Monday, February 15, 2010


     A kindergardener or first grader comes to school, so enthusiastic about learning to read, and what do many workbooks do? Hit her with dry phonics lessons. Ach!
     It doesn't have to be that way.
     I still make sure the child has the basics of blending out a word first, but only the very basic skill ("d-o-g," "s-i-t"). I don't ask her to be proficient. After all, it's all about practice and practice. Why not combine phonics and movement and silliness -- just what she likes?
     So the mantra for the following exercise is, "If you can read it, you get to do it." I decide what phonics I'm teaching, then create phrases using that skill that can be acted out.
    The child works alone or with a  partner, but in no way does anyone else help her. (Okay, she can be helped with the non-short vowel words shown in boldface, but no other words.) If she can figure out the words, she get to act it out -- far more fun than getting a star on her paper. If she can't, she doesn't get to do the acting.
     Simple -- and highly motivating. The students will work to come up with the phase so they can act. What could be better?

a. A box of props nearby is nice but not necessary.
b. I use this with other phonics lessons, too. I will post their phrases periodically.
c. This works just as well informally at home as well as during lessons.

1. Go rub -a dub in a tub.
2. Run as fast as a van.
3. Be a mad dad.
4. Jump on a bump.
5. Be a mom.
6. Be a fox.
7. Kiss a bib.
8. Be sick.
9. Kiss a sock.
10. Put your legs on your neck.
11. Swim fast.
12. Be a duck.
13. Be a rat.
14. Zip up pants.
15. Get ants in your pants.
16. Put on socks.
17. Pop up.
18. Quack.
19. Yelp.
20. Hum and hop.