Saturday, March 19, 2011

Developing Reading Skills Through Word Building

Word building is a way to learn how letters in our language behave and have fun as well. The basic concept is simple: Take a word with five or more letters, put all the letters on separate slips of paper, and give them to a child out of order. The child's job is to rearrange the letters to find the original word, but also to find other words that can be made by using two or more of the letters.

For instance, if you start with the word "breakfast," you could find as, ask, fast, sat, bat, rat, fat, bar, far, rest, break, fake, take, safe, steak, and many others. In just this short list, the child is finding word families (groups of rhyming words), using the letter E in three different ways, and using a variety of consonant blends. This activity can be extended by the parent giving hints to find additional words, such as "Change one letter in FAKE to make a word that means protected," and you've added a layer of vocabulary building to the activity.

There are several books out there that have word building activities. Making Words and Making Big Words are both filled with words, lists of the possible words made from the original, and strips to copy and cut apart that have all the letters on them. These books also include spelling and phonics patterns to emphasize for each word. I also like the Scrambled Word Building Book Grade 1 and Grade 2 because the letters and space to write words are all nicely placed on a single page. My only complaint is that there isn't enough room to write all possible words.

Article by Heddi Craft

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