Pre-Reading

Alphabet Match Up

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Alphabet Match Up

A couple of weeks ago, my three year old started noticing the beginning sounds of words. He says things like, “Snake starts with /s/. That’s an {Ss}!”  Since I run a website about teaching kids to read, it’s probably no surprise that I break into a huge, cheesy smile every time he makes one of these new discoveries. I can’t help it. It’s a proud mama moment.   So it felt like the perfect time to create an alphabet match up game that would help him make even more of these important pre-reading connections. You can download your own free copy of my game...

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The ABCs of Early Literacy

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The ABCs of Early Literacy

Playdough to Plato is filled with fun learning activities for preschoolers, kindergarteners and first graders – a perfect balance between “Look at what I can do now!” and “I can’t wait to do that again!”   Since we believe that learning can be both intentional AND fun, we were excited to pull together an A to Z guide for early literacy.  What follows are 26 fun-filled ways to teach kids the basics of reading and writing. Follow our blog by email!   A is for Alphabet Books.   As a kindergarten teacher, I always spent the first few weeks of school...

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Alphabet Books

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Alphabet Books

As a kindergarten teacher, I always spent the first few weeks of school reading alphabet books to my students because they help children understand that each letter has a special name and sound.  (That’s really important for kids to know before they try reading on their own later.)   Thankfully, there are options for almost every interest – sports, animals and even American states. However, with so many choices to pick from, it can be hard to know where to start.  So I’m excited to share my ten favorites.     “Alphabet City” inspires kids to...

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Best Posts of 2012

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Best Posts of 2012

I love reminiscing. Whether it’s laughing with friends about what life was like before cell phones (remember wearing those super cool pagers?!) or looking through my boys’ baby books, thinking back on the good ole’ days always makes me smile.   As we added another year to the history books, I was excited to pick my 5 favorite early literacy posts of 2012. Check them out by clicking on each of the pictures below.   Showdown!!     The Pre-Writing Activity Packet Alphabet Cup Hunt     10 Printable Early Readers for Boys     Sight...

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Beats on the Body Game

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Beats on the Body Game

Earlier this week, I sat in on a tutoring session led by Deb Cooper, a well-respected speech and language pathologist.  The activities she used were hands-on, fun AND educational. In fact, the child she was working with smiled from start to finish. {That’s always a good sign!} One of the games they played was a favorite I’d used in my kindergarten classroom too. Deb called it “Beats on the Body” and the premise is simple. Children tap their hand, then elbow and shoulder as they break a word into syllables – an important skill that helps them get ready for...

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Sight Word Game: Magic Squares!

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Sight Word Game: Magic Squares!

Activity for ages 4 to 6 The sight word game Magic Squares is a perfect example of how a simple activity can be great fun and learning! It’s a guaranteed distraction at restaurants, doctors’ offices and on airplanes. Just print and play this sight word game anytime and anywhere!     Sight Word Game Play To play, download the printable in the right hand column. You can print either the sight word or alphabet sheet, depending on what your child is working on at the moment.   Write the sight words your child is working on in the boxes. (If you’re practicing...

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Gingerbread Man Hunt

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Gingerbread Man Hunt

Every year at the start of school, I introduced my kindergarteners to the principal, kitchen staff and other VIPs by sending them on a playful gingerbread hunt. My students smiled from start to finish. (And so did the staff!)   Now that I’m out of the classroom, I was excited to share this playful reading activity with my three year old son, C. And, since Christmas is right around the corner, the timing of the activity couldn’t be more perfect. You can download your own free copy of the clues we used here.   The Setup   To start, I gathered a few supplies: A copy...

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Printable Santa Stationery

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Printable Santa Stationery

I’m the first to admit that I get a little bit nutty about Christmas traditions – going to our city’s annual holiday parade… visiting reindeer at our local nursery… picking out gifts for our adopt-a-family… There are just so many great ones.   Last year, we added a new tradition to our family’s must-do list: writing a letter to Santa. I designed colorful stationery to make my kids’ wish lists more of a keepsake and created “official North Pole” letterhead to use with Santa’s reply. Purchase your own set of the stationery...

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Printable Showdown!!

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Printable Showdown!!

Several months ago, I wrote a post about Showdown, one of my kindergarteners’ favorite ways to practice letters, sight words, math facts… almost anything.  I never dreamed that so many people around the world would fall in love with it too. The activity has ranked among my most popular posts ever since.   My only disappointment was that the game wasn’t very pretty. In the original post, I used blank index cards and handwritten words. It was fine, but I was in the mood for something a little fancier.  So I created this free printable you can use to brighten up your...

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The Pre-Writing Activity Packet

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The Pre-Writing Activity Packet

When my three year old recently looked at me with his big blue eyes and asked for help, “writing like his daddy”, I immediately launched into super mommy mode – pulling together fun, hands-on games that would strengthen his hand-eye coordination, hand muscles and fine motor skills.   After days of brainstorming, researching, designing and playing, I’m excited to report that my early literacy activity pack is finally complete. You can purchase your own set for $4 on my Teachers Pay Teachers site here. Inside you’ll find:   Ladybug Grab     In...

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