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.
A small package of markers or crayons, in the basic eight colors of red, blue, yellow, brown, orange, green, purple, and black
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”!
Last month I provided a list of 30 common sight words, along with directions on how to build a word bank. As promised, here is a new word list. These words are called “word family words,” or phonograms, formed with one short vowel word chunk, and different beginning sounds.
Adding words like these to the bank will help your child hear and see patterns in words, and hear rhymes. Seeing patterns in words and recognizing rhymes directly correlates to the Common Core State Standards for Phonological Awareness.
To review directions:
All you need is some small cards that you have handy, like index cards, blank recipe cards, the back of old business cards, etc.
Choose a new word each day, and write it on a card.
Show it to your child, say it, spell it, and say it again. Have your child do the same.
Keep the cards together in a baggie, envelope, or small container.
Review words in the “bank” at random, whenever possible.
The new words, with the vowel chunk in bold:
all ball call fall tall
an can fan man ran
at bat cat hat sat that
en hen men pen ten then
in bin fin tin win
it bit lit sit wit
op mop pop top stop
Practice often so he can easily recognize these words when reading sentences and stories!