Adjectives are one of the most enjoyable vocabulary items to teach to English learners, the sudden ability to add meaning and variety to their communications is a great motivator. While the introduction of these vocabulary / grammar words is both relatively easy, the order of adjectives in sentences is not.
There is often confusion about what order of adjectives appear in a sentence. So, we will highlight what this is, and how we can teach it with both tips, and activities in the article below.
Teaching adjectives can be quite confusing; start with the basics and keep the instructions clear and straightforward. I would suggest teaching with flashcards and memorizing tables to get the correct order and comprehension between cumulative and coordinate adjectives.
In teaching English, the main focus should be on understanding, listening, and practicing. Teaching the order of adjectives takes some planning but with native English speakers there is an intuitiveness and a high chance that they will automatically know that “the large old black dog” is correct as opposed to the “black, large, old dog,”. They may not, however, know why.
This article will demystify the ordering of adjectives, give some general rules tips and printable activities for teaching the order of adjectives both for Native and ESL Classrooms.
Just before we get into the meat of the reasons why adjectives have an order it may be you are hear because you know and just need the order. In that case click here
It may be 15 minutes before a lesson and you just need a quick refresh. In that case click here.
There is a subtle difference between cumulative and coordinate adjectives. It should only really be taught to more advanced English students. Elementary and intermediate level English learners should learn the order and when able be introduced to the concept of cumulative and coordinate adjectives and the reasons why this order exists.
The most significant aspect of teaching is to take into consideration who your audience is. Before teaching the order of adjectives, you need to understand the difference between cumulative adjectives and coordinate adjectives.
Whether you consider it or not, there is a specific order that adjectives go by when English speakers describe something. The key to teaching adjectives is to prepare, keep your learners listening as well as talking. Learners have various strong points, but learning English rules does require visual and practical stimulants.
Cumulative adjectives combine to give a more accurate and specific qualification to a noun. Example: “the handmade stained-glass lamp.”
“the yellow mixing bowl.”
A test for cumulative adjectives is that they cannot be separated by “and.” It would not sound correct to say “the yellow and mixing bowl.” Cumulative adjectives do not have commas between them.
Cumulative adjectives are dependent upon one another since both are needed to modify the noun adequately. They build on each other (or combine) as they get closer to the noun to create a more detailed meaning. Cumulative adjectives appear in a specific order that cannot be altered without changing the importance of the sentence, and they cannot be separated by commas or the word “and.”
Examples: “dark blue dining table.”
There are various teaching methods suitable. However, not all are great matches depending on age, learning environment, or educational background.
If you look at a good description, you’ll notice that writers are often relatively frugal in their use of adjectives and adverbs.
Coordinate adjectives can be separated by “and.” For example: “the soft, lumpy bed” could also be written as “the soft and lumpy bed” or “the lumpy, soft bed” The adjectives give information of equal importance about the noun. Thus the order can be reversed.
The adjectives used as coordinate adjectives do not include any adjectives from quantity/ number and purpose. Coordinate adjectives may have commas separating them.
Coordinate adjectives are a great addition to writing as well as speaking. They help us paint illustrative pictures readers will appreciate. Like the adverb, you don’t want to overwhelm your sentences with modifiers. They tend to take away from the flexibility of a line of text. But, if they’ll help you paint a picture, then add away. Coordinate adjectives bring commas to the forefront of the conversation, and order is not essential.
Example: “the three months old, dark brown, American Bulldog.”
There is a general rule which applies to the ordering of adjectives. The subjective adjectives are used first. Factual adjectives are placed closer to the noun. For example, in the phrase -“the small, brown mouse” – ‘small’ is more subjective than brown. One person’s definition of small may differ from another person’s.
Brown is less subjective as a specific range of color is accepted as brown by all speakers. Of course, true to English, the rule has an exception, and that is the adjective describing number or quantity. Number/ quantity adjectives are always used first. For example: “ten, large, pink hats.” “many old grey elephants.” We will address this in more detail later as well.
Most mother-tongue English speakers do not know the order of adjectives used to describe a noun. They intuitively use the correct order because it sounds right to them. They may correct a second language English speaker but will not know how to explain the rules.
The hierarchy of adjectives, although not known by many native English speakers, is an inviolable one.
There are certain words you may be surprised to realize are adjectives. These are called determiners, and they come first in the sentence structure.
Determiners are words that work as articles and other limiters, including numbers.
In the general order of coordinative adjectives, the opinion/observation adjectives appear before fact adjectives. An opinion adjective is based on someone’s perception and should place first. A fact adjective is an adjective that can be proven and gets placed later.
We have already established; the following adjectives in order: determiners, an opinion/observation adjective, and a fact adjective when completing sentences that are coordinate adjectives.
Size – Adjectives that describe a factual or objective quality of the noun (enormous, small)
Shape – A shape adjective describes the form of something (flat, circle)
Age – An age adjective (adjective denoting age) tells you how young or old something or someone is (old, new)
Color – A color adjective (adjective denoting color), of course, describes the color of something (pale, black)
Origin – Denominal adjectives denoting the source of the noun (Europe, Madagascar)
Material – Stating what the item comprises. Often regarded as part of the noun. (wood, plastic)
Purpose – A purpose adjective describes what somethings use is. These adjectives often end with “-ing.”
Let’s clarify that the order of cumulative adjective rules is not set-in-stone and depends on the emphases’ order.
Adjectives indicating quantity and number are always used first. These include actual numbers and general quantity adjectives such as many, few, countless, hundreds, few, and many more. Numbers are factual, but quantity can be subjective.
These are the most subjective adjectives. They describe the noun from the speaker’s perspective. One speaker may refer to something as beautiful, cute, ugly, cruel, but this does not fit the definition of these adjectives for all speakers. The adjectives reflect the English user’s opinion on the quality or appearance of the noun.
Although the object’s size may initially seem like a factual adjective, it is not, in fact, objective. A person who owns Chihuahuas may refer to a German Shepherd as an “enormous dog,” whereas someone who owns Irish Wolfhounds may refer to a German Shepherd as a “large dog’. Size adjectives are therefore dependent on the frame of reference of the speaker.
Age adjectives are similar to the above in that they are also used subjectively. There are, however, more accepted norms on what is considered old and young or new compared to size adjectives.
Shapes are becoming more objective adjectives, but there is still room for subjective interpretation. Example: Someone may describe an object as “roundish,” whereas another speaker may represent it as ”oblong.”
Color is objective but also open to interpretation due to the many shades of one color. Example: dark blue vs. navy blue Both of these refer to the color blue with subtle distinctions made by the speaker based on his/ her experience and exposure.
Origin adjectives refer to where the noun originates. It could be a specific country or a more generic origin. Example: “the old, British man.”
“the brilliant, sunset colors.”
In these examples, “British” and “sunset” both qualify the origins of the noun.
These are very objective adjectives. They refer to factual qualities regarding what material the item is made of – such as steel, silk, wood, etc.
Factual objectives are used to describe the purpose or function of an object.
Example: “the sharp, stabbing knife” stabbing indicates the function of the knife.
“the silver soup spoon” – describes that the spoon is used to eat soup.
When you see learners succeeding in their sentence structures and able to hold significant conversations it can be incredibly gratifying. Their initial introduction to the language is essential and will inspire them to strive for perfection.
There needs to be structure in your sentences, whether just starting to learn words or the English language; adjectives are essential to get right from the get-go. It’s easier to teach adjectives to fewer people as they can share examples and test each other, whereas a big class might get confused by each other. I
Teach the order of adjectives by reading aloud, video, group lessons, and acronyms. Start with the basics and keep the instructions straightforward. Providing learners time to practice is vital; spice up grammar with hands-on activities rather than worksheets to help them be more engaged and grasp the skill effectively.
Let’s look at a few activities to consider when teaching the order of adjectives to a class:
Choose your adjective.
Each learner chooses a noun/item. They need to select several adjectives of their own choice to describe other learners’ nouns to ensure they know where adjectives would be suitable.
Video or Read Aloud
Get learners engaged right from the start by pleasantly surprising them; with a picture book, it can be simple but be sure to use a book that starts from the basics such as various forms or adjectives and ordering of adjectives. We would recommend “Many Luscious Lollipops: A Book About Adjectives” for kids. Videos are a great stimulant to get learners’ attention; it’s a great way to introduce how we sometimes add multiple adjectives to describe a noun.
Whole Group Lessons
One of the most efficient ways English teachers teach new grammar skills is to project them onto your board, screen, or showcase posters. Get the learners to write the rules themselves; it has been proven to help learners retain the information; however, time constraints don’t always allow for it. A good idea would be to create mini grammar booklets for your learners to have on hand for future reference.
Introduce an acronym – Introduce an acronym (NOSASCOM) on the day you present your adjective lesson order.
bring a treat (could be other items). After giving your learners the object, allow them to create a web of adjectives around the item they received. Then have them sort the adjectives and let them make sentences.
Digital Task Cards
they have so many benefits for the teacher and learner. There is virtually no preparation work, and it’s engaging for the learners. Teachers easily assign them to learners using a URL link, and students can practice skills and master them all at the same time.
Try teaching some of these simple ideas to your young learners; most activities are recommended to do in groups as this allows them to learn from each other. All activities are to help learners understand the order of adjectives specifically.
Human Adjective Bingo
Get your learners to create their own Bingo board for an adjective reviewing the game. Give your learner blank cardboard and magazine; let them cut out pictures in the magazine of people and paste them on various card sections. It’s time to play human bingo. To start playing, call out adjectives in the correct order to describe people; if you get it right, you can cover that picture until someone screams out bingo!
Divide your class into groups of six; learners will work together to create a letter from a pen pal and make a blank pen pal form for each learner. Begin by writing the pen pal name and age in the blanks at the top of each sheet. Then each learner folds their paper until the following line, so the next person doesn’t see what they wrote.
Everyone passes their paper to the person on the right to fill in the following blank and fold the paper over until the pen pal form is complete and each learner can read aloud and enjoy the humorous answers. (You will need to create a pen pal form with parts of a sentence; include blanks where learners need to fill in the adjectives, at least three adjectives per sentence)
This simple activity allows you to teach your learners new adjectives and ensure they are in the proper order. Start by giving them an example on the whiteboard by writing a sentence. (The girl is fetching her bag). Teach your learners that adjectives make a sentence more interesting by giving detail; challenge your learners to add adjectives to your sentence you have on the board, one at a time. As they add more adjectives, point out the correct way to order them. Give each learner to do a sentence of their own.
Exposure, Exposure, Exposure!
The most effective means of teaching students to use the correct order for adjectives is to have as much exposure as possible to naturally occurring English. Encourage the students to watch English movies, read English books, and speak with English people. Over time the students will begin to get a sense of when the adjectives sound correct or not.
Classifying Adjectives As A Teaching Method
Present the order of adjectives to the students ensuring they understand what each of the classifications means. Make cards with various adjectives on them. Hand these out to students and ask them to classify which category the adjectives fit into in the classification system.
You can ask the students to think of synonyms for the adjectives you provided. This activity gives them a chance to generate adjectives, improve vocabulary and learn the adjective order in one task.
Hand out cards with adjectives and nouns/ noun phrases on them. Ask students to use the cards to generate sentences using the correct order. This activity can be done humorously, creating ridiculously long strings of adjectives to add interest to the class.
Draw A Picture
Students should work in small groups and take turns to give descriptions using the correct adjective order. The other students must draw what has been described to them. The students can also complete the activity using themes such as describing their homes.
What Am I Wearing?
Students work in groups and must describe their clothing using correct adjective ordering and of course relevant adjectives.
Students may make the mistake of classifying words as adjectives when they are, in fact, a part of the noun. For example: “wet suit” is a single concept, and wet does not function in this instance as an adjective.
Other examples: “washing machine.”
These are known as compound nouns.
The below table, big as it is, is intended to help you remember the specific order of adjectives. There is no real need to memorize it, however you can download the image version here and it can be useful as a memory jogger for you and your students in class.
We have a copy of this table for download here. It is a worksheet example A4 where students have the headings, and have to insert adjectives they think fit the headings. It is a very useful to way to practice the order that adjectives go in. If you want an full set of our adjective workbooks we have a 13/14 page version in the shop you can check out here.
The teaching of the order of adjectives at first glance can be confusing for native speakers, teachers, never mind students. Here is a shorten summary to help you achieve this.
Adjectives are used in a particular order when describing a noun:
Cumulative adjectives do not vary in their order, but coordinate adjectives have a less strict order.
The teaching of adjectives at first glance can be confusing. Start with how well you know your class, either young, adults, or first-time English language learners; assess how they interact with activities; you will learn the best methods techniques for your study.
Ensure your learners fully grasp cumulative and coordinate adjectives before moving onto the specific orders and general rules of each. Practice will be most successful for learners to understand adjectives fully; among other teaching activities, you will notice the best methods to introduce activities individually and in a group and move onto more complicated activities as their knowledge grows. Always be prepared to change the lesson or activity you set out to accommodate your learners at the most convenient time. The main focus should be on understanding, listening, and practicing no matter your learners’ age group or English background.
Oh and most importantly, have fun when that lightbulb moment goes off in their heads and you know they have grasped it.
English is a Piece of Cake. Order of Adjectives. http://www.englishisapieceofcake.com/order-of-adjectives.html
Grammar Monster. The Order of Adjectives In English. https://www.grammar-monster.com/lessons/order_of_adjectives.htm
Macmillan English. Grammar: Putting Adjectives in Order. https://www.onestopenglish.com/ask-the-experts/grammar-putting-adjectives-in-order/153513.article
Teach This. Adjective Order Worksheets, ESL Games and Activities. https://www.teach-this.com/parts-of-speech-activities-worksheets/adjective-order
All sentences need to be complete and precise. A sentence needs to be grammatically complete is only a subject and verb. Even then, the subject can be implied. For example, if I say “Sit” and gesture toward an empty chair. What I really mean is, “You (person) sit down and join me.” Sit is a verb, and the subject of this sentence is understood to be “you” or my interlocutor (speaking partner).
This type of subject is often referred to as “you understood,” and it precedes a verb used as a command. While it is a complete sentence, it is a very simplistic sentence. No, it doesn’t need an object to be complete. We will explore some f these examples below.
A sentence in English does not require an object to convey meaning and understanding. An object adds clarity and meaning to sentence structures but depending how the language is presented, and the form of the verb, intransitive, for example, it is possible to construct an English sentence without an object.
A simple command can convey all you need to know in one word without an object, but let’s look at some other sentence types and ways to convey meaning. We will also examine when objects are required and when they aren’t enough by themselves.
Before we go on to explain some of the elements of sentence construction is will be useful to offer a quick note on the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs and why they can dictate if a sentence requires an object to be understandable.
|Difference||Transitive Verbs||Intransitive Verbs|
|Needs an Object to do its action||Yes, requires it to have meaning||No doesn’t not require it to have meaning|
|Examples||bring, carry, throw, dismiss, raise, promise, offer, borrow.||talk, stop, move, run, exist, smile, listen, leavePurposeTo complete a verbs actions, the verb needs to be put onto object to have full meaning.||Often used in imperative sentences. Do not need an object to complete meaning.|
|OtherCan have more than one object, and requires at least oneDoesn’t require an object after the verb but can have other grammar structures such as prepositional phrases, or adverbs.|
Just to add an element of confusion to the mix some verbs like – grow – play – return – can be both transitive or intransitive. If you are unsure then you can check out either a paper dictionary, or an online version which will show the verb use and whether it is intransitive or transitive. You can see examples of both type of verbs and how they relate to objects here as well.
At the earliest stages of education, students often learn that there are four types of sentences ( highlighted below) These sentences are named because of their jobs. Whatever the sentence is doing and implying, that is its type and label. Some of these sentences will contain objects.
This sentence type makes a statement. It declares something. “Mavis went skiing.” The previous sentence contains a subject—Mavis, verb—went, and object—skiing. The object is skiing because it is where the subject—Mavis, went.
These sentences are questions. Many people may feel they are not sentences, but they are bound by the same requirements. However, since they are questions, they are sometimes inverted. “Where are you going?” Where is the object in this case because “you” is the subject. The verb is “are going.” The answer to the question reveals the subject, verb, object order. I am going to the store.
This type of sentence we have already discussed briefly—commands. Often the subject of the sentence is implied. Please bring my water bottle from the kitchen. This sentence may first appear without a subject. The verb is bring the object is my water bottle. Essentially, it is only bottle as my and water are adjectives, but that’s less important for this purpose.
These sentences are filled with emotion. They are exclamations, as you may have guessed. “I got the job!” This sentence contains a subject, verb, and object.
In addition to the type of sentence, the complexity of the sentence matters. Sentences are made of phrases. There are two basic types of phrases—the independent clause and the dependent clause. An independent clause can stand alone as a sentence; it doesn’t need anything else to contain a complete thought.
On the other hand, a dependent clause depends on something else to make it complete. Let’s look at how these clauses can be combined to make sentences.
Online sentence games:
Just to share some games for classrooms as we have you here!. We have 2 sentence games on the site, and we have written a blog on the best 10 online sentence games we have used and found to help teach sentence structure to younger and ESL students. They are all fee to play and you can check them out with the following links.
A simple sentence is one independent clause standing alone. Think of this like a root word. Words can have roots, affixes, or be compound. Sentences are similar. Simple sentences are like the roots. You should always have some of these sentences in your writing. They must contain a subject and verb with or without the object. They may contain adverbs or adjectives, but they will never be compound or complex.
This type of sentence is like putting together two or more simple sentences using coordinating conjunctions. These conjunctions are often referred to as FANBOYS—For, And, Nor, But, Or, Yet, So. They simply combine two independent clauses or simple sentences.
Every sentence must contain an independent clause, but complex sentences also contain dependent clauses. These are sentence fragments that may look like sentences, but they cannot stand alone. The phrase “Since it rained yesterday,” cannot stand alone. It contains a subject—it, verb—rained, and object—yesterday, but it also contains a subordinating conjunction.
This means it makes that independent clause subordinate or dependent. These sentences often do have objects as well. They have many more parts of speech and grammar rules.
As long as a sentence has a subject and verb, it can be a sentence. However, let’s look at what each part does and how it helps a sentence become more precise or more confusing. There are many different aspects.
We have mentioned this word repeatedly but have failed to define it. The subject is the noun in the sentence performing the verb. It can be a pronouns or proper noun.
The verb is the action of the sentence. This is what is being performed by the noun. All sentences must have a verb is some form.
There are direct and indirect objects. These are the things being acted upon by the subject or for an object.
These objects are not receiving the action but the result of the action. For instance, Jeremy took Carla a pizza. In this case, Jimmy is the subject, and took is the verb, but he did not take Carla anywhere. He took her a pizza. The direct object is the pizza, but it was for Carla.
These objects are the objects being acted upon directly. In the above example, the direct object is the pizza. It is being taken somewhere, in this case, to Carla.
These words describe nouns. They may describe objects or subjects. One way to remember what an adjective does is to remember that subject, object, and adjective all have ject in them. They are used together. For sentences using adjectives, they can clarify which noun, especially if common nouns like boy, girl, book, or thing, are used. If you are looking for adjectives activities we have both downloadable resources and ideas on how to teach adjectives here.
Adverbs are like adjectives for verbs. Like adjectives, you can remember which part of speech they describe because verb is in both of them.
Sometimes you will hear people say that sentences must contain a subject and a predicate. You know what a subject is, but you may still be wondering about the predicate. A predicate is simply the part of the sentence that is not the subject or related adjectives. It generally starts with the verb and goes through the rest of the sentence.
Like sentences that may contain simple, compound, or complex designs, subjects and predicates can have different levels of complexity. However, they are more limited to simple or compound. Their differences are relatively straightforward. A simple subject has one noun. Bill went to the store. Bill is a simple subject. Likewise, a compound subject would be more than one. Bill and Shonda went to the store.
Predicates have similar rules. A simple predicate is just the verb. In the example above, “went” is the simple predicate. Complete predicate (rather than compound or complex) means everything else. Again, using the above example, “went to the store” is the complete predicate. It contains the object and verb.
As you can see, complete thoughts or sentences can contain several things. We did not even cover different types of verbs, adverbs, adjectives, or other modifiers. However, it is not required that sentences contain objects to be complete. It can clarify the sentence, and it certainly helps add variety to writing. You are not required to use objects, but a paragraph full of simple sentences with no objects will get boring and possibly confusing quickly.
Since the first letters were drawn on a wall we have been using spelling tests with our children to test and teach how to spell words, it may have become a little more sophisticated in recent years but the trials and tribulations of spelling tests have been a regular feature in classrooms all over the world. Do they actually add anything to students skill base though?
Undertaking spelling tests does not help students develop spelling skills. There are strategies that help to improve spelling. Utilizing summative assessments with skills or phonics-based instruction can be beneficial. Rote learning or dictation tests have limited educational purpose however.
People, parents especially often think that this is how we learned to spell and that we do a perfectly fine job now. The problem is that not everyone does. Many people who were taught using this method now complain of being terrible spellers. There are a few reasons that this occurs.
Yes, there are some things that can be taught as spelling rules, but there are tens if not hundreds of spelling exceptions, one of the most cited rules with exceptions is the “i before e except after c” rule. The exceptions do not start there. I could write an entire blog post about spelling exceptions and still not reach all of the English language exceptions.
As someone who has studied grammar and spelling, I know that English spelling is a result of a mishmash of roots for our words. We aren’t entirely Latin, Germanic, Romance, or any other type of language. English is a thief language—it borrows from everyone without asking. A Buzzfeed article once looked at all the ways the English language was infuriating.
While it’s not a great news source, one thread they shared showed a user saying, “English isn’t a language, it’s three languages stacked on top of each other wearing a trenchcoat.”
Honestly, there is no better way to describe it. English is made up of so many other languages a list of words to learn to spell, even if they are related, doesn’t teach you how to approach spelling other words.
Before the mathematics friends pop in, saying, “but isn’t that how we learned times tables?” Those don’t work well that way either. Spelling needs to be taught as a system. Rather than i before e words in a list, we need our students to begin to understand how letters work together to form sounds.
One of the exceptions to that rule is “in words like neighbor, Raleigh, and sleigh,” or some group of words with an ei pattern. These letters also have a specific sound. Though Raleigh is often pronounced Rawlee in North Carolina, the original pronunciation was likely more of a Rahlay pattern.
This gives all of these an ay sound rather than ee. Though you may have done well on spelling tests, how many words do you have to look up or think carefully about now? They didn’t enter your long-term memory. They stayed in the short term for Friday’s test. If you are looking for long vowel practice you can check these out on our site as well.
There are several activities you might use rather than rote memorization an spelling tests. The critical factor is to pay attention to student learning patterns and questions. Here are a few tips and you can find a few more here both theirs and ours are designed by teachers
Spelling tests with lists or multiple-choice words don’t provide much meaningful activity. First, the words are often listed alphabetically and have little connection other than spelling patterns. While patterns are essential and should be studied, they do not provide students with word contexts. The following example works well for older students but may work for some younger ones depending on their comprehension.
One of the things I use to teach about the forms of “there” is how to use them. First, THERE contains the word “here,” which indicates placement. THEIR contains the word “heir,” which is a word they do not always know. Then we talk about what an heir is.
This is someone who will inherit money or items. They have a lot of possessions. This word is possessive. Finally, THEY’RE contains an apostrophe (it is bold but may be hard to see). This means that two words are smushed together because pronouns (there) only contain apostrophes when they are contractions.
This ways of explaining also leads students to often ask follow-up questions such as, “What about it’s or its?” Then I can explain that one is a contraction and the other is possessive. Your and You’re have similar explanations—if it’s OUR house, it belongs to us. If it’s YOUR house, it belongs to you.
However, YOU’RE indicates a contraction—you are. I also tell my students with your vs. you’re, “break it down into ‘you are,’ and if it makes sense in the sentence, the contraction is correct. If not, your is correct.” This helps them not just understand how to spell but why we choose each form. We are also using authentic writing. When students correct their own writing, they tend to retain it more.
One thing that helps students interact with texts more is to study unfamiliar words. While you might make a list of unfamiliar words from this week’s plans, this doesn’t mean that students will know all of the other words. Also, during independent activities, they may come across other unfamiliar words. One thing that I have had students do is write down unfamiliar words as they come to them in a notebook or on a sticky note.
Then, when they get to the end of the page or paragraph, stop and look the word up in the dictionary. If it has multiple meanings, try to see which meaning would make the most sense in the sentence. If he or she isn’t sure, ask a teacher or parent for help. Then, write the definition of this word. Writing the word and definition can often help students retain the information such as meaning and spelling.
This word meant something in their day. It isn’t just a set of words chosen for them. If they choose, they can arrange their notebook alphabetically and write it in the appropriate section.
Word studies are becoming more popular. They look at the spelling patterns and combinations of letters to produce better spelling. Remember when we were talking about the ei in neighbor and weigh. Well, that is a defined pattern with specific phonemic properties.
Students will then begin to study word patterns and words that are similar to other patterns. Yes, it returns classes to phonemic awareness and concepts, but this is not “Hooked on Phonics.” Phonics, phonemic awareness, patterns, and language all come together in spelling. Students will also learn more about meaning from roots and patterns. We have hundreds of phonics activities here to help with this
Spelling tests should be about more than rote memorization. You can test a student’s ability to spell through specific activities and authentic sources. Using a child’s work to teach them spelling gives them a stake in the concept. They will no longer be worried about memorizing a meaningless list, but they will be focused on spelling words that make their writing clearer.
Young students should begin using phonics, phonemic awareness, and language to learn about spelling and meaning. The more the words mean to students, the more likely they are to retain the information. They can also learn to read and spell more words because they understand why and how the patterns work.
Adverbs are words that can added to verbs, adjective or even other adverbs to change or add meaning. When you add an adverb changes a verb, it can give information on how, where, when, how often, why, and how much the action is occuring.
The majority of adverbs do end in ”ly” but it is not a set rule. There is more to consider than just the ending spellings of words to determine what meaning to apportion to them. Not all words that end in ly are adverbs, for example sly and lily, and not all adverbs end in -ly – for example never and very.
We will provide a list of examples below for both adverbs that do end in Ly and ones that don’t and links to full lists as well.
Words play roles in language. Some words have multiple roles. Read can be different words with different pronunciations, and this greatly depends on the usage. A person can be well-read (looked at and comprehended many books and articles). A person can read (looks at comprehends words on a page currently).
A person may also have read books before (looked at and comprehended words before now). Each of these words is related, but they have different meanings. Two of them are verbs. Reading, whether past or present, is an activity. To be well-read, however, is an adjective describing a person.
There are two common parts of speech beginning with ad—adjective and adverb. You may recall that an adjective describes an object or noun. Adverbs are similar. They are also describing words, and they are used to describe verbs.
They tell us how a verb was performed. Let’s look back at the verb read. There are many ways to describe how someone is reading. She read the book quietly while she waited. She read the book aloud noisily. He read the book clumsily, unable to understand the words (meaning he stumbled over the words).
She read the book aloud clearly. He read the book excitedly, anticipating the next paragraph. These sentences all describe how someone was reading, so the words that describe reading are adverbs.
If you notice, in two of them, two words describe how the book was read. One says the book was read aloud noisily, and the other says that it was read aloud clearly. In this case, aloud is an adverb describing how the book was read and noisily or clearly describe how the audible reading sounded.
There are two adverbs. One adverb describes another. Likewise, in both of these examples, aloud is an adverb that doesn’t end in -ly, demonstrating that all adverbs do not need to end in -ly. However, quietly, noisily, clumsily, clearly, and excitedly demonstrate the frequency in which these words do end in -ly.
Just as we had dual adverbs earlier, we often have adjectives that masquerade as adverbs sometimes. One of those examples is the word hard. A test can be hard (difficult). A rock can be hard. In this case, it’s a hard test or a hard rock. However, if it is raining hard, the adverb for raining (verb) is hard.
To say the weather is raining hardly, would be inappropriate in this case. Hardly raining would mean not raining very much. Many verbs can be both adjectives and adverbs, depending on how they are used.
Other adjectives can become adverbs by adding ly. Sweet is a fantastic example of this. The boy gave his friend a sweet card. Sweet describes the card in this case. Since card is a noun, sweet becomes an adjective (adjectives describe objects).
However, by adding -ly we get an adverb. Sam smiled sweetly at Jack. In this case, sweetly describes how Sam smiled. The root of both words is sweet, but adding the ly changes it from an adjective to an adverb (adverbs describe verbs).
Flat adverbs, sometimes referred to as bare adverbs, are those that do not have an -ly ending but could. These are words like slow, real, tight, and close. Some of these words change meaning when they get the ly, so you use the flat adverb instead.
Take the example from above. When you say it is hardly raining, this takes on an entirely different meaning than it is raining hard. Both words describe the intensity at which it is raining, but with the ly, we learn that it is not raining much at all. Without the ly, we discover that it is indeed raining intensely.
Sometimes, we may see the term adverbial. This is any word or phrase that behaves like an adverb. These are not typically adverbs, but they are pretending to be one in the sentence or phrase. Some examples are deep, in town, or at work. “She sleeps at work.” In this sentence, at work describes where or how she sleeps. “His anger runs deep.” Deep, in the previous sentence, describes how his anger runs.
Sometimes you may want to use adverbs in a comparative or superlative sense. You may want to compare whose smile is sweeter. In this case, you would say that Sam smiles more sweetly than Jack. Sweetlier would not be a word. Some comparative and superlative forms do get er and est, but they never end in ly first.
For flat adverbs, you will use the same rules that you would for the word as an adjective. For instance, harder or hardest would be appropriate because of the length of words. Keep in mind that we do not always use words or phrases in informal English as we would in more formal settings.
For instance, we might say “drive careful” to a loved one, but the standard formal English should be “drive carefully.” No one is going to correct you for leaving off the ly in this case as it is the informal accepted form of the phrase. If speaking to a friend, this phrase is acceptable, but on an English quiz, you might want to avoid it.
As noted already, there have been many adverbs that do not end in ly or take the adjective form depending on their usage. There are also more than enough words that end in ly but are not adverbs. Most often, these words are adjectives. A common way to turn a noun into an adjective is to add ly.
For instance, “a northerly wind blows tonight” contains northerly, but it refers to the wind, not the blowing. Technically, it is blowing northerly, but we generally are describing the wind and not the blow. A scholarly argument is one that the person considered and researched their topic carefully. Argument is a noun in this case, and scholarly is describing the kind of argument.
Here we have an example list of both adverbs ending in ly, and other words ( not adverbs) that also end in ly just to add to the confusion!!! an then we have a list of adverbs that do not end in ly.
|Adverbs ending in ly||Adverbs not ending in ly||Words ending in ly – not adverbs|
If you need a linger list there is a PDF here
Many words can be manipulated to have several different forms and meanings. Just because a word ends in ly does not make it an adverb. The absence of such letters also does not make it another part of speech. We have to look at what each word is doing in the sentence. If a word is a person, place, thing, or idea, it is a noun. If another word is describing that noun, it becomes an adjective.
Similarly, if the word is an action, we call it a verb, and a word describing that action is an adverb. Even if the word is sometimes used in another part of speech, we have to take each encounter for what it represents. Adverbials nearly never have ly endings.
Vowels and consonants are the sounds of the English language. There are 44 mostly agreed sounds in the English language. There are 20 vowels and 24 consonant sounds. Although this number can be a subject of debate.
Young Children and infants will start producing sounds that resemble vowels and consonants at about 16 to 30 weeks, although these are unlikely to be mimicry and there seems to be limited vocal control at this age.
It is not recommended to teach vowel and consonant sounds in isolation. Many phonics instruction methods introduce a mix of common vowel and consonant sounds enabling children to learn both the sounds of English and how to blend together simple words. One popular order of phonics is the S-A-T-I-P-N order.
Teaching literacy to young children can be challenging. Phonics got a bad reputation back in the 1980s with Hooked on Phonics. While phonics instruction cannot be the only instruction, phonemic awareness and phonics should be taught to emerging readers. This is not to say that the program had no place in literacy learning. Teaching phonics in schools has become about the whole word and language rather than simply chunking words based upon sounds. There is more than phonics at play.
You may be wondering what phonemic awareness is. Phonemic awareness is being able to hear and manipulate the smallest units of sound. Phonemes are these sounds. The awareness of these sounds is quite simply phonemic awareness. It is classified as a subset of phonological awareness.
The overarching term of phonological awareness is defined as, “A broad skill that includes identifying and manipulating units of oral language – parts such as words, syllables, and onsets and rimes.” This concept is about more than phonemes. In this case, the types of sound as is their placement.
The other component of this group is phonics. Phonics is the study of graphemes (letters) and sounds. This requires phonemic awareness, and the failure of past programs has been that they leave phonological and phonemic awareness out.
Teaching literacy begins with phonemic awareness. Several schools of thought exist on what should be taught first. One consensus is that similar-looking letters should not be taught at the same time. Likewise, similar sounds should be avoided at the same time. It is essential to understand the types of phonemes as well. Typically, they are taught by type.
Many resources suggest that the above combination be taught first. Several short words can be taught using this simple combination. Each letter has a different sound, and the graphemes look remarkably different. A and I are often taught as short vowel sounds, at first rather than long. Long sounds have many spellings and add confusion if introduced at this stage.
Reading and writing go hand in hand. When teaching these phonemes, it is equally important to teach the letter and formation of that letter. Many children lack handwriting skills when they begin reading, and by learning together, they have more connection between the symbolic letter and auditory sound. It is a more holistic approach to language instruction.
Another variation to teach early on is the above letters. Again, with these two vowels and this group of consonants, many words can be created. The first group is slightly more common, but either one should work.
The next group is often this set of letters. This is when the first blend is introduced. Again, the vowels are still only short sounds. Do not teach them independently from the past letters. A, I, and E are all used with combinations of the other letters. Teaching phonics should be more like scaffolding than independent concepts. Each set of letters should build on the last. Phonemes and graphemes are the building blocks of words.
Once you have taught the entire alphabet, you should begin to teach words based on the patterns of letters. The simplest ones to learn are the consonant vowel consonant pattern. These are words like cat, hat, dog, map, pam, pat, and other similar words. You should still be using short vowel sounds at this juncture.
This will also tell you whether or not children have grasped the phonemic awareness lessons taught so far. The good news is that if your students are struggling with this, you can return to the lessons on phonemic awareness and phonemes. It is not enough to learn the sounds of letters; the children must also connect them with the graphemes or written letters.
When your students have mastered the CVC pattern, you can move on to some more blends. They can begin to learn ccvc and cvcc patterns during this process.
While you may have used a few digraphs when teaching before, your students probably do not know what they are or why we need two letters to make a single sound. The vowel sounds should still be short sounds as well. When teaching these diagraphs, you should continue to follow the suggestions above of not teaching the two-letter sounds that look similar—it and ot.
Since your students have learned some basic digraphs and blends at this point, you can introduce them to more complex blends. The sh, th, wh, bl, and pr blends are commonly taught now. Since you still haven’t taught long vowel sounds, be sure that you do not introduce them during this time.
Double letters, three-letter blends, and unusual blended sounds can come next. These are ph words, voiced and unvoiced th, and double-letter words (ss), to name a few. Once vowel blends such as oo, ow, and oi are introduced, you can begin introducing long vowel sounds, and unique vowel sounds like the a in cart or the long a in pain.
Some words have one grapheme and two phonemes. The most common is the x in fox that has the ks sound rather than just one or the other. The qu in quick also combines as kw, and most words do not have a q without the u.
The more your students learn, the more they are capable of learning. All of these concepts will not happen in kindergarten or even first grade. Reading takes a few years to become fluent and expert readers. Vocabulary acquisition never ends, so your students should be comfortable with how to read words and what they mean.
Once your students have moved to these more complex sounds and letter combinations, they will start building reading fluency. It may seem that this process takes a long time, and in many ways, it does. However, this is a skill that will be with your students forever. It takes practice, but once your students begin understanding how to combine words that are longer and more complex, they will begin to decode the text more readily.
Decoding is what your students do when they are reading and understanding the text. Reading words that have no meaning does not help fluency or literacy. They may be able to read the words, but students also need to be capable of comprehending that text too. Decoding is the act of reading and comprehending together.
Explicit teaching is crucial to teaching phonics. Reading is not intuitive, as it is a learned skill. Learning this skill will allow students to learn nearly every other skill they will ever learn. Here are our 10 tips to keep phonics learning effective
The first question was whether you should teach vowels or consonants first. Reading is rarely consonant or vowel-only words. In fact, there are very few words with no vowels. There are many ways to group students and letters, but the most important thing is to teach with kindness, patience, and explicit instruction. Don’t be afraid to repeat lessons and to remember that everyone learns at different speeds. Pick a system, seek advice and don’t be afraid to change how you teach things.
When heading into upper secondary, and always at university there is a requirement to cite references and find sources to back up findings and arguments. It also offers a way to avoid plagiarism and show research. Bit does any teacher or lecturer actually ever check those sources.
Although the verification of sources is more common at university level than in high school it does occur in both. Teachers and professors are often familiar with subject literature and if sources are from alternative material outside of reading lists it is more likely they will be checked for legitimacy
If not you could be unintentionally plagiarizing others work and the bottom line is that plagiarism is cheating. However, there are two main types of plagiarism and a few subtypes of each. Intentional and unintentional plagiarism are the two main types. Let’s take a look at how they occur.
This type of plagiarism is not as common as you may think. It is the type of plagiarism that occurs when a student or writer knows that what they are writing is not their ideas or words. Entire groups of words are copied, or ideas are taken from someone else. Students know that it is wrong, but they do it in an attempt to get a good grade or to do little work on a paper.
Generally, paid-for papers or copied papers off websites are the most commonly seen intentionally plagiarized paper. Faked sources are another way that students intentionally cheat, and we will cover more of that later. This type of plagiarism can be easy to detect with free and paid online plagiarism checkers, and ones specifically designed for universities like turn it in.
This type is the most common plagiarism detected. In these cases, students did not know what they were doing was cheating or wrong. Usually, it results from not understanding plagiarism or how to check sources properly.
This TED-ed video shows how people sometimes cheat whether they mean to do so or not. In this type of cheating, a student has quote after quote of other material. The paper has very few of the author’s own words. No more than 10 percent of the paper should be someone else’s thoughts or words, generally speaking. Some instructors will allow up to 25, but more than that is too much.
Sometimes, you just forget to cite your source. Other times, you messed up the source. You may have misquoted or misattributed the source. This type of violation is nearly never intentional. We all miss things now and then. As long as you are not doing this multiple times throughout your work it shouldn’t factor too heavily.
Whether you are using MLA, APA, or another citation style, you must always include a final page of properly formatted sources. An MLA page is a Works Cited, and the APA equivalent is the References page. Other styles may use bibliographies or similarly worded titles. In-text citations are only so helpful for locating sources. Teachers need all source information, and missed citations mean plagiarized work.
Paraphrasing is one of the hardest parts of using someone else’s words. However, using more than a few lines of text is not usually advisable. For this reason, many authors will want to paraphrase the material. Not properly attributing the idea is a forgotten citation, but if you simply substitute each word for another, that is improperly paraphrased. A paraphrase should be in your own words, not the thesaurus.
This type of plagiarism can fall under both intentional and unintentional. Students who reuse their work from other courses or assignments are self-plagiarizing. Most assignments require new work or studies to be accurate. Some instructors will grant permission, but they must be notified first.
Often, when students intentionally cheat, their sources are clearly made up or are unbelievable. The most obvious is the student who cannot form clear sentences for in-class assignments but writes a dissertation worthy essay when given the opportunity to write from home. Sometimes these papers are purchased or done by other students.
Another red flag is when there are few or no in-text citations for a very complex topic. Students in high school probably aren’t familiar with biotechnology. Even if they have a rudimentary understanding, complex concepts are going to be too advanced for the course.
High similarity scores are also a red flag. Teachers often use programs like Turnitin or Sribbr to check the similarity reports of the work students submit. The program provides a percentage of the paper that is found in other sources. The teacher can review each instance of similarity and where the paper originated.
Sometimes, your teacher can do a Google search and put keywords for your paper. Purchased papers often result from this simple search. Likewise, they can check the article you placed in your references if you have listed them.
If students have no sources, many teachers will simply return it, explaining that they were required to use source materials and lack of using them means they didn’t do the assignment completely. Some instructors give second chances, and others do not.
The answer to this question is a tricky one. Students in middle or high school who cheat often fail the assignment, and some have to make it up with or without penalty. Some may also have disciplinary consequences such as detention or other penalties. College courses are different, however. Some instructors will allow one plagiarism mistake in a semester.
If you make that mistake, many professors give a 0 for the assignment, though some may let you redo it if it is clear it was a mistake. Other consequences may include failure and withdrawal from the course up to expulsion from school. Most schools do not expel students on the first offense, but this could depend on the situation too. When colleges uncover paper selling rings, all students are often expelled.
Why, indeed? Students cheat for a variety of reasons. Sometimes the student is busy and thinks that purchasing a paper for a class that is a gen-ed requirement will be no big deal. He or she is not studying psychology, so it’s okay to submit a purchased paper for this class.
Other times, students are just lazy. They do not want to do the work for classes they are disinterested in, so they get someone else to do it. They aren’t working or playing sports—they just don’t feel like working. Most of the time, however, students don’t mean to cheat. They make mistakes or misunderstand the plagiarism that is occurring.
In nearly every instance of intentional plagiarism, the student never imagined they would be caught. They copied sources that were obscure or made the sources look real. Their overconfidence was their downfall.
Be honest. Let your instructor know what your mistake was, and ask for another chance. If it is clear that it was accidental, many instructors will allow that second chance. Some will not because they want you to learn a hard lesson. No matter the outcome, accept the instructor’s decision.
Sometimes people get away with cheating. It is unfortunate and frustrating, but you should expect that your instructor will be checking your sources and citations. If you are confused about how to do this, talk to your instructor or a tutor before your paper is due.
Many will provide you with sources or may help you figure out how to avoid plagiarism. Though there are terrible teachers everywhere, most instructors are only interested in your learning. They want you to be scholars and learn to do the task at hand.
To read silently is a skill that nearly every reader learns to do with time. However, some people are more naturally “loud” readers. Remember that milestones are relative when speaking of children and not to worry if this occurs earlier or later.
Many readers begin to read with support around age five or six (grade 1 and grade 2). With a few years of practice, children will begin reading to themselves. Silent reading usually starts in earnest at around six to eight years old, however, it is not uncommon for children to read silently than this age.
Reading is an extension of language just as writing or speaking. They often go hand in hand. Children who learn to read using phonics techniques often deploy all three areas of language for their learning. They learn phonemes (sounds) and graphemes (letters) simultaneously. We have hundreds of phonics resources here.
They not only learn to recognize the graphemes, but they also learn to write them. Reading, writing, and speaking are inseparable for them. Sounding out words is most easily done with the voice, so young children often speak when they read. We have articles in our blog on how to teach the sounds to children.
If your child is clearly avoiding reading aloud to someone or reading silently at their desk or at home by the end of second grade (around 8), you might become a little concerned. However, you have to look at the whole situation. Some reading strategies or skills are developed later.
Your child may not be ready to give up some quiet (but audible) reading quite yet. Skills should essentially be developed that this point with mild resistance to giving up habits. If the resistance is strong, this may indicate a dependence. Likewise, if a child is too scared to read aloud in a group, this could indicate trouble.
Practice makes perfect, but children need to fail too. Children cannot inherently read silently. They must learn to read to themselves with practice. When reading first begins, it is heavily dependent on the reading aloud portion; as time goes on, they have to learn to read silently to themselves.
The more a child practices, the better they get, right? Well, let them practice in a variety of situations. If you are a parent, encourage them to read while others are also reading. This might help them realize that others are reading silently. You can also have them bring a book to appointments or even church.
Do not permit them to read when they should be listening but reading before or after a service while they are waiting can help them get in more minutes of reading and more silent reading practice. Reading in locations where they think they need to be quiet might help them become more conscious of their vocal sounds.
Reading aloud can be fun and entertaining. Doing the voices for multiple characters, emphasizing words and dialogue, and expressive speech can really bring a book to life. Allow your child some time to read to you or another family member. All reading is good reading. Reading aloud can be fun.
Silent reading is counterproductive for inexperienced readers. As readers gain fluency, they may be able to read silently, but they need their voices to build fluency first. Reading Rockets reports, “As it turns out, such concerns are justified.
The National Reading Panel* (NRP) concluded there is insufficient support from empirical research to suggest that independent, silent reading can be used to help students improve their fluency.” While there are some students that it may help, most students benefit from being fluent first.
Students who read silently often read faster. While quick reading doesn’t always mean higher comprehension, it does mean that they are typically more fluent. Readers may not realize that they are slowing themselves down by speaking the words.
However, for students reading a complex or difficult text, they may find that reading aloud helps them understand it because they are a little slower. Find out why your child is resistant to reading silently. It may just be a habit.
Reading aloud is not always convenient, but it often improves retention. SciLearn states, “Memory retention was strongest when reading aloud directly, suggesting that the impact came not just from hearing the words, but also speaking them.” If your child is reading about an interesting concept, reading aloud could help him or her to retain the information.
If your child is new at reading silently, help them build stamina. Reading silently after reading aloud for so long is challenging. Have them start reading silently for a few minutes each day. Extend the reading time by one to two minutes every few days. Before you know it, your child will be reading silently for sustained periods.
If you are concerned with the volume at which your child reads, encourage quieter reading. You do not have to push silent reading, but like building stamina, you can build silence. Have your child read at a lower volume until he or she is barely audible. This can help your child be a little less distracting to other readers.
Reading is challenging to sustain if you are bored. If you have ever picked up a truly boring book, you know that it is nearly impossible to read it and comprehend the words. You are so distracted you just want to throw it out. If it’s reading for pleasure, that might be okay.
However, sometimes young children are reading books their teachers gave them, and they think they have to read them for silent reading. This is nearly never true. Get your children books that they will enjoy or encourage trips to the library. The more a child is invested in reading, the more likely they will develop the silent reading skills you seek.
Either follow along as your child reads silently or read your own book while he or she reads. Modeling good reading behavior can be very encouraging for students. They see you doing it, and they want to copy you. If you are a classroom teacher with silent reading time, bring a book to read too. Students need to see that reading is important to you too.
Students should begin reading silently around the end of second grade. Some may begin at six and others at nine or ten. Most of the time, the exact age is irrelevant, but you need to pay attention to your child’s habits. If they are easily frustrated by reading or refuse to read aloud or silently, these can be red flags.
On the other hand, if they are just creatures of habit, you can help them build new habits. Most adults do not read aloud, so keep this in mind. Sometimes, reading aloud can be very beneficial to memory and learning, so allow your child time to think, grow, and learn with little emphasis on this one skill.
Tracing letters has long been the norm in primary and preschool classrooms. Children learn to write by tracing their names, letters, and even numbers. This is not necessarily the best way to learn to write. Letters have different shapes and hand positions for creating readable graphemes. A grapheme is simply the letter representation of a sound or cluster of sounds.
Handwriting can be practiced by tracing letters; however, tracing mazes and shapes are better suited to practice handwriting. Tracing should be used as part of a wider spectrum of activities and resources. Activities that develop fine and gross motor skills will all help students develop handwriting skills.
Children with fine motor skill challenges will often find writing and coloring difficult. Tracing letters can be incredibly difficult for these students. These students sometimes simply need to strengthen the muscles in their hands or fingers. For other students, they need to learn how to control those muscle movements. Begin with muscle function before ever considering a paper and pencil.
While handwriting practice is a fine motor skill, it is often beneficial to begin with a gross motor activity. Acting out writing letters by making large, exaggerated movements can help young learners to understand each of the components used in making the letter. Air writing a ”q ”can help children learn the placement of curves and lines. Using playdoh, or plasticine can help make it interactive, fun and educational.
While it may seem simple, good posture is critical to handwriting skills. Poor posture can increase fatigue, and people tend to be sloppier if they are not sitting upright or trying to maintain good posture. It can also help make hand and arm placement more comfortable.
Although we think this is just acquired, you can actually, demonstrate and encourage this at home and in school to make sure children are starting with the best practices and don’t have to ”unlearn” bad habits later.
Some educators used to think that students had to learn to read before they could learn to write, but experts have challenged this thinking. Reading and writing should come together rather than separately.
The more of a connection students have between graphemes and phonemes, the more they are ready to be fluent readers and writers. It allows them to see the connection to the words they are practicing hand writing and the stories they listen to or read.
Tracing letters to encourage handwriting practice may seem like it would encourage good letter formation. On the contrary, it can hinder that formation. Children will be more interested in following lines or staying in a path that they will often make unnecessary strokes or begin from inappropriate points. Tracing is not helping children learn to write when this happens. It is improving their coloring skills.
That is not to say tracing in general is bad, if it is developed to show starting points and the flow of letters, or patterns like the mazes we mentioned above it can be useful. In fact we have cursive tracing sets on the site here.
You might be thinking that if I won’t let you teach tracing, teaching handwriting will be impossible. This notion couldn’t be further from the truth; there are dozens of things you can do to teach handwriting without tracing letters. Below we have highlighted some handwriting practice activities.
Wait! I said not to teach tracing letters, but now I am saying to trace mazes. There is a critical difference here. Mazes are meant for staying inside the lines. They can be picked up and started in a variety of places or ways. However, the curves, lines, or spacing can also help students begin to develop much-needed writing skills.
Use small trinkets such as buttons, glass stones, craft yarn balls, or pebbles to create the letters. You can use your old tracing sheets for this. Your children will begin to see how to form the letter, not just what it should look like written. However, as your child begins to see how letters take shape, take the tracing paper away. Have them use the same materials to build without the tray.
Allow students to use their fingers to draw short words on the backs of their friends. The friend cannot see the hand movement and will have to rely on the letter’s structure. This means the “writer” has to write very carefully. For young students just starting out, two or three-letter words should be sufficient. Let your students take turns. You could even keep score. How many letters did you get on the first try, second try, and third or more?
Yes, just like everything else, there is an app for teaching handwriting. In fact there are many apps for cursive and handwriting practice. I caution you against relying heavily on these apps because students writing on phones and devices often struggle with realistic movements as screens do not always behave as we expect.
Most kids love to play outside. If possible, take a bucket of sidewalk chalk outside. For handwriting practice draw a large letter in the center and encourage your students to make a smaller version like your letter. Make it large enough several children can do it at once. Move to another place or use a little water on hot days and “erase” the chalk with a scrubber.
Don’t be afraid to get messy. If you are afraid your children will eat any “creamy” substance put in front of them, encourage them to play with their food and create a pudding or whipped cream surface. Let your students draw in their food with their fingers. If you aren’t afraid, shaving cream can often do wonders for a stained table. The soap in it will sometimes clean the surface. Check with the school and parents before using anything that could have potential allergens.
If you like the idea of drawing with fingers but are not too fond of the mess from above, you can make a sensory bag using a gel. Colored hair gel or gel with food coloring are popular choices, as Understood explains. Put just a little in the bag and remove the air when sealing. Allow children to draw using their finger or a rounded stylus or pencil eraser.
Okay, you are probably starting to think we are losing it. How does not writing help writing? We didn’t say put down your pencils. Writing depends on fine motor skills, as we have already noted. Drawing and coloring help students practice these skills. Allow your students to take a little time to draw and practice doodling shapes and lines. This will improve their writing skills.
Children will often focus on perfection. However, handwriting is not mastered from the first try. Help your students learn to move on by encouraging them to mark it out and move on. Once the legibility is achieved, erasing can be introduced if you want. Progress is important—not perfection.
Practice pencil gripping whether writing that day or not. Students need to maintain a good grip to avoid cramping and to provide control over the instrument. Multiple grips can be used, but your students must be able to hold one that is conducive to writing.
There are many reasons that tracing does not work. It doesn’t encourage proper letter formation or connection to the letter. It becomes more of a task to connect parts than to write a letter. Getting your students writing does not have to involve pencils and paper at all. A friend’s back or hand, a plastic bag, or even a sensory table can be used to promote handwriting. On the playground, encourage students to use sticks and dirt to practice drawing lines or letters. Learning can take place anywhere—a classroom desk or table, cafeteria tray, or playground dirt. Keep encouraging your students to practice their writing skills and not get upset if they mess up. Mistakes are how we learn and a part of life. Good grips, posture, fine motor, and gross motor skills are all vital in learning to write. Have fun with it.
Reading bedtime stories with your children is one of the best things you can do to improve their cognition, memory, and academic skills. However, parents sometimes forget to be interactive with children when reading. The more interactive you are, the more you can build these skills.
Unfortunately, parents do not always know how to do that. Below are a few of the ways you can help your children think about their reading and have fun at the same time!.
I just finished watching News of the World, with Tom Hanks. (I mean he is the star, I wasn’t watching it with him!) It is the story of a man who goes from town to town 150 years ago and reads the newspapers to people who can’t read. It made me think of how we read to our children at bedtime.
Bedtime stories are an underutilized way of improving a child’s reading comprehension, higher order thinking and meta cognition skills. Developing a series of simple questions will enable them to practice and develop reading skills including empathy, comparison, summarizing, and prediction skills at all ages.
Below we highlight 14 Questions that are for the most part suitable for all ages. They can be scaffolded to become more complex or easier depending on the age of your children. Even during bedtime you can still be teaching them!
You can also find a good list of bedtime stories (classics and modern) here.
Bedtime stories are all about connection, relaxation and fun but that is not to say you can slip a little education in there as well. I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Spend a couple of minutes looking through the bedtime stories you read with your children and then think of a could of question you could ask about the stories.
What asking questions during Storytime is not, is a test, children have WAY to many of those without bringing them to bedtime. What is is does is make bedtime stories interactive, and fun. Children can imagine themselves in the story, and change the outcome depending on their actions.
This will bring a deeper involvement in the bedtime story, and as a welcome side effect will help them develop reading comprehension skills, as well as interaction and social skills as well. What are you waiting for! grab a book and go 😛
We have 14 questions to help you get started, but they are not definite, however they are generic enough to be used in most books and will get you off to a great start!
Ask your children about what they see on the page. This gets children thinking about the text in more than one way. For instance, if there are photos or pictures, the child must consider how they relate to the story or information. Likewise, even if it is a novel with few pictures at all, changes in text/ font, paragraph length, dialogue, and bold words can give clues as to what is happening in the book.
If this is a book that is being read over several days, ask your child to recap previous days. For instance, if you are reading a novel and are on chapter ten, you might ask your child what has already happened. This exercise triggers recall as well as discrimination of information. Your child will have to decide which information is essential and which is not.
This is a great reading skill, and encourages children to listen to the story not just the soothing sound of your voice!
Ask your child what they think will happen or what can be assumed by looking at what they see. This activity will go along with asking what they see. They will look at pictures, text clues and consider what they already know about the book. Make predictions before you begin reading.
You can couple this with the recap questions for longer books. As you are reading, revisit the preview, and adjust your predictions. Make new predictions if you think the previous ones are wrong. Be sure to stop and ask about new predictions when something affects earlier predictions.
When characters do something big in a story, ask why you think they made their choice. This allows children to consider why people make choices, and it helps to develop empathy. They will learn to consider others’ motives and reasons before making judgments. You can ”think out loud” to demonstrate this to you children. They will certainly offer their opinions as well!
Ask children to talk about what choices they might make. Just as asking about character choices, ask why they would make these decisions. Ask them what they think the outcome would be if the character made the choice they would. You can also ask why they think the character did not make that choice.
This allows them to use their own schema, or own priorities and put themselves in the story. Don’t worry if they say something like they would have kicked Cinderella in the head and run off with the prince. It also develops imagination!!!
While this question might seem silly, asking how they feel about characters might help them decide what makes a person likable, but they also might consider why they feel that way about the character. You can also ask if the main character reminds them of someone else.
You can add to this with why they like or don’t like, and let them develop knowledge of traits that are important to them.
Ask your child if they would want to live where the story takes place. Why would they? Or why wouldn’t they? What do they think they would like about that location. If the location is similar to their current hometown, get them to explain why or how.
This is a great question to ask children about all of the characters. In a scene where many characters are interacting, ask how the most active characters are feeling. However, if it is a scene between only a few characters, let your child consider everyone’s feelings. you can introduce both empathy and reasoning with these type of questions.
If this happened to you, how would you feel? This is a great question to ask young students who are struggling with feelings. Additionally, older students can also benefit from considering how others’ actions might affect them if they were involved.
Ask them how they would deal with those feelings, what can they and the characters do about it.
At the end of the book, we sometimes have questions. Ask your child what he or she is still wondering about. Are there things the author left up to the reader to decide? Is there a sequel that will answer questions? Have your child consider what they feel has not been answered yet.
Asking about the author’s purpose or theme of a story might help children understand why characters behaved as they did. This can drive empathy. It can also help children consider whether the story is teaching them something or merely entertaining them.
Although this might be more difficult for younger learners you can certainly scaffold this down, ask ask if they know of other stories like it, and if they learnt anything from it.
At any point in a story, you might ask if there is something they do not understand. This is especially important for texts with difficult words, old-fashioned dialects, or unfamiliar terms. Helping children figure out these answers early can make the story more enjoyable. This can be an ongoing exercise, and depending how much you want them to sleep, you can ask them how they will find out the answers.
Asking your child questions during bedtime stories should not be a chore. Ask them to interact with you and help you see the story from another perspective. Make the questions natural and comfortable. Don’t make it seem so much like a language arts lesson. You can help your child improve comprehension of reading material and build life skills simultaneously.
Bedtime reading, as we said in the quote above is about connections and fun. All of these tasks should be part of that. If it turns into a lesson, with right and wrong answers then it is is counter productive. All steps, including small steps still get you to the destination!
Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it 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
One of the biggest fights that children and parents have is over homework. For some students, homework struggles are a frequent occurrence and can be extremely challenging without the benefit of the teacher present.
However, Having a plan in place and a little knowledge you can get through these with a little patience and commitment. Here are some tips on how to prevent those homework struggles from spiraling out of control.
Students struggling with homework is an increasing problem. Ever increasing demands on student’s time, and a shortening attention span globally are some root causes. Solutions can include: Schedule setting, regular break periods, extrinsic and intrinsic motivations, and teacher parent cooperation.
Many schools have gone to either online learning, remote learning, or in-person learning with remote or online days and times. This new learning format is challenging, even for older children. Young children with less experience in the classroom are miserable at times.
Homework struggles does not necessarily mean struggling students. Students who are not getting adequate instruction time are struggling even though they wouldn’t usually. We have compiled some tips for parents experiencing struggles with their young kids doing homework.
If your child is struggling with homework, you need to understand what is causing the struggle. Are your children resistant to beginning homework or having trouble with a specific type of assignment? The answer to this question will determine what you do next.
If your child has trouble remembering instructions or comprehending them, you might have to look for alternate instructions or access to their coursework. Sometimes students forget assignments, and writing them down is the best thing they can do.
For other students, they hear the instructions and do not comprehend them. This type of challenge may indicate a learning disability, so you need to determine which issue your child is having. Keep in mind that not every child having trouble remembering or comprehending instructions has a disability.
We want to address a variety of problems and their solutions. Each problem may have several solutions. They may even have solutions that we do not list. These are merely some suggestions to get your creative juices flowing.
Children who are struggling with assignments are often resistant to doing the assignment. Even if they sit down to do the assignment, students who are working to the point of frustration will sometimes fight or kick and scream and call themselves names. This behavior is not only frustrating for parents, but it is also heartbreaking.
While homework is for student practice, they cannot practice what they do not know. Act as a facilitator. Help reread assignment instructions and go over the material again if you can. As a parent watching your child struggle, it can be tempting to tell them the right answer, but this does not help them learn. Help students discover the answer by slowing down and chunking the steps.
Encourage your child to work with the teacher to find solutions, but emailing or talking to the teacher may help you find ways to help your child at home. Ask for additional information that can help you and your child get through these challenges at home.
Asking for clarification may help you find new ways to explain the material to your child. If the teacher notices a trend, he or she may recommend interventions or tutoring for your child.
Although we are aiming this article at parents trying to combat homework struggles, this one if for the teacher. STOP GIVING BORING HOMEWORK! try flipping the classroom. send home the materials to read, watch, engage with. Send home a game to play with their parents, or on their own, it can still all be assessed.
Sending home work sheet after worksheet will not achieve much more than causing problems and division. There are hundreds of games here on our site that offer a little more interaction. None of them are candy crush or Minecraft, but children will respond if they feel teachers are making an effort to make work more interesting.
If you need to edit games we even sell those in our shop, then you can arm yourself with a suite of tasks that if not quite as exciting as Disney at least they are a step in the right direction.
Procrastination is fun for kids. Legos, Elsa and Anna, dinosaurs, and balls are much more interesting than math, science, or writing. Children need help with self-regulation of behaviors.
Executive function is not an innate skill. It must be taught. Sometimes children just have trouble with procrastinating or paying attention.
Set a time to do homework. Nothing else is allowed to be done during homework time. You might even have to “countdown” homework time; a two-minute warning does not have to be reserved for Monday night football.
When children are having trouble concentrating, taking a break is a good idea. Adults usually don’t work for more than 45 minutes or an hour before needing to stretch and losing their ability to concentrate. Set a timer for twenty to thirty minutes and then a five-to-ten-minute break.
This does not mean that your child should be done with a whole assignment in those thirty minutes. It simply means that they need a minute or two to gather their thoughts and begin again. For children with true Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, this can be the difference between success and failure. A few minutes to get the wiggles out is spectacular.
Find a quick movement video on YouTube if you want to give them something specific to do.
Lack of interest is probably the hardest one to overcome. Students who lack interest will procrastinate, misunderstand, and not be able to concentrate. This problem often has elements of the above two. You can combat it in small ways.
Sometimes this one may feel like bribery. You can trade a few minutes of something they love for every thirty minutes of work and real concentration. They must work hard on the assignment and cannot rush through it. During their break, they can play five minutes of their favorite game, listen to their favorite song, or build with their Legos—trade a little fun for a little hard work.
Teach your children to do the uninteresting thing first. Insist that they do it well or require it to be redone, but let them do the boring stuff and get it out of the way. Then they can move on to the exciting assignments. If there is a motivator to just get through it it may help them stop fighting it and just do it.
You can use extrinsic and intrinsic motivators here, but if you can help them understand we are all doing this for a reason and the reason is not to bore them out of their minds!! (that is just an unfortunate by-product)
With smaller children it is unlikely you will be able to explain to them there merit of their learning for the future right now. They do understand rewards they can see and touch.
I have a system in my classroom that rewards good behavior, a table on the wall. I add points for behavior helpfulness, kindness, exceptional effort and work. After they reach a certain number of points there is a tangible reward structure. that enables the children can choose what they would like with the points they have earned. Adapting this to avoid homework struggles is perfectly feasible.
I designed that ( its actually bigger, for my classes in school). I do this by introducing that we cant pay children money, its a shame but we cant. We tried it but then they didn’t go to school. So I can pay for good work a different way.
Now, i know teachers have mixed opinions on this. I don’t, if its done correctly. I regard extrinsic motivators as a waypoint on the path to intrinsic ones. I also believe that the are times when we just have to sit and do the boring task, stripping wallpaper, washing the pots and completing homework.
How much nicer is it to say after the wallpaper I will have a tea and cookie, after the pots I will sit and watch my TV show and after my homework I can play with my toys for 30 mins.
We are teaching more than the subject with methods like these we are teaching children how to monitor their time, how to be patient, how to negotiate and how to do boring task that just need doing!
There are only a few suggestions and issues here. If you are concerned about your child’s abilities, always seek advice from teachers or physicians first. Learning disabilities, visual problems, hearing challenges, and other medical and learning needs can be addressed with the appropriate interventions. However, for most children, homework struggles are simply a matter of disinterest, procrastination, or typical challenges with new material keep trying new approaches and you will find the way that works best for your own children.
Hi I’m Marc. A teacher of over 15 years, English, General Studies and Outdoor Education. Thought it 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