Monday, December 12, 2011

Building Block Literacy

Are blocks on your child's holiday wish list? My sons are big fans of building. With blocks, Lego, Dixie Cups, Lego, Mega Bloks, Duplo, and more Lego. So when my son's kindergarten teacher told me about a clever way to combine sight word practice with building, I knew the idea would definitely click around here.


Want to give it a try?
  • Print sight words on labels and attach to bricks, blocks or cubes. (I used Mega Bloks because we have a bunch, and the size and shape works well for this activity.)
  • Draw pictures or add simple consonant/vowel/consonant words on more labels so your builder can build sentences.  
  • I also decided to add some punctuation labels for ending punctuation practice.
  • If you have enough bricks, you might want to leave a blank one in between each word to reinforce the idea of spacing.




My son started grabbing pieces and building sentences before the words were all stuck on, and he didn't want to stop to go to bed.  In fact, you can tell we were up late from the shadowy pictures. Sorry!

Once we got going, we quickly realized that we needed more words. Since I've been meaning to make a new printable for you anyway...I made up a new set with pictures, a double set of the sight words, plus one more with capital letters, color and number words, and alphabet letters for spelling practice.

If you'd like a copy, download it for free right here.  You can use these with any bricks or blocks.  If they don't fit the blocks you have at home, just select a smaller printing size in the "print preferences" menu. If you're a teacher, you should totally copy our kindergarten teacher's idea.  She gave us the sight word labels last week at conferences.  Very clever!

And for more fun versions of this same idea, search "word building" on Pinterest.


Here are some more letter and word building activities...

A while back I posted about a poetry activity along the same lines as the sight word idea.


(image source)

My three year old uses our favorite old set of alphabet blocks for practicing names of family members. (With a big brother's help.)

Or build the letter with lines and curves. First read How to Build an A, by Sara Midda, and then build with the wooden shapes provided. We also love the Handwriting Without Tears Wood Pieces. And for a smaller printable option, try my printable letter shapes from Teachers Pay Teachers. You can print them right on patterned scrapbook paper, cardstock or magnetic sheets, or trace them on foam, or even on vinyl to make Colorform style window clings.


Or build letters and words with Wikki Stix!

(image source)

I could probably keep going, but you get the idea...

Whether you're building words and sentences with letter bricks or blocks, or constructing the letters themselves, building activities like these can be excellent multisensory ways to explore letter formation, spelling and sentence structure.

What are your favorite ideas for building literacy?

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