Two skills children need to master in their journey to independent reading are segmenting and blending sounds. Segmenting is breaking a word apart into individual sounds and blending is very simply the ability to combine the sounds together smoothly. When we tell a child to sound it out , this is really what we are asking them to do. This activity was designed for my son who is a great reader but who will often read so quickly that if he encounters a word he doesn’t know he simply guesses and continues. If I ask him to sound the word out he will still often guess and get frustrated at me for asking instead of slowing down and doing it even though he is perfectly capable of doing so. I had to come up with a playful way that would force him to chill a little, slow it all down and focus on the sounds. This activity can be adapted for any level even single sounds or sight words. We did a similar one for toddlers exploring letters here.
- Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, white wax crayon, dark water color ( container is you need one) , a little water and a paint brush. I also used a clipboard to keep the pages secure while painting.
- Start by writing out the words you want your child to stretch out. I used a book we’ve recently read to help me think of some words. Many of the words I chose were not a challenge to read , the challenge is to get him to slow down and stretch them out. For new readers you will want to do words like cat, dog, ball, map, off, snap etc… but know that older children and more proficient readers can still work on this skill with more complex words.
- Next I popped the black water color into the jar and added just a little water. To do this well you want a lot of color but not too much water .
- I invited my little reader and explained that he needed to paint over the words SLOWLY and read as he went, then to read the whole word normally. I had to emphasize that the goal was not to guess the word after painting over the first few letters, that the right way to do it was to carefully say each sound then put the word back together.
- The activity was an instant hit. It really did get him to slow it down and pay attention to all the sounds in the words instead of just guessing. I was happy to find a tool for him to keep working on these skills without making him feel like I was giving him a remedial task. Quick activities likes this one can be thrown together easily with some really fantastic benefits to your child’s reading ability.
Fantastic idea! Love the simplicity–and the value of this activity!!
We like to use our easel outdoors on these hot summer days, this is a fine addition for our ‘play time.’
Thanks for this post!!
Such a fun idea! I love the progressive photos of your little reader figuring out the words! Thanks for linking back to the project with toddlers, I missed that one. Looking forward to doing this with my Pre K kids this year.
Learn + Play = PreK
Great ideea! You can also use a candle to write the words 🙂
Love, love, love this idea for teaching vocabulary to kids. Will have to use it for a Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made book club for boys! I think they would love it! And it fits the theme of the book since Timmy is a detective!! Woot!
Love the concept!! by black water colour, do you mean paint??
Allison McDonald says
Yes – the paint that comes in the flat paint sets.
Cindy deRosier says
I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:
Thanks for another great idea!