100 + Free CVC Worksheets, Activities and games.

Making English Fun

Here you will find 1000’s of free CVC worksheets, games and activities for teaching CVC words and sound blending. Teaching CVC skills and segmenting words is an important phonetic skill accords the year groups from kindergarten, second language students and ESL students all the way to first grade and primary students.

These CVC blending and reading skills help to develop reading skills that will last a lifetime. We have FREE board games, online games for both classroom and as apps, activities and of course the tried and tested worksheets. All these CVC word worksheets, games and activities are free to download for teachers, homeschoolers and anyone else who needs to practice or to teach students how to develop these CVC skills.

I will split these up into sections just to make it easier, so if you need to jump to the right section just use the links below. They should take you where you need to be 😊

FREE CVC worksheets

I am a teacher, an English teacher actually, in Hong Kong. A large part of my role is skills, rather than knowledge teaching. To do this I have to take it back to basics, those basics are simple word construction and initial, medial and final sound recognition. This all depends on the level of my students, but one of my most important aims is to have students constructing and deconstructing simple CVC words. This selection of free CVC worksheets are my favourite ones I have made, and a selection of the best ones I have found. These all are click and print so you don’t have to sign in or provide your email login.

4 medial vowel CVC worksheets

A set of 4 CVC medial vowel worksheets great for short vowel practice.

Read write colour CVC worksheets

4 Different Read Write and Colour CVC worksheets. Perfect for younger learners.

CVC wordsearch
4 CVC Word Searches

4 Different CVC word search and colouring, usable for writing practice as well.

10 CVC Word Sort Worksheets

10 Different cut and paste CVC Word sort activity for younger learners.

Rhyming pairs Worksheet Short vowels and CVC
5 Rhyming Pairs Worksheets

Rhyming is a great way to practice CVC and oneset and rime.

Which Vowel CVC Phonics Worksheets
3 Which Vowel Worksheets

Which vowel worksheets teach the sounds of short vowels.

short e CVC Phonics worksheet
10 CVC scramble Worksheets

10 different CVC scramble worksheets. Great for beginning spelling practice.

Free Short vowel A Colouring Phonics worksheets
Colour the short vowel worksheets

5 individual and 1 mixed colour the short vowel, these are great for sound recognition.

Farming for Vowels Phonics worksheet
5 Farming for Phonics Worksheets

Farming for phonics CVC worksheets and word sort.

Phonics Maze Short vowel U Worksheet
5 Space phonics Worksheets

A space themed set of five phonics and CVC worksheets.

Colour the Rhyme Short Vowels Worksheet
5 Rhyming Pairs Worksheets

4 CVC and Rhyming colouring worksheets

Long and Short vowel worksheets
3 CVC and Vowel Sort Worksheets

Long and Short vowel sorting worksheets.

140 CVC Short Vowel Worksheets
Fishing for Phonics worksheet
7 Fishing for Phonics Worksheets
find the rhymes worksheet
4 Find the Rhymes worksheet
10 Word Families CVC Worksheets

FREE Online CVC games

The future is here, and because of the pandemic it arrived a little earlier than most of us (me included!) were prepared for. Lockdowns and school closures put millions of students into a fairly haphazard and disjointed online learning environment. I had been using the online CVC games below in class, and they were reasonably useful for zoom classes as well. Yes, I tried to use online CVC games in zoom classrooms with six years olds! Some worked, some didn’t. Hey, we are all learning, right? I will put a little note on each one mentioning if I think its suitable for online group classrooms.

Some of these are mine, mainly because I made this in both app and online versions for my own needs, but 500,000 people now use them yearly so they have uses outside of my own classrooms as well. There are some of the better ones from others here as well. These are all playable online on PC, and some are also apps on the app store as well if you needed to download as phonics apps for classrooms.

Phonics and English games
CVC blitz – Four Phonics games in one

This a very user friendly game. 4 different ways of teaching CVC words. matching, spelling, listening and a quiz.

Online suitable, quiz is zoom suitable

Is also an app on Apple

Phonics Hop and Pop

I love playing this in classrooms. Students listen then jump to the correct CVC word. Has 8 other English subjects as well.

Very online suitable, not zoom

Also an App on Google and Apple

sentence builder
Sentence Builder

Learn how to put simple sentences together, including ones containing CVC words

Online suitable, not zoom

As an App on Google as well.

CVC Scramble

Longer version of CVC scramble. Students have to put the letter n the correct order. Picture clues and hints

not Zoom suitable

App on Google as well.

CVC Generator

This is great in classrooms, it really reinforces the sounds and blending skills of CVC words.

Made for classrooms! , great on zoom

On Google as an app

Swing words and phonics

Follows the phonics order of SATIPN from Jolly phonics and works on word and sound recognition

Online suitable, zoom suitable

On Google as an app as well.

One Stop English

Eight English Subjects, including CVC. Has matching exercises, sound quizzes and more.

not online suitable

Also as an app on Google.

Turtle Diary Short Vowel game

Turtle diary offers this short vowel game. Flash though, so not sure how long it will work.

online suitable and zoom

CVC Board Games and Free Card Games

I love using these phonic and Free CVC board games. There is no better feeling, as a teacher, than setting a task, maybe a little challenging and watching your class put their heads down. When I make that task a CVC Board game or CVC card game it is really REALLY well received by students. It is also self-directed so you can monitor the whole class easier. I have a selection of my own here and links to some cool ones from other creators as well. You will need to print them, and maybe laminate if you want longer use out of them. I also have a paid CVC card game coming out soon, so indulge me if I advertise that on here as well.

Soundopoly 3 versions

Based on Monopoly with game cards and questions about CVC words.

8 sounds and CVC board games

A selection of dice game boards for sounds and CVC.

CVC Board Game Connect four

This is great for groups in classrooms. A connect four CVC game.

CVC matching dominoes

A simple print and cut out CVC dominoes game.

Other FREE CVC printables and CVC reading comprehension worksheets.

There is more to life than CVC Worksheets and games – and I am saying this as a teacher! So I have linked in a range of other phonics and CVC activities, some that require students to put the skills they have practiced and learnt with the resources above into practice. So these are free CVC printables that may be matching tasks, or reading both for comprehension and for word recognition / phonics practice.

CVC bingo 16 cards

Bingo cards for classes. Great game to play with younger children.

The classic I have , who has game for a full class. We have 5 versions of this on the site.

The Fortune teller template for multiple English topics including short vowels.

Other resources for phonics worksheets for kindergarten, ESL and Primary grades

FREE CVC Worksheets and resources are undoubtable useful, but it doesn’t end there. We have linked some other FREE English worksheets and games below that may be useful as you progress with English. So, some of these will be for higher level phonics, digraphs, diphthongs, syllables. Vowels and more. However, it will just be a few to wet your appetite and I will post more in another post. You came here for FREE CVC worksheets and CVC Printables so that’s what this page is! Hope you found them useful.

Don’t miss our sets of grades 1 to 5/6 FREE Reading comprehension cards, these are great for lessons and we have over 100 pages of these now.

If you are looking for some Science or Stem worksheets head over to our portfolio to check out the Kindergarten and primary science lessons we have. I use these in my classes all the time and LOVE introducing quite complex topics in a way that is fun and engaging to young learners.

To check out all our resources we have an organised page with all our resources on them right here

And in the style of Steve Jobs, Just one more thing.

I should probably have put this at the top of this post, but I am presuming if you are searching for FREE CVC worksheets you are probably going to know what they are. However, just in case here we go.

In phonics we have a lot of jargon to help teachers understand (or to confuse them- we are still unsure about this) One of these collections of jargon and abbreviations is CVC. It simply stands for Consonant – Vowel – Consonant. These are made of some of the simplest words in English all containing a short vowel sound. They are perfect for emergent readers as they use single sounds that can be blended together to make words. When students have grasped the concept you can add CCVC (you can probably worth that out) and then CCvCC ( and I am fairly sure you can work out this one as well)

Post by Marc of Making English Fun

About the Author

Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, mostly English but dabbled in outdoor pursuits and media. Thought is was about time to sharing both what I have learnt during that time and the resources I have put together. On this site we aim to teach the theory and share our thoughts, but also go that one step further and give you access to the hard resources you need for your class or for you children. Feel free to take a look at our resources, email us on info@makingenglishfun.com, or jump on the Facebook group to ask questions. Happy learning, teaching or playing!

10 TIps To prepare your Child For the First Day of KindeRgarten.

10 TIPS TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN.

One of the most difficult days that a parent experiences is the first day of kindergarten. Letting your little one go to school on their own is not easy. Even if you have been stuck at home in the pandemic trying to do remote preschool, you worry about your child becoming independent and going to kindergarten. Each grade gets a little easier, but transition years can be challenging too.

You can better prepare children for their first day of kindergarten by informing them of what is going to happen, practicing routines, organizing play dates, be relaxed and on time, keep the journey light and visit the school and class before so it’s not a shock or a surprise to your child on their first day.

1) Know Your Child

Some children will need an extended goodbye, and others will walk off like we aren’t important at all on the first day of kindergarten. If your child is the independent sort who will walk away, you can just pull through the line and drive off in your own tears. It isn’t that simple, but you will not usually need to spend as much time with them.

However, those kids who need extra time with you will need to be considered as well. You will want to allow extra time to get to school and get them on their way. However don’t prolong goodbyes too much as it will become a regular drama each day

First Day of Kindergarten

2) Prepare Your Child For Their First Day of Kindergarten Early.

A little time before the first day of kindergarten try getting your child ready for this change. Kids become less anxious when they feel prepared. Make sure to have some activities planned for the first week, things they know are coming after school.

This can be as simple as trips to see grandparents so they can tell them about their day to a nice lunch together with just parent and child time. Aside from having fun, you will also want to set a good example for your child and to raise their expectations of school. To help them look forward to it. How about a display area in the home for them to put their school work on each week.

Talk to your children about the routine expected at school. Some children get nervous when they don’t know what they are supposed to do, so a talk preparing them for the next steps can be helpful. Some schools allow parents to walk their children to class no matter what grade throughout the school year. If you feel this is suitable then you can consider it, however don’t stay to long!

Other schools limit this to the first few days of school or depending on the age (sometimes both). You cannot hold your child’s hand for their entire lives, no matter how much you want to do that. Tell them what will happen each day until the routine has changed. If you are changing the routine (you’re only going to walk them in for a week even though the school allows more), let them know what you expect as well.

3) Be Positive

Be a problem solver by having fun and enjoying each part of this big transition from home life to going to school. For a few weeks before the big day make sure you talk about all the fun things that they will be doing in school.

This will help your child understand that school is a positive place. Show some examples of your own school work ( if you still have it!) and then ask them to compare when they come home. This will make the first day of kindergarten and easier transition.

First Day of Kindergarten

4) Talk With Them As Much As Possible

If you have a shy child, try to start this habit in preschool. In the days before the first day, talk to your child about each subject that they might be learning or what they will be doing in school. Maybe even ask them questions about a new book you read just for fun or ask them about their favorite books in the library.

Get them use to talking and expressing themselves on their own or with you, so they can get ready to talk in a group setting. It will allow them to get used to interactions. If you know other parents you can schedule play dates as well to help both children learn how to relate to others and to develop friendships before they go to school.

5) What To Pack For Each Day

With the first day of kindergarten fast approaching, a lot of parents are wondering what to pack for each day. This checklist of what to pack for each day is great! Your kids will feel happy and you’ll feel at ease knowing they have everything they’ll need. Let them take something to feel comfortable as well like a favorite teddy bear or blanket. Your can ask your children if they need something else.

If there is a new teacher, make sure to send your child with a nice letter introducing yourself and the child (and if it’s their first day of school). Keep in mind that there might be requirements for what to bring during a specific season or time of year, so make sure to check with the school.

First day of school

6) Explain Your Feelings If You Are Nervous As Well

As the first day of kindergarten approaches. Your child is likely going to notice your anxiety, and this will make them feel anxious as well. It’s okay to feel this, but you will want to explain to them what the problem is. You are likely anxious because it is a significant change, and you want them to feel comfortable.

You are worried about their happiness. Children often mistake it as not having confidence in them. You need to be honest with them about this being your worry that everything will be excellent for them. Do not burden them with your concerns, though. You do not want to make them feel bad or worry about you. Only explain your feelings if it will alleviate their worry too.

It’s never easy saying good bye to someone we love. But you need to remember that you are going to be alright. The most important thing is that your child feels loved, cared for and secure. Try writing down some things that are special to talk about with them.

You can even play a game with them (such as choosing a favorite family member or pet). The more they know about family members, friends and what school will be like, the easier it will be for them to adjust on their first day of kindergarten.

7) Practice Some Kindergarten Routines Everyday

Try to go through everyday routines in the days before the first day of kindergarten, such as getting dressed and going to the toilet at home. This will help them get used to new routines even if they aren’t in school yet. You can even do some practice lessons with them to get them used to how classrooms work.

Practicing is also a great way for your child to ask questions and prepare for their new school life. You can even practice writing and spelling and numbers on a chalkboard if they have one at home. If you don’t have a chalkboard, you could also make one with some brown paper or contact paper. We have some great resources on this site to help you with this. You can try them below.

If possible, get a copy of your child’s daily schedule and route to the classroom. Set up a pretend classroom for practicing walking the halls, entering the classroom, and following the daily schedule. The daily schedule can often be followed reasonably well at home.

Help your child get used to the planned eating times and how to open foods on their own. If your child will be taking their lunch to school, make sure that they can open all of their containers. If they will not be taking their lunch to school, you can still make sure that they know how to open the foods that may be provided.

Talk to your child’s school about fruit cups, juice cartons, milk cartons, and water bottles that may be challenging for their little hands.

First Day of Kindergarten

8) Get To Know The School

The best thing to do to help your child feel more comfortable at school is to get them better acquainted with the environment. If possible, visit the school and explore it. When you see the furniture, or meet the teacher let your child see how they react and interact with others.

That way they will feel more comfortable around those in charge of their education. A lot of kindergartens will have orientation days. ( it may be you are your childs first time but it certainly isn’t the school or the teachers! )

Contact the school to see if you can join the orientation day and see what they have planned. If they don’t do orientation days maybe you could go for a visit to see the classroom and the school. This means it wont be all scary and new on the first day of kindergarten.

9) Try To Find A Friend For Them To Go To School With.

If they are going to school on their first day, it will be easier with a friend, it will distract them from the realities of being away from you and make the journey less stressful. It also means they already know someone in the class which will take some of the worry out of the situation.

If you can’t find a friend, ask the teacher to pair them up with the friendliest child in the class. It will help them make friends quicker and make it easier for them to adjust to school.

First Day of Kindergarten

How To Leave Your Child At School On The First Day

  • Remember that YOU are the most important person in their life! Although they will be having lots of fun be aware it may get tearful when they have to say good bye to you. This will get easier!
  • Wake up early so you can prepare everything before your child wakes up.
  • Have everything prepared, it is a stressful day and you don’t need the added stress of running late!
  • Have something to give your child on their first day of school. Maybe a little certificate or a nice lunch date with you after they return.
  • Take a few pictures with them and print them out so they can put it on the fridge so they feel great about going to school every day. Let them know they are growing up!
  • Give your child a little list for them to draw or fill out so they can tell you what happened during the day. Show them you deeply care about what they will be doing, and want to know what they did on their first day of school.
  • Keep the journey to school light hearted, sing a song in the car or play a game of eye spy or similar. Make sure they know what is happening at all stages.
  • Be prepared that it might all come to a head at the school gates. If you know you have an emotional child you can ask advice from the kindergarten ( they will have seen this so many times) but it is better to explain quickly you will see them in a few hours and they are going to play with some new friends. ( it is hard to walk away when you heard your child crying but drawing it out wont help.)
  • When you pick up your child at the end of the day, tell them you came back, and you will always come back. Let them understand that it is ok to go to school on their own as they will always see you when they have finished.
  • Don’t forget this will be difficult on you as well. Use the time they are at school to treat yourself to something you haven’t done for a while. Resist the temptation to go back early, or to call up and check. You want your children to start developing some independence.

What About Older Children?

Most of the time, parents and older children do okay until it is time to transition from primary or elementary to junior high or high school. These transitions come at times where children are ready not to feel so much like little kids, but the prospect of being more mature is scary too.

Help your child see that you will always be there for them and that you will love them no matter what. Children need to know that no matter how much they grow, they will always be the most important people in your lives.

Spend some one-on-one time with them and help them plan for times they miss you. If your child’s school allows mobile devices, have them take your picture and bring it up when they need a mom or dad smile.

They often already have the words for anxiety and fear. If they seem incredibly anxious, consider taking a trip to a mental health professional. You can show them that you love them and that their health is important all at once. Some anxiety is expected, however. Don’t be afraid to let them experience their emotions.

how to teach sight words

College Transition

The final school transition for parents is the college transition. Teach your children the social and self-care tips they need before leaving home. Teach them cooking and cleaning skills and offer them a hotline to you whenever they feel scared, frustrated, or sad.

No matter how old we get, our parents are our biggest influences. Even married children often want their moms during an illness. As a parent, it is understandable to feel scared or worried when your child transitions to this adult life stage.

Your relationship will change, but that doesn’t mean that it will not be fulfilling. Some parents find the best connection with their kids later in life.

Final Thoughts

School transitions are hard whether your child is five or twenty five. You want what is best for them, but you don’t know if you are making the right choices. You will all do fine with a little preparation and honesty. Whether it is the first day of kindergarten or moving to their own place, as long as you have taken the time to prepare them you can be confident they will totally fine.

Let them feel the feelings and be honest about your own. You will both be better off understanding each other. These transitions are tough, but you can do it. I wish we could say they get easier, but you can take comfort in the fact that you have prepared your children as well as you can for each stage.

How to teach Sight Words And What Are They?

HOW TO TEACH SIGHT WORDS AND WHAT ARE THEY_

If you have a young reader or a child in kindergarten, you have probably heard the terms sight words, High Frequency words, and Dolch words ether from your children or their teacher. However, if you grew up before these were a feature in classrooms, these terms may be confusing to you. We will take a look at what they are, and what they are used for here.

Sight words, together with phonics provide the bedrock of children’s reading. Playing games with flash cards, online or in the classroom will allow students to practice and recognize these words by sight. This allows them to try independent reading as the majority Children’s literature is made of sight words.

What Are Sight Words?

If you are sitting there not knowing your sight words from your Dolch lists and high frequency words that’s just fine. Check the table below and we go through the differences ( not that many) between them. Sight words are often divided into two or three categories.

The first is high-frequency words. These words are found frequently in nearly every text your child will ever read. They are, often but not always, decodable words, meaning they can be easily determined using typical phonics skills. These are so common that, after a while, readers will decode them on sight. Readers no longer have to think about the word.

The Dolch word list is a list of common English words that can be used to teach reading. These lists were complied by Edward William Dolch. He created this list to help struggling readers become more independent and confident readers. by researching the most common words used in children’s books. It was about 70 years ago so these will have changed of course. As a rule these lists do not contain nouns, and the original 220 word list aimed to cover 50-70% of the words found in childrens books.

The other types of sight words are the words that are not easily decoded using phonics. Sight words are the words that young readers have to learn to read without the reading skills they have been learning. These words do not follow typical spelling or pronunciation conventions. They need to be recognized on sight rather than decoded. They are often very common words in English.

Differences between High Frequency
and Sight Words
High Frequency WordsSight Words
Are likely to make up to 25% of any text
High Frequency Words are usually decodable words
While they are very common in all literature,
they are REALLY common in Children’s literature.


Combined with High Frequency Words sight words
can make up 50% of ANY text
The majority do not follow phonics rules
and are not decodable.
Sight words do not have to be common words.
Teaching sight words

Is There a List of Sight Words?

Oh yes, there are probably more lists of sight words on the internet than there are sight words. One reason high-frequency words are included in this list is that they are sometimes not decodable early in reading instruction, but they do usually follow phonics rules. You can access a list here that is both printable downloadable.

Even with rigorous instruction and work, children don’t master the first 100 high-frequency words until nearly halfway through their first-grade year[1]. Assuming that they attended kindergarten, that is a year and a half worth of work. For children who also attended preschool, that can be two to three years of work.

Some links for you to grab those lists. No need to buy them unless you are looking to save time on design / want cards as there are so many of these its crazy

These links go outside this website, so we will be compiling our own at some point so we know they wont disappear in the future 🙂

Why Teach Sight Words?

Sight words improve your child’s reading ability in several ways. Children will learn at different paces and a variety of ways, so don’t expect any two to learn them at the same rate or the same list of words. If there are so many lists and ways to learn, you may be wondering why we even teach them.

Why Are Sight Words Important?

  • There are multiple benefits to learning sight words early. When children learn sight words, they learn a skill that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Language is much easier to learn as a 10 year old then a 30 year old!
  • Students who know sight words can read faster and more easily than those who do not know them. Sight-word readers can recognize elements of text automatically before having to use any decoding strategies.
  • It also allows a base vocabulary to be developed and allow real tangible use of language. it gives students quick wins in their English language journey which is hugely beneficial for both motivation and encouragement.
  • A huge range of Children books will contain High frequency, Dolch and Sight words. this allows children to quickly learn to read and comprehend these simpler stories.
  • The more words you know how to read, the better you will read. That is a very simple concept, but it is true. Likewise, broader vocabularies improve reading comprehension. Many of these sight words are crucial to reading comprehension in early grades. Some of these words include: of, have, and was. These words are instrumental in young children’s reading development.
how to teach sight words

Sight Words Improve Reading Skills

  • By teaching students different sight words and how to read them, it allows them to be more familiar with what they will be reading in the future. This helps with developing their language skills as well as their writing and reading skills.
  • By learning words by sight, especially words that don’t follow phonics rules, children have a base vocabulary. it means they have more time to use their phonics skills on words that can be decoded and then both skills are being practiced.
  • Learning sight words can help students learn how to read quickly, and the more they can read, the more texts they read the more they learn. The more they learn the more they can put this knowledge into action and practice in other subjects as well as English.
  • Being able to read, both in Native and second language is a great confidence and motivational boost for all levels of English students, by having this base vocabulary they will be able to understand and make more associations.

Sight Words Make Phonics Instruction Easier

  • Learning sight words can help you teach phonics more effectively. First, you will already have a list of words that do not follow typical phonics patterns that you can demonstrate as exceptions. They will already be familiar with these words, so you do not have to teach them a phonics rule and an exception at the same time.
  • English is hard. People used to assert that it was the most complicated language to learn. The level of difficulty is subjective, but the truth is that English has more exceptions than rules, it seems. Just consider the “rule” “i before e except after c.” The rule itself lists an exception.
  • Knowing these non-decodable words already gives you a way to scaffold their knowledge. Scaffolding is often cited as the best way to teach new information.
  • Students ability to have this core word knowledge of words that they don’t need to decode, especially if Dolch or High Frequency. With these words being so common in children’s books it will allow them to focus on recognizing words that can be decoded. it will develop an inbuilt pattern recognition in English which they can then apply as their texts get more complex in following years.
how to teach sight words

Read Up to 50% of All Texts

Many experts estimate that up to half of all texts are made up of the high-frequency and sight words. This percentage increases dramatically in children’s literature. If your child learns to read those at an early age, they can breeze through many of the texts that they find in their homes and schools. Children will be readier to learn more reading skills if they already feel successful.

As an example Cat in the Hat, (a little dated now of course) is almost entirely made up by words on the Dolch list. You can check out this link to see how that works for Green eggs and ham as well.

Allow Students with Disabilities to Communicate

  • Sometimes learning sight words can help people with disabilities in communication. Learning to recognize these words on sight helps students with disabilities build reading skills and often recognize words essential for communication.
  • Sight words can be very beneficial to students who have learning disabilities. Sight word recognition is a key component to reading. By being able to recognize these words, it will help the student in being able to decode the word and gain meaning from it as well.
  • A student with reading disabilities may take a little longer than other children to learn how to read. A student who has learning disabilities may take an extra year or two before they are able to decode a word on their own, however sight words allow them to still be able to be read something even if they can not decode it by themselves as of yet.
  • Since they are often coupled with high-frequency words, these words are often those necessary for acquiring assistance, food, or shelter.

Sight Words are Rebels

Sight words are rebels. They don’t follow simple phonics instructions. The high-frequency words that follow phonics rules often follow the more advanced rules and are more challenging to understand. Therefore, students must learn these high-frequency words without the benefit of rules and “sounding out” the combination of letters. These words must be learned on sight.

Learning words that don’t follow the rules also opens the conversation for children to learn that each rule tends to have exceptions. English is challenging because of rebel words, parts of speech, and context. Learning sight words can help children understand examples of these rules and to be prepared for them when they encounter them in the future.

how to teach sight words

All Words Have The Potential To Become Sight Words

The goal of reading fluency is to make all words sight words. If sight words can be read without decoding, think about how you read. Sure, some words are hard from time to time, and you may need to decode them. You still use those skills that you learned in early elementary school.

Sounding out context clues, dictionaries (or apps), and root words are often used by adults learning new words. While paper dictionaries have given way to digital ones and Google, they are still invaluable in finding the solution to what a new word might mean.

We also use the dictionary to teach us how to pronounce the word and what the contexts are. However, quickly, children and adults learn these words, and they become a part of their vocabulary. They no longer need to decode them and can quickly move through a text. Beginning with sight words can help the brain get used to just looking at some words and knowing what it means.

Which Should Be Taught First Phonics Or Sight Words?


The answer is that it depends on the student. Sight words are said to be important, but phonics, which is breaking down a word into its individual letters and sounds and then putting them back together to make a word, should not be ignored.

Children need both skills in order to be successful readers. In order to read fluently, they need sight recognition and decoding skills. These two skills function together to help children figure out the meaning of what they are reading.

Some children need to develop a better understanding of letter sounds first before learning phonics. Some can understand several sight words before learning to read. Generally speaking we encourage both to be taught simultaneously, children should be read to every day and encouraged to read as much as possible.

It is important for parents and teachers to give their students all of the tools that they need in order for them to learn how to read effectively.

This is where we can help you achieve that. We are a resource site ( not just a blog) if you you check some of the links in this article they will lead you to mostly free and some paid resources to help both with phonics and sight words. We have our 7 workbook Phonics set below Which with 373 pages of activities is HUGE!

Tips For Teaching Sight Words.

Sight words can be taught using the following methods: Sequencing, repeating, reading, writing and digital resources. The more ways or methods you can use the more different learning styles you will address and the more success ALL your students will have.

Children can learn the sight words simply with flash cards and flash card games. However making a game of it is always better. There is quite a cute bubble gum pop game we sue that is super simple and always has children playing at recess and free time as well as lessons. We are actually making our own version put in the mean time here is the Amazon link below if you want the professional version.

Although rote learning is not “completely” ineffective, students can learn by using other strategies such as the word family strategy. Students could learn to recognize sight words by learning how to read and write short words that are similar.
Once they have learned these short sight words, they can advance to longer-word learned sight words. This strategy is known as the word family strategy because students are already familiar with a pattern of letters used to form a word and using this knowledge produces an easier way for them to read larger words that derive from it.

School often use word banks. A word bank is series of words that your child is learning at school. Ideally if your children’s school is teaching reading skills these will be a mix of sight and decodable words. If not, maybe you could ask the teacher to do this, or even split them yourself.

When teaching sight words make sure you do it as an integrated activity. This, although a little work, is really the most effective way to ensure your students do not ”learn for the test” and forget afterwards. Have readers, and literature in the classroom or home that contains these words.

We have a HUGE selection of elementary reading passages that contain most of these words for download in our workbooks. The picture link is below for our Kindergarten and grade 1, and our grade 2 to grade 4 Workbooks.

What are sight words

Classroom Games and Activities To Teach Sight Words.

There are many games that students can play in order to learn sight words. These games can be flexible and adjusted to different age groups and learning abilities. This really requires an article on its own ( we are n the process of writing it for both classroom resources and online games) However here are a classroom game, a word wall idea, a card game and an online game to get you started here!

“BINGO”. its like this game was invented to teach sight words. Simply read from a list of words, print the bingo cards and the children have to mark off the words as they hear them. They win if they get a complete line or complete card. You can offer prizes or stickers if you want a little reward for them.

Word walls in classrooms are good to create an English environment, this is even more important in an ESL setting . This way, students would be able to read the words and get tips during the lessons. (not everything has to be a test!!)


An alternative would be to hang blank walls in the classroom. Students can write any word that they wish on any wall and then a certain time, all the words will be erased and then new ones will be made. This can help children learn how to recognize and remember sight words better. Moreover, you also give your classroom a personalized feel with colorful on walls that could possibly help in children’s motivation as well.

Flash cards and card games can be used to help students learn sight words. You can create a word game of sorts in which the students will look at the word bank then play a card game with sight word cards and then review them during class time.
This works great for the ESL student, who need to practice, practice, practice!

Word Hop and Pop by Making English Fun ( which is us!) is a useful online game for students because it helps them to learn different words and letters both visually and by listening. We did make this game as Phonics game, however in both of the games we also have two sections and games for sight words. This is free to play and you can check it out here.

How many words a week should we teach to students?

Children learn different sight words at different rates. Some may learn 15 words in one day and some may need quite a few days to learn the same number. On average, it is recommended that children be taught or introduced to 30 to 50 new sight words per week, the actual figure is 7 a day.

Teachers should be aware if they are going to fast for their students though and be prepared to adapt when required.

It is important for parents and teachers to provide students with lessons on how to read these new words in context as this will help them solidify what they have already learned.

Children should also be given lots of opportunities to practice reading the words, in order for them to gain confidence when they are trying to read something aloud or memorize it for a test or quiz.

How Can Parents Help Their Children Learn Sight Words?

Children must have plenty of time to practice these new words and learn how to use them in the context of other sentences. It is recommended that children be exposed to their current and new word list at least three times a week.

The reason for this is because they will be able to better remember the words that they are practicing by using them on a consistent basis in context. try playing games at home or in the car to help reinforce the new words that you are working on in your child’s lessons.

Sight words are important for students to learn because they are essential for them to being able to read in the future. Sight words should be taught at every grade level. Children need more time and practice to master these sight words as they get older.

In order for students to learn sight words, there must be time spent outside of normal class time on learning them. This will help embed knowledge of how these words can be used in a sentence and so it is easier for the students to remember and use the word correctly later on.


If you have just started using these resources, we encourage you to look at the different ways that you can use them in your home or classroom. By providing multiple ways for students to learn, it will keep them engaged with the material and make things more interesting. Plus, this will help reinforce the lessons learned from other areas.

Final Thoughts

There are dozens of reasons to teach sight words. You can also do this in a variety of ways. Children learn with repetition and play. Children are eager learners, and with a solid base of sight words, they can learn to read and do nearly anything else.

They can read most of the texts available to them, and they can pick up new words rapidly. We gain most of our vocabularies in our earliest years of life. Children already know these words in spoken communication. Learning them as an extension of their written communication is a logical first step and one that will lead to many more steps on their reading journey.

We have huge amounts of resources to help you teach reading , both in our Free Section and in our shop. Feel free to browse and download what you need. 🙂


[1] https://www.thesecretstories.com/how-phonics-works/sight-words/

Why is English Difficult For Japanese Speakers: Problems and Solutions

TEACHING ENGLISH TO JAPANESE SPEAKERS_ PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS

English is often considered one of the most complicated languages on Earth to learn, and Japanese is sometimes considered one of the easiest by speakers of languages other than English. Clearly, English and Japanese do not interchange very well. Teaching English to Japanese speakers comes with challenges but none of them are insurmountable.

While English uses words from around the world, Japanese influences are minute comparatively. People often wonder why English and Japanese do not go well together. Many things contribute to this, but let’s consider some of the most common complaints for native Japanese speakers learning to speak English.

Native Japanese speakers have difficulty in learning English due to a host of factors. Differences in Written forms from Alphabet to Kanji, A lack of exposure to the English, cultural importance on language learning, grammar structures and the fluid nature of English can all cause barriers to learning.

Just before we get into some of the problems Japanese speakers may have. We have a LOAD of free resources here to help with phonics and tricky sounds. So if you are a teacher who has found your way here you can check these out in our portfolio.

The Order of Words for Japanese Speakers

One of the most significant differences between English and Japanese is the sentence structure and syntax. Many Asian English Language Learners notice that this is an issue. Both Eastern and Western Asian languages may have different syntaxes than English. Japanese sentences tend to have their verbs at the end, whereas English places those right after the subject, most of the time.

Additionally, English word order also seems very challenging to grasp. Adjective order is often cited as a challenge. One college professor asked his class to put this set of adjectives together: fabulous, four, and French with the word girls.

Most people in the class said, “Four fabulous French girls.” However, when he asked them why they chose as they did, no one knew. They just went in that order. Surely there is a rule, but no one, even those studying English for decades, knew the name of the rule. ( if you want to know we have the order of adjectives rules in this post!) This is not just a issue when teaching English to Japanese speakers it is difficult for everyone!

ProblemSolution
English has a different order of words to JapaneseThis can take some getting used to, but it’s not that bad. As you progress with Learning English these will be explained to you and here are a couple of things you can do are:
-Use a dictionary to see what the word means and how it’s used in context and example sentences so you can start to understand sentence order.
-If you’re reading something, try and spot where things like verbs are and what they follow.
Teaching English to Japanese Speakers

English Has Many Exceptions

Because English borrows from so many different languages, it has exceptions to nearly every grammar or spelling rule. Most other languages do not have this many exceptions.

English makes learning more challenging. All languages borrow from others sometimes, but they tend to create a space for those alongside their own words. They often borrow concepts instead of words.

Exceptions also extend beyond grammar and spelling rules. Sure, “i before e” and other grammar rules are frustrating, but other concepts sometimes have exceptions. For instance, a person trying to translate from their language into English may encounter a list of choices for one word.

Presumably, these are all synonyms. However, context and syntax often cloud these choices. Part of this is the sheer number of definitions a word has and how it is used. Take the word sheer. Looking up a synonym in a thesaurus might provide words like steep, perpendicular, or translucent.

If you have also used the word clear to talk about English words being clear, you might mistake sheer to be translucent. This word doesn’t mean the same thing. English language learners often choose the first definition or synonym they see because they do not know the nuances and differences. So sheer means translucent, except when it’s used to mean steep or pure.

ProblemSolution
English has so many Grammar exceptions compared to Japanese it makes it difficult to learn.This is unfortunately true, English has quite a few words that are spelt the same way, but mean different things, and words spelt differently that mean the same thing. It is confusing, but remember you don’t have to learn all these things in the first lesson. As you use the language you will develop background knowledge. A couple of things you can do is ask a native learner to explain it in more detail, or keep a record of the exceptions you find and look them up later.

It is hard when you are learning a new language, if the material doesn’t make sense it will be difficult for you to learn from it. You may have trouble understanding what they mean or how certain words should be used.

If this happens you could try looking on YouTube and see if there is an explanation video of your problem topic, or ask someone who speaks better English than yourself so they can help with explaining grammar points more clearly. There are also plenty of resources online about teaching English to Japanese speakers as well, which might just do the trick!

Teaching English to Japanese Speakers

Figurative Language And Japanese Speakers

Many languages use figurative language at least a little. However, many languages only use them in creative writing or concepts. English is full of them. Phrases like raining cats and dogs, biting the bullet (this one has logical roots), and an arm and a leg are often used to convey the severity of something.

These seem strange to hear. If you know the origins of some of them, they make more sense, but most nonnative speakers are not going to know the origins of these phrases.

Bite the bullet likely began on the battlefield before adequate medical care could be administered. Soldiers would sometimes bite down on a bullet or piece of wood when they could not be anesthetized. They were told just to bite the bullet and get it over with.

ProblemSolution
There are so many idioms and Figurative language in English it is hard to learn.There are a lot of idioms and figurative language in English. It can also vary from place to place. No one expects any second language learner to be able to just pick them up. Sometimes people in the same country have no idea what some of them mean! If you accept that sometimes things will need further explanation this become much more of a fun task than a worrying task. If you REALLY want to try to learn some to make your speech more natural you can go online to research some or buy a big book Of idioms from Amazon.
Learning should be fun, so have fun with some of these!

That means if you can hear how the words sound in your mind then you might be able to understand them better so try listening out for those! You can check out this page for some of the common idioms you may come across. to put your mind at rest, I am actually English and some Idon’t understand either!

Also, please PLEASE take heart that these terms, slang and phrases may be very local indeed. In fact the British often joke with each other about the different meanings and pronunciations of words and phrases between their two versions of English. If native English speakers get confused, then you shouldn’t if you are teaching English to Japanese speakers either.

Teaching English to Japanese Speakers

Teaching Phonics To Japanese Speakers

Each language has its own letter system and phonetics. English has a little more than forty. On the other hand, Japanese has less than thirty. While these numbers do not seem so far apart, when you consider the sounds required to make words, Japanese speakers are just not accustomed to making these sounds.

This doesn’t mean that they cannot learn, but some letter sounds do not exist in their current repertoire. It may sound simple, but consider that when people read, they tend to say the words. Also, speech is a significant part of communication.

When mispronouncing words, native Japanese speakers find communication difficult and frustrating. Their English-speaking counterparts may be left at a loss to assist because they do not understand. You should try to be aware of this when teaching English to Japanese speakers.

ProblemSolution
The alphabet, sounds and writing system is very different from JapaneseYou can make this no problem at all! With a little practice, you’ll find that reading the alphabet is just as easy and natural to read as Japanese kanji. We mention this below as well but … Practice, practice, and more practice! Look up the sounds in a dictionary if you’re unsure of how to pronounce them. You can also find translation sites that will read sounds out so you can follow. We have our Phonics and online games on this site to help.

Just like with English dialects, not all people will say words exactly the same way as one another — just because someone says “passed” doesn’t mean everyone else does too. In fact Native speakers often make fun ( nicely most of the time) of each other accents as a sign of friendship.

English is a world language now, it doesn’t belong to the UK, or the USA it belongs to the world. All you are doing is adding your spin on it to millions of others. However, it is important to make your spin understandable, so if really unsure you can pop words or sounds into google translate or similar and listen to the pronunciation and try to copy them, or at least practice them.

Teaching English to Japanese Speakers
Teaching English to Japanese Speakers

Importance of English In Japan

In many countries worldwide, English is emphasized in school and business. However, in Japan, this is not the case. Even business English isn’t required. You may be wondering why they learn it in school.

They only learn limited English concepts and do not speak fluently even after so many years of instruction. Consider US high schools that require two years of a foreign language or college majors that do the same. What do you really remember from Spanish 101 or French 212? Sure, some people become fluent, but most of it is for exam scores only.

ProblemSolution
There is not much exposure to English in JapanWatch movies, listen to the radio, or find a bilingual partner. Practice speaking English with friends and family members until you feel more confident. If nobody is around then try watching videos on YouTube where people are answering questions about their hobbies or how they spend their free time. If you look further you will see loads of videos made to help Japanese speakers from teachers on YouTube as well.
Teaching English to Japanese Speakers

English Alphabet and Japanese Kanji.

Alphabets and written symbols vary worldwide, though many use the current English alphabet. Asian languages tend to use a more symbol-derived system, and some languages write right to left rather than left to right. Japanese is one of these Asian languages that uses an entirely different written communication system.

This is not to say that speakers of Japanese can’t learn the English alphabet or vice versa. However, this requires some retraining of the brain to make the words make sense through written communication.

ProblemSolution
The alphabet and writing system is very different from JapaneseIt’s no problem at all! With a little practice, you’ll find that reading the alphabet is just as easy and natural to read as Japanese kanji. Putting it into practice, well that takes practice! But with just 26 letters and 44+ sounds the actual learning of the symbols and sounds is the relatively easy part. When to use them, well that comes in time. We have loads of phonics and English resources you can use on the site to help with teaching / learning the sounds of English. We also have English online games you can play to practice as well.
Teach English In Japan

Cultural differences

The culture of the Japanese makes learning English less likely. Japanese culture is very anti-mistake. This is sometimes a good thing. It means that they take everything into consideration when learning a new skill. However, with an incredibly challenging language such as English, many students do not want to fail.

They resist learning for fear of failure. Live Japan describes it as, “Japanese people grow up with the awareness that everyone’s eyes are constantly on them, and said shyness is coupled with the discomfort of speaking in front of others – and that also goes for classrooms.” The fear of mistakes as a culture makes English a lower priority.

ProblemSolution
I am worried about making mistakes when i learn EnglishPractice speaking in English with a partner, or just by yourself when you need to. The more you practice the less mistakes will happen naturally. Although making mistakes is actually welcomed, and is a good way to learn, we understand in some cultures it is not as welcome. Try to think of every mistake as a learning opportunity and embrace it. If you have real trouble with that then consider hiring a tutor or using a personal app or online tutor. For example, Memrise has free courses designed specifically with Japanese speakers who want more practice speaking English, and this can be done in a risk free environment.

Final Thoughts

Japanese and English couldn’t be more different, it seems. Both languages are challenging for the other to learn. Native Japanese speakers have much to overcome, from their own fears to the differences in spoken, written, and unwritten communication.

The nuances of each language are remarkably different. There is nothing more challenging than trying to learn to speak a new language while also relearning the alphabet for shy learners. Native Japanese speakers can learn English with the proper supports and practice. The most emphasis must be placed on areas that differ strongly from Japanese. Teaching English to Japanese speakers is both rewarding for teachers and students.


How To Teach Writing To Left handed Students

HOW TO TEACH WRITING TO LEFT-HANDED STUDENTS

Did you know that left handed students used to be forced to write with their right hands? Until the mid-to-late twentieth century, some schools were still practicing this tactic. As a young child, I remember my teacher forcing a child to switch hands because “She didn’t know how to teach someone who was lefthanded.” So is it really that different teaching writing to left handed students?

This sentiment struck me as odd because it seems it would be the same as any other child. However, holding the pencil, hand strokes, and ink smears all combine to make this a little more challenging. Perhaps challenging is the wrong word, it means a little bit more thought and consideration has to be given on how to help your students and children.

Teaching left-handed students to write can be achieved with a few adaptations. Using techniques like mirroring, paper positioning and grip training will help left-handed students develop writing skills. Resources specifically designed for left handers are also available like pens, binders and notebooks.

Is Teaching Left Handed Writing That Much Harder?

Hard or difficulty is subjective when talking about teaching children anything. Some teachers find teaching handwriting exhausting, while others don’t mind it. Whichever camp you fall into, some things must be considered when teaching a left-handed student.

Hand over hand techniques tend to be much more natural for a right-handed teacher with a right-handed child. You may not be able to use the same methods when teaching left handed writing to a child that you do with a right handed child. However, you can help any child be successful as a writer you just need to do a little research, have a little empathy and learn some new or adapt some old approaches.

We will cover some of these below to help you with the research and the new approaches, the empathy aspect is all on you guys though!

HOW TO TEACH WRITING TO LEFT-HANDED STUDENTS

Should I Just Ask Left Handed Students to Switch Hands?

Noooo, you should never ask a left-handed person to switch. Asking a left-handed person to change their genetics isn’t fair or logical. Handedness is genetic, and while you can be taught to do something else, it’s not easy. Left-handed students will experience this their entire lives.

Spending about 5 minutes trying to do any daily large motor skills tasks with your less dominant hand will show you why this is such a bad idea, never mind a fine motor skill like writing. If you happen to be ambidextrous, well, well done you, you have the best of both hands worlds.

They will always find right-handed tools, cooking utensils, and notebooks because it is a right-handed-centric world. After all, roughly 90% of the world is right-handed. The BBC estimates that only about 10% of the population is left-handed, and they note that the origin of the term left stems from lyft, meaning weak

Despite the Etymology of the word left handed certainly doesn’t equate to weak. Similarly it doesn’t make them special, dysfunctional, annoying, gifted or anything else.

They simply have their dexterity in their left hand. Asking them to switch makes it seems as though there is something dysfunctional about them. There isn’t. So what can we do to help them learn to write.

HOW TO TEACH WRITING TO LEFT-HANDED STUDENTS

Tips for Teaching Left Handed Writing

Teachers and parents of left handed children know that teaching a left-handed student can be difficult. Often times, they are struggling to write with their less dominant hand in an attempt to fit in, or please or follow others and have trouble writing legibly. The following are some tips for teachers and parents on how to teach a left-handed child:

  1. Make sure they have a left handed desk and chair
  2. Use Left handed materials ( see below) where possible
  3. Where possible ( if you teacher younger learners) label these resources or color code them so left handed students know the materials aimed for them.
  4. Give them plenty of practice with drawing and writing in the air before letting them try on paper
  5. Teach them how to hold a pen properly so it doesn’t hurt their fingers or palm when writing
  6. Don’t force anything – if they’re struggling too much then let it go until they’re ready for more input from you!

Tilt the Paper, Not the Hand

One of the biggest mistakes that lefties make is curving their hand to write. Rather than creating the proper angle using a crooked hand, encourage left-handed students to shift the paper. It is generally suggested that the paper and arm make a 90° angle The paper should be tilted to the right to make writing straight.

Proper Grip

One of the most important things to teach children who are learning to write is a proper grip. Left-handed children sometimes have trouble forming the tripod grip, so you may need to work with them a little more. Occasionally a special grip can help perfect the pencil hold.

Don’t resort to special tools, though, until recommended by an occupational therapist, as they are often unnecessary and used prematurely and children will learn to rely on them to early.

HOW TO TEACH WRITING TO LEFT-HANDED STUDENTS

Mirroring to Teach Left Handed Writing

Mirroring is the teaching method that has a teacher sit across from a student and perform the activity as they would. The right-handed teacher would tie shoes using the right and or write their name as they would normally. Seeing how it is done from a mirror perspective can help them see how to do it using the left hand.

Larger Letters Are Easier to Teach Left handed Writing

Larger straight lines are easier to master for most children. With lefties trying to navigate this new world of writing, this can especially be true. Allow them to write big letters to become comfortable with how they are formed.

Gross motor skills are easier to learn than fine motor skills and the size can be scaled down when they have mastered over sized letters.

Cross Letters and Os

The crossbars on capital A, E, F, H, J, and T and lowercase f and t are often written “backward” according to righties’ patterns. Os will often also be made clockwise rather than anticlockwise. These are minor differences and shouldn’t be corrected unless it is causing problems with writing legibility.

Left-Handed Spaces

If your classroom uses desks with armbars, be sure that some are available for left-handed students. They can use a right-handed desk, but left desks will be much more ergonomic for their writing and notetaking.

In addition to the left-handed surface, putting a lefty on the left side of a lab table or any group position will make their writing more comfortable. They won’t feel that they are bumping their classmates while taking notes.

Not many teachers ask this information of parents in reception or elementary schools, but a little prior planning will make your lefties feel both welcomed and catered for without drawing attention to them.

Left-Handed Materials

Many people know that gloves, scissors, and desks come in left-handed varieties, but some books are also left-handed friendly. If you require students to use a binder, allow the left handed children to take the paper out before writing and replace it after.

Removing the paper keeps them from having to write at an unnatural angle to navigate around the rings. Some composition books and workbooks are also starting to be manufactured to help lefties. Seek these out when possible. We have some links below and through the post if needed.

Resources and Links: This is not an exhaustive list of all left-handed friendly materials, but it’s a good start. The pens are a really nice touch.

Is Cursive Easier For Left or Right Handed Writers

A study has shown that left handed students will be more successful with cursive writing. This is because they are naturally inclined to use the same hand for both directions of lettering and not have a cross-over effect where letters would go from right to left or vice versa, as seen in print handwriting.

This may mean that your left handed students may benefit from having the practice of cursive writing introduced earlier in the curriculum.

We have a cursive booklet for download here as well if you want to check it out.

We also have an article on cursive for kindergarten ( although its a little young it might help teaching left handed writing as well) It would also be useful for elementary school as well.

The left handed student may also benefit from using a smaller cursive font size, having wider margins for their writing assignments and being allowed to use both hands when practicing handwriting skills as well as other strategies like rotating papers clockwise or counterclockwise so that they can see what they are doing more easily.

Support Left Handed Writers

Teaching left-handed writers is not that different from teaching right-handed ones. Be supportive when they are having difficulties. Sometimes, they have trouble because it’s such a right-handed-centric world.

They feel left out and inadequate because they can’t find the tools they need, and the world seems set against them. Teachers who complain that teaching lefties is too hard create animosity. Be supportive.

Loosen Up Left Handed Grips

Left-handed children often grip their pencils too tightly. Tight grips cause fatigue in the hand and arm, and children struggle to create letters. Starting with big letters, as mentioned above, can loosen the grip, but you can also encourage children to hold the pencil firmly without tensing the muscles. Firm doesn’t need to mean tight.

This is important, writing is difficult mentally for younger children without it then becoming a discomfiting experience physical as well.

The right hand naturally moves across the page and children may find it easier to write letters that move from left-to-right. The left hand, which is pushing down on paper when writing, has a more difficult time making those same strokes because of the natural curl in their fingers.

Using both hands for tasks like coloring can help teach kids how they should hold the pencil so they are able to make these movements with ease.

Having them sit upright at an angle where their dominant arm is lower than their other ones helps keep blood flowing through vessels close to brain too! This improves moods as well as keeps energy levels high throughout work session. And who doesn’t want happy students?

Organize The Paper Position For Teaching Left Handed Writing.

Children writing left-handed often find it easier to write if the paper is not only angled but also slightly above the right-handed line. They do have trouble with smearing since their hand goes across the markings. By bringing the paper slightly higher, it will help them drop their hand slightly below the line.

Left handed writing tips

Place Papers on the Left and Books on the Right

It’s much easier to write when the paper is on the dominant side. If your child is left-handed, help them position the books and papers so that they can see clearly while they write. Trying to read across themselves is unnatural and inefficient.

This will also help them check the work for errors (later on in school life) and develop good habits for the future.

Left-handed people are potentially more likely to develop carpal tunnel syndrome, so it’s important for them to do things that will prevent this. One way is by taking regular breaks while writing and typing on the computer. A study found that those who took five minute breaks every two hours had less inflammation in their wrists than those who didn’t take any break at all!

Another strategy they recommend is spreading papers out on a table instead of just stacking one pile atop another. This helps keep your wrist straight as you write—something needed for good posture and circulation.

While there may be some struggles involved with being left-handed, these strategies can help kids learn how to overcome them!

Final Thoughts

There is no one way to teach someone to write left-handed. The main things you need are compassion, patience, and creativity. Lefties were born that way, and they are perfect as they are. Help your lefty feel comfortable writing by providing support, helping with hand placement, pencil grip, and paper placement.

Sometimes, they may need reasonable accommodations like removing papers from binders or using a different type of desk. Be ready to help your lefty succeed.

If you want a downloadable advice sheet the NHS in the UK has this handy booklet on how to help left handers master writing here for free download.


How to Prepare Your Child for A Kindergarten Interview

Kindergarten Interview tips

One of the hardest and most important things you will ever do as a parent is providing your children with a good education. No matter your socioeconomic status, you want your child to have the best possible education and in todays competitive world that can can mean a kindergarten interview.

We want to make sure that you are both ready, so let’s look at how to help yourself and your child prepare for this interview. As teachers, we are not fans of introducing competition this early on in education at all!

However, we all have to play the hand we are dealt, and as these kindergarten interviews become more and more popular a lot of parents are being caught not knowing how to prepare. We look at a few steps to help you in this article.

Kindergarten Interview tips

Parent Tips Before the Interview.

No blog post,( not even ours) internet guru, or book is going to teach you how to remain calm in the face of adversity. You will get better at these things as time goes on.

However, we can provide you with some tips for remaining as calm as possible. one of the things to remember is it is likely that the kindergarten interview is likely to be more about you than your child!

Don’t Stress to Much About a Kindergarten Interview.

You will hope that your little one aces the kindergarten interview, and you will worry about his or her answers. Don’t! You need to let go of the illusion of perfection. Educators know that children get nervous, don’t want to participate when it’s time, and are strong-willed.

You shouldn’t be embarrassed because your child is human. They will make mistakes, and you shouldn’t be so focused on perfection. You aren’t a perfect parent (you are fantastic, though), and teachers already know that.

Practice Relaxation Techniques

Deep breaths, closing your eyes, and visualization techniques can keep you calm. Listen to the right kind of music to help you relax. Go for a walk or a run if you need to get some energy out. This demonstration is actually good for your children to see.

You can do this together, make sure that you all have a good nights sleep before the interview the night before and arrive on time as well! Rushing around before hand will stress you and your child. Plan your time well!

They will see that nervousness is not a bad thing, but practicing calming techniques can be effective. Be their role model and things will go much smoother.

Help Your Child Feel Comfortable

When your child senses nervousness from you, they will feel nervous too. They will want to do well and not disappoint you. It is most important to let them know you will help them prepare and only want them to be happy. Let them know that doing their best is the best thing they can do. You will not be disappointed.

Let them know what is going to happen, tell them they will have to play with some other children listen to and answer some questions, and just to be themselves. If they don’t sense the tension from you they will perform much better. Which leads us to the next point.

Kindergarten Interview tips

Understand the Purpose

Yes, the point of the kindergarten interview is to get them into the best school possible. However, even neighborhood schools do kindergarten assessments. These assessments are meant to help your child once they arrive as students.

They want to know how well your children perform cognitive, motor, self-care, and language-oriented tasks. They are not there to scrutinize your child and judge them or you as a parent. They need to make sure that they are prepared to handle all the needs their students have.

Even advanced students have individualized needs. They need more enrichment than other children. These assessments are not designed to be harsh, just helpful. the issue is usually when to much competition is introduced outside of the actual kindergarten, in peer and parent groups

Example Interview Questions for Parents of Kindergarteners.

Preparing Your Child

Your child will probably not care much about the kindergarten interview, but you understand how important the right school is for them. You don’t want to skill and drill them until they are exasperated. They are still very young and you want them to see it as place they can enjoy attending, not one that is full of stress.

We have a lot of free resources and some premium resources that are both fun and educational if you want your children to have a head start.

Talk About What the Interview Will Mean

Talk to your child about what they will experience and when. Say things like “On Tuesday, you are going to see a new school. We might want you to go to that school. Some of the teachers and people who work there might ask you some questions. Today is Friday.”

Using words like kindergarten interview are not important to your child. Understanding what they are expected to do is important to them. You might even review some of the questions they might be asked. You might just ask the questions as though you want to know.

Children don’t mind talking about themselves. Here are a few of the questions or tasks that may be asked in this type of interview.

Kindergarten Interview tips

Example Tasks at Kindergarten Interview

  • Children are likely to be asked a series of questions to see who puts up their hands and wants to answer. Checking confidence levels rather than knowledge.
  • These questions will be fairly simple, who do you live with, what is your favorite animal and the like. It is trying to put children at easy and get them talking to both the teacher and amongst themselves.
  • They may uses stickers or little gifts ( as they will do in class as well) to offer some extrinsic motivation for the students as well.
  • They may be asked to recognize shapes and colors, and almost certainly some type of alphabet and number recognition tasks included as well.
  • There may also be some reading / listening tasks asking children to try simple comprehension skills and inferencing as well.
  • Understanding of instructions will be checked through out the activities and interview. (all teachers like their instructions followed!) It may even be done with a simple game like Simon Says or similar.

Example Kindergarten Interview Questions For Children.

  • Can you count to ten? How high can you count?
  • Can you write your name?
  • When is your birthday?
  • Do you know your phone number?
  • Who lives in your house?
  • What’s your mom’s name? Dad’s name?
  • Do you have brothers or sisters? What are their names?
  • What’s your favorite food?
  • What do you like to play with?
  • What’s your favorite toy, dinosaur, animal, or book?

Review Expectations of Behavior and Hygiene

Children know what they are expected to do when they aren’t with parents; however, for many children, this will be one of the first experiences in a school environment.

Encourage your child to follow house rules, even at school. Hitting, biting, throwing, and screaming are not allowed, and you should remind them of this. Review the process of handwashing and cleaning up after themselves too.

Spend Time with Your Child and Other Children

The more time your child spends with you, the more they will retain those home expectations. We know that you may need to work, and we don’t mean that you don’t already spend time with them. However, it is easy to let them play while watching television or surfing the internet.

Take some time to share toys and practice playing together. If they are only children, consider some playdates with friends to reinforce those cooperative play rules we mentioned above.

How they relate to others is a key factor of most kindergarten interviews. It may be the first proper time some children have been in a group setting and this takes practice.

Expose Your Child to a Variety of Experiences

Experience is how most people learn, and children learn through play. Children need to experience many things. They enjoy science centers, playgrounds, educational television, and time with friends. Art projects, basic science experiments, and math games do not have to be formal, either.

Make learning fun for your child by letting them explore the greater world around them.

Kindergarten Interview tips

Practice Skills

Practice the skills that may be requested during the interview. Let your child experience these skills with your expertise to teach them. Show them how you learned to tie your shoes. Let them learn to stir brownies or build a rocket with Legos.

There are many skills that you will teach your children just by living your life. However, the best memories are those that you create when teaching them the secret ways to do things.

If You are looking for some resources to use with your kindergarten then you can check out our free readers, and activities here. which can be downloaded and printed to practice with at home.

Questions To Ask Kindergartens and Teachers

As i always tell my children ( usually end of primary though) an interview is a two way process. Where as we don’t expect your kindergarten age children to quiz teachers on their philosophies and teaching ideals there is nothing stopping you from doing so.

All reputable kindergartens will welcome (reasonable) questions as it both provides them a chance to demonstrate their professionalism, and shows you as a dedicated and thoughtful parent who wants the best for their children.

We have some things you can ask below, and of course you can add your own questions to these as each kindergarten is different.

  • Are all of your teachers fully qualified?
  • What is a typical day for children at this kindergarten?
  • Do you have staff training for new methods and ideas?
  • What do you aim for each child to know before then go to elementary school?
  • How do you deal with different abilities of children?
  • Do you welcome parent interaction in the kindergarten? and how do you communicate with parents?
  • How do you deal with discipline at this kindergarten?

Final Thoughts

Children love their parents and want to please them. Be sure that they know you will not be disappointed if they do not do everything right during their kindergarten interview. Be sure that you interview the school too. You are also there to figure out if the school is right for them.

Sometimes you will walk into a school and know that the school is wrong, and other times you will need more input. Go into interviews with an open mind. You might think that a school is perfect for you, but then you get there, and it doesn’t meet your needs.

Schools and children need to be comfortable with each other. Make the best of this process but don’t worry if things don’t go perfectly.

How To Make A Teaching Portfolio

How to make a teaching portfolio

A teaching portfolio is an important element of any teacher’s professional development. It provides educators with a space to document and reflect on their work, share successes, and highlight the skills they have developed over time. As a bonus, it also helps them stand out during job interviews. This blog post will walk you through how to create one!

Making a good impression at both interview and application stage is important to all aspiring teachers. These positions often require a little more than a CV and an application form. That’s where a teaching portfolio comes in. It showcases and provides proof to the claims you make on your CV and in interview. The best thing about it, so many teachers don’t make one it should help you rise to the top before you even sit down for the interview.

What is a Teaching Portfolio?

A teaching portfolio is a ongoing story of a teachers skills and abilities, qualifications and observations, teaching philosophies, resources, recommendations, lesson plans and schemes of work . A teaching portfolio can be presented as a physical or digital resource.

A teaching portfolio is a compilation of evidence that you are qualified to be a teacher. A portfolio usually consists of your academic transcripts, samples of your work (e.g., lesson plans), letters of recommendation from professors or colleagues, and any other documents which might demonstrate your suitability for the position.

It seems like a lot, but most of this you will have already prepared either during your training or your years as a teacher. What we often need help with is how to present this in the best possible format.

How to make a teaching portfolio

Why Do Teachers Need a Teaching Portfolio?

Teaching is one of those jobs that requires more concrete proof than an an interview provides. There are often trial lessons, or video lessons, and one thing that may put you ahead of the competition is a strong teaching portfolio. It showcases your work, and can be modeled to prove exactly what your skills are.

In today’s competitive job market, it is more important than ever to have a teaching portfolio. A teaching portfolio can help you stand out from other teachers and land your dream job. But what is the best way to create a good teaching portfolio? And how do you know if your teaching portfolio will be successful?

Teachers need to be great at what they do. They have to be good teachers, and also the best possible versions of themselves outside of the classroom. Teachers are often judged on their teaching abilities by how well they can engage students in a subject or just through general rapport with them.

What To Include In A Teaching Portfolio

Having a teaching portfolio is an increasingly important part of the job search process. A well-designed and thoughtfully-completed portfolio can capture the attention of prospective employers, making you more competitive for jobs and giving you a better chance of being hired.
Making English Fun has compiled this list to help teachers create their own portfolios that will showcase their skills and abilities in the best light possible. We have the short version below and then will go into more detail on each point below that.

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Lesson Plans and Examples of Work
  • Classroom and Lesson Resources Created and Used
  • Educational Technology Knowledge
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Qualification Transcripts or Certificates
  • Teaching Philosophy Statement.

how to make a teaching portfolio

Curriculum Vitae For Teaching Portfolios

A curriculum vitae for teaching should be tailored to you and the teaching role you are submitting an application. For example: if your specialisms are ESL or British Sign Language then make sure these skills appear in the summary section close to the top.

If it is not clear from the job advertisement what the role will include or require then you can put brief details here too about level, subject matter taught, qualifications ongoing or completed etc. This will help to cover the generic aspects that all Curriculum Vitae should have.

How long a CV should be is a topic for eternal debate, mine for reference, is 2 pages long and full of Bullet points, I have been doing this for a lot of years and need to scale down some of the information i want to share. If you are new to teaching, or only have a couple of years then you may need to expand on the bullet points but, still make it punchy and interesting.

Mentioning extra skills is a useful addition to teaching Cvs. Schools love additional value, and all applicants will have their teaching certification and some degree of experience in teaching. Adding you sing in a band, kayak for fun or can do woodwork will help the school see extra value they can get from employing you.

What To Put In a Teaching Philosophy?

A teaching philosophy is a personal statement that explains your beliefs and values as an educator. It should be concise, yet provide insight into the type of classroom you want to create for students – one where they are engaged in learning new skills while also developing their own passions.

This section can include anything from goals related specifically towards student achievement (e g: increasing literacy rates) all way up through broader statements such like I am committed to engaging and motivating students though their educational journey.

A teaching philosophy is a document that outlines the main beliefs and values of your approach to education. It’s something personal about yourself which should highlight your approach to education and the benefits you can offer the school if they employ you. These values can include topics as varied as social justice or experiential learning.

These should be rooted in theory (elements) you have studied at college/university level – for example Piaget’s. Don’t forget to include personal anecdotes from when these beliefs were put into practice too. This is what will make it relatable with other teachers who use similar approaches themselves .

It’s also important not just focus on how things went well but acknowledge moments where some challenges arose during implementation because they can illustrate an even more effective lesson plan next time round.

Employers understand not everything works first time, especially in teaching, so demonstrating the ability to reflect and improve is very valuable in teaching.

Should You Include Lesson Plans in a Teaching Portfolio.

Of course! That’s a great idea. You might also want to include the following: use of different media, how you handle discipline and any additional qualifications that relate specifically or tangentially with teaching (e-learning courses for example).

Make sure you choose your best resources and lessons, ones that really showcase your teaching and the benefits it can bring to a student. Try and include samples of the type work you do in teaching, like essays or how-to guides that might be useful not just for your students but also any teacher who is reading through them looking at potential applicants.

A big part about creating a teaching portfolio with materials related specifically towards education means including lesson plans and if allowed or appropriate examples of those lessons in action and students work. This allows employers not to have to imagine how these would work in their school, but actually see tangible examples.

Educational Technology.

We feel it is worth mentioning this separately as it is playing a more important role in classrooms, and in the recent COVID pandemic in home that ever before. Highlighting technology skills that you have, and more importantly can teach or teach with is going to increase in importance.

If you have taught with google classrooms or zoom it is worth mentioning, if you have used apps, or even made them like we have, mention it!. If you have used coding, or have interest in exploring its use in classrooms mention it!

More and more technology is entering classrooms, at the moment through the focus on Stem Subjects. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) but in the future, and even now, it is also used in language, arts and more lessons as well.

teaching portfolio

Include Qualifications in your Teaching Portfolio.

Putting Copies of degrees, teaching certification and other qualifications is likely to be requested by employers in most cases. If you include them in a teaching portfolio it means they will go through and notice the rest of your information.

You have to remember that they will receive many many application packs from want to be employees. You want to be able to stand out. Having them see your portfolio will certainly help with this.

Letters of Recommendation

Teachers often ask if they should include letters of recommendation for teaching positions in their portfolio. This is a tricky question and it’s an important one to consider when you’re planning your next career steps.
It means you potentially have to let your current employer know you are looking for another job.

Letters of recommendation provide a third party validation about your skills and abilities as an educator; this could be very beneficial during interviews or on applications. So if you can get them from previous employers or lecturers if you are new to teaching they will always be beneficial.

We all want conformation or reassurance that we are making the correct decision, and employers are no different. If they can get references or recommendations from other senior teachers it gives them confidence when considering your application.

A letter of recommendation can be a powerful tool in the job application process. A well-written and thoughtful recommendation letter from an employer or professor can make you stand out among other candidates with similar qualifications.

It’s not always easy to determine who should write a letter of recommendation for you. If you’re looking for someone to provide feedback on your teaching skills, find out if the teacher will be willing to do this before asking them or ask them as you leave a position and keep them stored so you can use them again.

teaching portfolio

What is a Digital Teaching Portfolio and How Does It Differ From a Paper Version?


A digital teaching portfolio is an online, interactive journal of the work that you do in your classroom. You can include items such as videos, photos, lesson plans and student work samples for review by administrators and colleagues.
The use of a digital portfolio may be more beneficial than using a traditional paper one because it allows you to easily update your teaching materials with new ideas. It also provides others with access to your content at any time without having to interrupt your day-to-day schedule.

You can email this to employers much easier than posting and it also gives you the opportunity to even do demo lessons or video introductions which are much more interactive and showcase your tech skills as well!

Our advice would be to produce both versions and ask them how they would like to receive the information.

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Final Thoughts

There are many benefits that come from creating a teaching portfolio. For example,

  • teachers might want to use this as an opportunity for promotion or tenure
  • it could be also used if seeking employment at another institution
  • It is a great reflection tool for experienced teachers to keep a record of how their teaching has progressed though time.

It is important to but great effort into your portfolio, it is the window into your teaching for others. It is how you wish you be perceived as a teacher to others. However, it is just one part of being recruited as a teacher, and there are forms, interviews and even demo lessons to get through before you walk into that classroom for your first day!

Hopefully these tips will help you.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COUNTABLE VS. UNCOUNTABLE NOUNS?

difference between countable and uncountable nouns

Nouns are singular or plural and set the tone for the verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in the sentence when they comprise the sentence’s subject. However for English learners the difference between uncountable nouns and countable nouns can be difficult.

Nouns are a vital part of sentence structure. They are critical to creating a sentence. A noun is a person, place, thing, or idea and generally the subject or direct object of a sentence.

There are 10 types of noun in English. These can be all be countable or uncountable. The most effective way to distinguish between a countable or uncountable noun is to check if it can be used in plural forms. Countable can have single and plural forms but uncountable are in strictly singular forms

Verbs must agree in number with their antecedent or the noun to which they refer. Sometimes, however, nouns are not easily counted. Some nouns can be counted in a sentence, such as a hat or two hats.

On the other hand, some nouns are not countable or quantifiable based upon their state in the sentence. Words like audience are not countable. An audience is a group of people watching something. However, one person can be present in an audience as well as 2,000 people.

At concerts, 30,000 or more people may be in attendance. We do not say 30,000 audiences were present. If we are counting members of an audience, we would change that to members rather than audience. In short, countable nouns can be counted, but uncountable nouns may represent one or a million of something.

How Do I Teach Countable and Uncountable Nouns?

Teaching these concepts can sometimes be confusing for children or non-native English speakers. Don’t fret, though. Many activities can help children learn the difference between countable and noncountable nouns.

Countable Nouns

Sometimes nouns are easily countable, and we can place a number before them. For instance, computers can be counted. There are fifteen computers in the lab. I have one personal computer at home. Many nouns are easily countable in English.

Do not take that for granted, though. In some other languages, nouns English determines as uncountable are countable for them. Books, balls, hats, chairs, cars, shirts, pants, and phones can all be counted. You can easily determine there are six books or two phones.

However, some nouns can be counted, but who wants to do that? Those are generally uncountable nouns. Other nouns just cannot be counted the way they are written.

Uncountable Nouns

As we mentioned above, uncountable nouns can either be truly uncountable such as liquids that are generally “counted by volume” anyway. For instance, you wouldn’t say I have a coffee in my cup. Even if you said I had one coffee this morning, what you mean was you had one cup of coffee this morning.

Soda, tea, water, and other liquids are also generally uncounted. You could count ounces, bottles, cups, or molecules, but the specificity of the object can’t be easily counted. Tea and coffee can also be counted in terms of beans, grounds, leaves, or bags, but who wants to count how many coffee grounds are in one cup worth of coffee?

So, some uncountable nouns are technically countable, but they would be unwieldy. One exception to this rule is stars. This one is countable, though counting all of the stars in the sky is nearly impossible.

Though I have found no official explanation, this is probably because when we talk of stars, we often talk about a specific star, group of stars, or constellation. There are also names for many of the stars, so they are more easily countable.

Words That Change the Type of Noun

Some phrases can change uncountable nouns into countable ones and countable to uncountable. For example, a cup, a bowl, or a plate might change water, rice, or spaghetti into a countable noun. Likewise, some, any, and many can change a countable noun into an uncountable one—for instance, some cherries, any dresses, or many turtles.

Just remember, countable nouns can answer the question “How many?” but uncountable cannot. “How many spaghetti” cannot be answered without clarifying that as noodles or plates of spaghetti. “How much?” generally refers to something that cannot be counted.

How many quarters? How much money? The answer to how many quarters can simply be a number like 25, 1, or 14. The answer to how much money, however, would need to be clarified to be $35, 17¢, or three $20 bills. We wouldn’t answer it as 35 monies—at least not after about three years old.

How Can I Help My Child or Students Learn the Difference?

Many classroom and life skills activities can help your child learn the difference between countable and uncountable nouns. The following are just a few of the activities you might plan.

Party Time

Have your class plan an imaginary party. You could even tie the theme to a recent classroom or bedtime story. Does one of the characters have something to celebrate? What would you have at a party for that person? Make a list of the party supplies.

Have the students decide how many of each item you might need. Napkins might come in a 40-count pack. Potato chips, however, simply come in a bag. Could you count the chips? Probably, but it would be useless and boring. Chips are usually measured in ounces and servings.

Scavenger Hunt

Send your students on a scavenger hunt. Have them find things that are countable and uncountable based on clues or prompts. Some paper, ten pencils, a bottled drink, and four cups of applesauce may all be items you can find in a classroom.

While you will want to make sure there are enough of each item for each group. You may also choose to allow them to take the scavenger hunt home and see which countable and uncountable nouns they find there.

I Spy

Like the scavenger hunt, this requires students to think about how they are quantifying things. I spy twenty of something means that the students would have to locate something that there are twenty of in the classroom.

Difference between countable and uncountable noun

Cook Something

However, I spy something bright yellow might simply be light or a light bulb. Having the children take turns being the spy or the guessers can help them consider the clues and how to convey them or the responses they give.

Food is one of the easiest areas to find countable and uncountable nouns and to quantify the unquantifiable. For example, a pinch of salt or 1/8 of a teaspoon of salt are both quantities. One is countable, and the other is not.

Likewise, salt itself seems to be uncountable. Remind your students that while uncountable nouns may technically be capable of being counted, no one is counting out 438 grains of salt. Look at parts of the recipe that are clearly countable and uncountable.

Are words like some, many, and a few in the recipe? Do you have quantities like one onion, three pie crusts, or twelve carrots in the recipe?

Countable and Uncountable Noun Online Games

Just to get you started we will post 3 online games here that you can use in classrooms at home to allow your students. However we have a much bigger article that covers more online games and worksheets here If you need.

Final Thoughts

We see countable and uncountable nouns all the time. You have to get your children thinking about the ease and importance of counting certain items. It isn’t important to count the hairs on your head, though you could.

You rarely talk about only a few strands, and when you do, that is specified. Countable nouns and uncountable nouns are both ways that people have learned to quantify and describe our world.

At What Age Can You Start Teaching Guided Reading

English teachers have a lot to juggle. There are lesson plans and grading, but there is also the teaching of new vocabulary and grammar skills. At some point in their careers, most English teachers are going to have to deal with guided reading instruction.

It’s not an easy task! Not only do you need to know all of the different types of strategies for teaching these students, but you also need to come up with materials that will keep them engaged as well as learn how to differentiate instruction so that your whole class benefits from learning these reading strategies.

At What Age Should You Start Guided Reading?

Teaching a child to read is one of the most important and rewarding things that you can do as a teacher and as a parent. It’s also one of the hardest. There is such a huge variety of reading programs and methods out there, which makes it hard for both teachers and parents to know how to start their children on this journey.

As a general rule guided reading focusses more on reading level than age of students, however there are certain phonics and decoding skills that students require before being able to tackle a guided reading leveled book. These skills are often taught in kindergarten at around four to five years old.  

As your child progresses through school, guided reading will become less important as he or she learns how to decode words on their own and comprehends text more easily. However, there are some situations where you may need to use this strategy during intermediate grade levels.

This blog post discusses some of the considerations and for guided reading and what factors you should consider before using this method in your classroom!

what is guided reading

What is Guided Reading?

Guided reading is a strategy that encourages children to read with support and guidance from an adult. It can be used for students of any reading level, but it’s most commonly used in the early elementary and primary grades (K-grade two) when kids are learning phonics and sounds in parallel.

It requires children to read books at their reading level , with an adult guiding them through the text. Often for short periods of time in small groups or individually.

The goal is to help children who are struggling in reading, and it can be used for students of any age or level!

What Factors Should You Consider Before Using Guided Reading?

  • How many students are in the class or group you’re teaching with guided reading. If it’s a small number, then this method might not be as useful for them because they’ll get more one on time and attention from an adult anyway, but if you have larger numbers of students then splitting them to to levelled reading abilities and targeting texts at that level will certainly be of benefit.
  • Do you have activities planned for the rest of the class while you split them and read with a smaller group. This can be self learning activities, worksheets and consolidation exercises, pair worth or an assignment. We have plenty of reading and phonics activities both in a free section and in our store that you can check out in the links.
  • Do you have enough time in your lessons: The success of guided reading can also depends on time constraints. if you have hour long lessons it is fine, but if you are trying to fit this in at recesses or before school then it may be more difficult. Although a lesson may only be 15 to 20 minutes, it does mean their are more of them.
  • Classroom management need to be excellent: Students still need supervision, if you have help in the classroom, or you are a parent doing guided reading with one or two children at home then this is fine. However if you have a class of 30 you need to make sure you spend time on ground rules for the other students while you are teaching your reading group.
  • Gather the resources: If you are a parent you may only need one or two copies of a book or activity, but if you are a teacher you will need multiple copies and resources for the lesson. Plan ahead for these and have them ready so you can maximize the usefulness of the time with your students.

Can You Do Guided Reading With Second Language Students?

100% Yes! Guided reading can be done with second language students, but it is important to take into consideration the level of English proficiency. The teacher should have a plan for how they will work on vocabulary and comprehension skills in order that all children are able teach themselves.

It’s also helpful if there were more than one adult working together so each child has someone who speaks their native tongue as well or assist if the students are very young, or if they are very low level english.

We personally feel that guided reading is an excellent strategy for ESL students to learn real world applications of English, and to be able to immerse themselves in topics that engage them.

guided reading age

What Age Should Second Language students Start Guided Reading?

The age at which a second language student should start guided reading depends on the level of English proficiency. The earlier, however, it is introduced to them and the more time they have to practice their comprehension skills.

There are some skills that will make the whole process mich MUCH easier. The ability to decode words and use phonics will allow them to look for meaning more than struggle with unfamiliar words. Although Guided reading and phonics instruction should work in tandem, we suggest a grasp of phonics is essential before starting with levelled readers and guided reading.

We have a lot of resources for phonics here, its our bread and butter, so you can dive in and check them out. However, we also how articles on order of phonics instruction, when to start with phonics, and what to do if phonics doesn’t work to help you as well.

What Are Reading Levels in Guided Reading?

This very much depends on the Levelled readers you are using, we have information for that here as well. However although we will highlight the one we have used extensively below, all are similar and new leveled readers are being published every year making improvements on the previous books.

A reading level will include a selection of books and readers that at each specific reading level have similar sentence construction, vocabulary, grammar usage, and tense form. This is to provide students with multiple opportunities to practice and master these before progressing on to the next level.

What are the PM Benchmark reading levels?

The PM Benchmark reading levels are a system of leveling books for children. The higher you go up on this scale, the more difficult it becomes to read and understand what is happening in each book.

It starts at level 1 which will have a simple sentence repeated, perhaps changing only the action verb or the adjective. It aims to encourage students to proactive forming these simple sentence and to build their confidence in English reading.

It can them go up to level 30, which are highly advanced multi clause sentences requiring inferencing skills, high level thinking and extensive vocabulary and reading for context skills. Obviously these are aimed at English learners with more experience but the path from level 1-30 has hundreds, if not thousands, of readers to choose from. You can check out their reading scales on their website here.

what age to start guided reading

What Resources Are Needed For a Guided Reading Lesson?

In order to do a guided reading lesson with students, you need the following:

  • A correctly leveled reader for each student;
  • An adult who will read aloud while guiding discussion and modeling strategies that support comprehension
  • Some pictures or illustrations in your book or on hand to help with comprehension.
  • A quiet space to do the guided reading lesson
  • About 20 minutes spare
  • Some added value items (if reading a book on dinosaurs you could show them a fossil for example)
  • A set of Alphabet or phonics cards to help with decoding ( ours are free here)

How Often Should Children Do Guided Reading Lessons ?

Children should do guided reading lessons in school every day where possible. Where not possible then as often as they can. It builds routine and gives them more chance to practice the skills you are teaching them in the lesson!

Guided Reading can be a great way for kids who are struggling with their literacy skills, or those that just need some extra help getting through difficult texts like chapter book series. It is not busy work, or an administration fad. It will help your children and students to learn to read.

How Long Should A Guided Reading Lesson Take?

A guided reading lesson should take about 20 minutes. you can go over and under a little with that. If you have children brand new to guided reading it may be worth making it shorter so you don’t scare them or worry them. they may not be used to reading in front of their friends.

However as they get more confident in their similar levelled group you can expand the time as much as you can.

“The age of the child is not as important with guided reading instruction. The most critical factors are whether or when to start, and what level they’re at.”

starting guided reading

Can You Use Guided Reading With Adult Learners

Yes, guided reading lessons can be used with adult learners of English.” (Duke). “The most important thing is to make sure that the lesson you’re teaching will work for your students. You’ll need a lot more scaffolding and support if they don’t have any experience learning reading like this.

However as we have mentioned age is not the major factor in guided reading, it is reading level. With adults it is worth choosing age appropriate reading material to maintain interest and respect, but just as important is finding that material at the correct reading level to be instructional.

Can You Teach Guided Reading At Home?

Yes, parents need to learn some of the strategies and methods that teachers use in order to teach guided reading. Parents should make sure that they are using the similar text levels as their child’s teacher so there is consistency between what happens at home and school . It also helps if parents read aloud with students while teaching them how too do it themselves through texts.

How to assess a students reading level using guided reading resources?

There are many levelling methods to determine the reading level of students. One of the most popular is using a leveled reading passage from one of the many MANY publishers out there. This can be done by selecting passages from books that are on different levels, and then asking students to read them aloud You can assess how easy of difficult it was for them, and either go down a level or up depending on the results.

The idea is for students to be able to read about 90% of the text you give them. At that point it is called an instructional text. Most sets of readers will also either come with assessment tools like readers or passages, or they will be able to be picked up as an add on. ( an expensive add one usually)

Final Thoughts

Guided reading is suitable for most ages. Thought for different age groups you will have to make some changes and adaptations to make it appropriate. However we have loads of advice and resources for you to access here so jump in and enjoy!

  • Don’t introduce financial newspapers to kindergarteners, and don’t introduce fluffy kitten books to adults ( most adults) If the text is at an appropriate reading level then you can start guided reading.
  • Make sure your students have some phonics skills knowledge so they can use those skills to decode new words in their guided reading readers.
  • It is important to have a variety of books for your students and this will help them learn different words, sentence structures etc
  • It’s also good if you introduce new texts every now an then so that the children don’t get bored with one text type or genre too quickly . This way they are more likely keep on practicing their skills in order not just read but understand what it says as well!

I hope these tips were helpful- please feel free contact me at any time should there be anything else i could do tto assist :)”

Learning the Difference between Action Verbs and Linking Verbs

Action Verbs and Linking verbs difference

Learning parts of speech can be challenging for even the most astute learners. Verbs have so many tenses and types that it can seem overwhelming for children. Learning these differences does not have to be difficult. Here are a few tips for helping your children learn the difference between action and linking verbs, with some links to free resources to grab as well.

The difference between action verbs and linking verbs can be described as the difference between an action and a state. An action verb describes an action occurring or that has occurred and a linking verb describes a state of being. It is not an easy concept for younger learners to learn.

Understanding the difference in action and linking verbs is not easy for some children, especially since some linking verbs are also action verbs. Pediaa describes this difference as “Action verbs express an action whereas linking verbs express a state.” This description is one of the best I have seen for this difference.

What are Action Verbs?

Action verbs are just as they seem. They are words that denote an action. A verb is an action or state of being. With action verbs, the word becomes something someone or something does. Words like jump, run, sit, and stand are all action verbs. We have 13 Action verb activities and work sheets here for download.

What are Linking Verbs?

While the above words are used as actions, sometimes action verbs become linking verbs. They do not actually describe an action. Generally, when this happens, the words “is” or “are” can be substituted for these words. For instance, grown can be a linking verb. Grown can be used in multiple ways. I have grown vegetables for the last three years.  In this case, grown is the action of the sentence.

My action is growing the vegetables. However, “I have grown tired of the constant negativity on television” uses grown as a linking verb.

What is the difference?

Understanding the difference in action and linking verbs is not easy for some children, especially since some linking verbs are also action verbs. Pediaa describes this difference as “Action verbs express an action whereas linking verbs express a state.” This description is one of the best I have seen for this difference.

How Can I Help My Child Learn the Difference?

Your child or class will eventually learn the difference, so don’t get too upset if they have trouble in the beginning. This difficulty is expected. You need some patience while they learn the difference. Emphasize the lists of verb types. Some verbs are always linking verbs.

States of Being

Any verb that always describes a state of being will be a linking verb. These verbs are:

  • To Be- verbs that are from the infinitive “to be” are linking verbs. These include am, is, are, be, been, was, and were. Must, shall, might, may, and could also accompany the state of being.
  • To Become- Become, became, and helpers like have and had become.
  • Seem- Seems, seemed, and has, have, and had seemed.

Describe the State of Being

Words that describe the state of being that may be swapped for one of the above words may also be used as linking verbs.

  • Appear and Look are related to seem generally.
    • He appears to be leaving.
    • She looks to be angry.
  • Taste, smells, sounds, and feels are all senses and often linking verbs.
    • This cheese tastes rancid.
    • She smells sweet.
  • Turns, grows, falls, and remains may be used as linking verbs to describe the subject.

Testing

How can you test to see if a verb is a linking verb? First, if the verb is a form of the infinitive to be, you can rest assured it is a linking verb. However, for these words that may be linking or action, we must consider what they are doing.

English Fun Lessons

Replace with “To Be” Or Other Linking Verbs

If you can replace the verb with a form of “to be,” you have a linking verb. For instance, I have grown tired of his podcast. I am tired of his podcast. I have become tired of his podcast. Each of the preceding sentences contains linking verbs. Grown can be replaced by a “to be” or “to become” verb.

Do the same with taste. The salad tastes fresh. The salad is fresh. In both cases, the sentence retains the same or a similar meaning. Taste in the following sentence cannot be replaced the same way. He tastes the chicken before serving it. He is the chicken before serving it.

These two sentences do not have the same meaning. Likewise, the second sentence becomes nonsensical. This is a red flag that the verb in this sentence is an action.

Can you Act It Out

If you aren’t sure if the sentence contains an action or linking verb, mime the sentence or play charades. If you were given the prompt in a game of charades, could you act it out? Don’t worry about being a good or bad charades actor. Simply consider whether or not that is an action.

For instance, you can act out tasting chicken. It’s something you can do. On the other hand, you cannot act out tasting foul.

Other Verbs We Have Seen Here

We have also used helping or auxiliary verbs in this post. Words like can, may, should, could, would, will, and have are all auxiliary verbs. They help the verb in the sentence. Some of these verbs change the verb tense to past participle or future perfect tenses.

Like linking verbs, some of these verbs do double duty. The verbs in from the infinitive “to be” are often used to help other verbs. I am running in a race. The helper in the previous sentence is “am” and the verb is “running.” In this case, running is an action verb.

In limited cases, running or run could be a linking verb. I am running late. I am late. I will be late. These are all similar sentences.

 Some Actions Are Not Active

Some action verbs cannot be easily performed. Dreaming, thinking, wondering, and hoping are all things that we may be actively doing, but we cannot see them. When considering these verbs to determine active or linking, try to consider if it is something you do.

Thinking is something you are doing. I may not be able to see your brain working, but those imaginary wheels are turning. These are not states of being. They are mental actions.

Final Thoughts

Action, linking, and helping verbs can overlap in writing. Don’t worry too much if your child or students are having a little trouble. Trouble is typical in the beginning. Keep working with your students to determine whether a form of “to be” is helping another verb.

Also, let them act out the verb to see if it is an action (mental or physical). Kinesthetic learning can be phenomenal for younger children as children learn through play. One of the most complicated concepts is learning that verbs are also a state of being rather than doing.

Use a passage from a story you are reading. Have the students count the action, linking, and helping verbs. Then, ask them to replace all the linking verbs with forms of to be. This exercise might help them see why people choose alternate words rather than am, is, are, was, and were when writing creatively.

Ask your students to rewrite sentences with new linking verbs. See how they can come up with some fantastically creative sentences.


[1] https://pediaa.com/difference-between-action-and-linking-verbs/

Why do silent letters exist In English? (And Teaching Tips)

Why do silent letters exist in English

Silent letters can be infuriating. P, K, E, and others are often called “silent” letters because we do not hear them in words. However, sometimes, they work with other letters to make new sounds. Why do they exist, and where do they come from?

These questions aren’t new or unusual. Scan Reddit, Quora, or even Wikipedia, and you will find entries and questions about silent letters. So let’s see if we can get to the bottom of this. 

Silent letters exist in English as it is an evolving language that often borrows from other languages. Sounds that enter English from these languages may not have a clear pronunciation in English. Often the letters that don’t fit in with English patterns are then, over time, turned into silent letters

Brief Explanation of Silent Letters in English

The shortest explanation for this is that English is made of many different languages. The United States has often been called a mosaic or melting pot of cultures. English as a language is no different. While it is a much older language than the US is a country.

English borrows from many languages to get its words and spelling patterns. This borrowed language is why we have so many exceptions in our vocabulary. Some words come from Middle English evolving, and other words were coined by authors and playwrights such as Shakespeare.

However, English borrows from Latin, Greek, German, French, Spanish, and even African dialects. Because we borrow so many words, they do not always translate with clean pronunciations.

Translating from languages without our Latin-based letters can make translating the letters more challenging. Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and other writing systems do not transfer letter to letter. Because of this, letters may be blended to try to approximate the sound.

German pronunciations also alter English words. Though the alphabets are the same, the pronunciation and use of the words are different. This means that if we take the German spelling and create an English variant, some of the letters may not be pronounced.

However, in German, they may certainly be pronounced. The pronunciation is simply altered to meet English rules.

Some Are Quietly Working

Let’s look at a few words with hard-working silent letters. Ripe, type, kite, grape, gripe, tape, white, hate, and gate all have a silent e at the end. This ‘e’ is not decorative, and it isn’t necessarily a throwback to letters that are just no longer needed.

These silent letters have purpose. They change the pronunciation of their preceding vowels. Rip, kit, grip, tap, whit, and hat are all words vastly different from their counterparts ending in e. They are all pronounced with the short vowel sound, whereas the others are pronounced with the long vowel sound.

Others are parts of combinations that create a new sound. Th, ph, CK, and wh make new sounds. They are not necessarily the combination of their individual letter sounds. CK may be one exception to that since these letters combine to make a k sound.

However, this digraph makes a specific sound rather than just one or the other since the c can also make a k sound on its own. These letters aren’t just being quiet, even if their sounds are breaths rather than voiced. Wh has a specific sound that is different from w or h alone.

English Silent letter

Living Languages Change

The simple answer to most everything else is that language changes. Languages grow and develop. People’s accents chop letters off words at times. Southern US residents are notorious for chopping the g off ing words.

Other dialects don’t pronounce the hard “r” sound as is typical in many British dialects. As people change their pronunciation of words, sometimes these pronunciations become the norm, and words change.

What’s Does It Matter?

Silent letters get a lot of blame in the phonics game. They are often blamed for children’s struggles with phonics and a reason cited for not using phonics in the classroom. However, with the hard-working silent letters, they often play a role in phonics.

They can tell us about the long and short sounds and digraphs and diphthongs. For instance, the word fear contains a diphthong, but the general rule is that the vowel sound will take on a long form of the first vowel. This rule is not hard and fast, but it can help children learn how much of the language works.

Are There Really All That Many Silent Letters?

According to Grammar Girl at Quick and Dirty Tips, B, D, E, G, H, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, W, X, and Z may all be silent letters. This list is far longer than most of us will likely ever encounter, but don’t forget that silent letters are not always at the beginning or end of a word.

The “gh” in eight, light, night, knight, sight, and ought is silent. Likewise, the b in debt is silent. It seems to have no purpose. Receipt and Recipe use to be the same word. It was a written copy of something. Over time, receipt became synonymous with bill of sale or transaction record, and recipe was the instructions for making a food or drink.

According to Grammar Girl at Quick and Dirty Tips, B, D, E, G, H, K, L, M, N, O, P, R, S, T, W, X, and Z may all be silent letters.

Grammar Girl
Why silent letters in English

Examples of English Silent Letters In ” English” Words

So all you teachers out there can demonstrate why silent letters are so important to students and they are present in so many English words we have this table to demonstrate.

You can use it to see if your students can think of any more words that have silent letters, or if they can spot the silent letter in the lists, or even if they can try to say the word and say the letter to see how it changes the pronunciation if they say the letter in the word.

Silent BSilent CSilent DSilent E
lambfascinatehandsomehope
combscenesandwichdate
subtlecrescentedgecute
debtascentWednesdaybite
Silent GSilent HSilent KSilent L
gnathourknifeshould
signschoolknewyolk
foreignwhatknightsalmon
gnomeechoknotcalm
Silent MSilent NSilent OSilent P
mnemoniccolumnyoungreceipt
damndoublepsychotic
solemntroublepseudo
autumncousinpneumonia
Silent RSilent SSilent TSilent W, X, Z
forkislandjostlefaux, Sioux
birdaislethistlewrap, wreck
cartwhistlerendezvous
corkfasten

How Can We Teach These Letters?

There are no simple rules for teaching silent letters. We can teach the blends that come from ph, wh, and sh, but explaining why the b in debt or k in knight isn’t pronounced to an early reader is never going to be easy. Keep practicing with your children as much as possible.

Begin with the rules behind the blend and digraphs. Move on to the job of the silent e or the diphthongs in double vowel words. Your children will understand these concepts. For the other silent letters, see if you can find their origins. Their beginnings will often help you understand why we no longer use the vowel or why it got dropped in translation.

Culture Lessons and Silent letters

One great way to understand English is to understand the many cultures that comprise the English language. The British Empire has colonized the world over and borrowed words from every new environment.

Learn these origins and the history of the colonies. As a project, you might even try to see how many languages you can easily identify in word roots. No, this might not help with understanding silent letters, but it can help children learn more about their own language and the language of those around them.

How about trying to get students to read this sentence coutesy of the Readers Digest! It has more silent letters than any other sentence i have seen! See if they can count them!

The rogue knight doubted that the asthmatic knave in knickers could climb the castle columns, but when their wrangle wrought chaos on the couple, the knight resigned with the knowledge that their tight-knit friendship wouldn’t succumb to dumb disputes.

Readers Digest

SO when you tell them the reasons why English has silent letters you can show them how often the exist as well. Rough estimates have the number at 60% of all English words have silent letters!! that’s crazy!

Final Thoughts

English is a mashup of nearly every other language on the planet. Even if there are some languages that English does not borrow from, there are words from six of the seven continents and most of the major island nations around the world.

English has evolved since it began. This evolution is what keeps languages alive. Latin stopped moving, so it began dying. We do not always understand the changes and developments in a language, but they work together to create new words, pronunciations, and usages.

Six-hundred years from now, even more vocabulary will have developed and changed from what we know today. It never ends. We will be putting more articles to help these tricky silent letters so jump back soon!