seems futile because we want them to WANT to learn. Making it a game or using some novel tools for learning are my son’s favorite ways to learn after school. These little slimy snakes are favorites around here . I find them all over the playroom so I decided to use them for a quick lesson in long and short vowel sounds. Learning to distinguish these sounds is an important skill for reading and spelling. Have fun with learning after school activities and remember that these aren’t in place of homework they are in addition to. Use them as you see fit . My kindergartner usually does 2-3 a week and they are all pretty quick lasting between 5-15 minutes.
- Gather your materials. You will need some paper, markers, scissors and plastic snakes you can cut. **If you don’t have access to these try gummy worm candies, ribbon, or yarn.
- Start by writing out pages of simple words with long and short vowel sounds . Remember that long vowels say their name (o- open , a-grape, i- bite) . I would work on one letter at a time.
- Invite your word detective to the table and ask him or her to help you cut some of the snakes into short pieces . My son thought I was joking and was excited to be doing something destructive. Is it a boy thing?
- Use the short pieces to indicate a short vowel sound and a full snake for the long vowel sounds. He was pretty into it. It was sorta silly but that worked in our favor because he loved it. The combination of a concrete object to show a concept that is not concrete can really help some kids grasp these tasks better than just saying words and having them listen and decide.
- You can see how he was sounding the words out as he read them. Teach your child to read the words slowly exaggerating the vowel sound. He liked to stretch the sound the same time he stretched the snake. Make multiple sheets but don’t worry if they want to work on them one or two at a time.
- Clearly he was having too much fun to be learning! At least that is what he thought.