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2 minutes reading time (309 words)

Create Word Rainbows To Help Young Spellers

This year in my 1st grade class, I have been using a terrific new concept passed along to me by my colleague, Kathy. This idea greatly helps our students master their weekly spelling assignments. In both of our 1st grade classes, we have a reading station called “Rainbow Words,” which is a colorful, hands-on way for students to practice and remember vocabulary. I noticed that students who were having difficulty recognizing letters, or hearing sounds in the words, had much better success when they used this concept of color-coded individual letters in words. This would be a simple activity to help your young student practice words at home, as well.

You’ll need:

  • A small package of markers or crayons, in the basic eight colors of red, blue, yellow, brown, orange, green, purple, and black
  • Lined paper


Here’s how:

  • You should start very simply. For example, if your child is learning short vowel “a” words such as at, cat, fan, ran, cap, have her use the red marker to print all the “a” vowels in the words. The beginning and final consonants can be any different color of her choice. This way she will easily recognize the vowel in the words, when printing is complete.
  • Have him practice his weekly spelling or sight words by using a different color to print each letter in the word, creating a “rainbow word.” 
  • If your child is more advanced, have her use one specific color to identify digraphs (th, sh, ch, wh), blends (st, sl, pl, cr, etc.,,) or endings in words (ed, ing, ly, etc.) with the other letters in the word.


Children are naturally creative. Using a different color to print each letter in a word helps a child easily recognize those letters and parts of words. This is a great way to improve reading fluency and increase comprehension…while creating word “rainbows”!

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