Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Learning Letters with 10 Easy Letter Sorts

Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

Sorting letters is one way to build fast visual recognition of letters. In Literacy Beginnings, by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas, the authors suggest that visual discrimination of letters is a key factor in early literacy learning.
"Evidence indicates that inital literacy learning is much more complex than learning the letters of the alphabet, and it is hardly a step by step process. It is a highly demanding task of visual discrimination that takes place over a period of time- the goal of which is fast letter recognition." (Source: Literacy Beginnings, pg. 184)


Try some of these quick sorts to help move your child toward the goal of fast letter recognition:
1.  Sort letters by color.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

2.  Sort tall and short letters.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

3.  Sort letters by curves and no curves.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters, photo



4. Sort letters by slants and no slants
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

5.  Sort letters by sticks and no sticks.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

6.  Find all of the letter (E).
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

7.  Find the letters that are in your name.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

8.  Match upper case and lower case letters.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters

9.  Sort letters with tails and letters with no tails.
Learning Letters, Learning about letters, Letter Recognition, Learn Letters


10. Open sort- give your child an array of letters and have them sort the letters and explain the sort.



When you sort letters with your children, you can use letters made from a variety of materials. Take a look around what you already have in your home. Do you have magnetic letters on the fridge? Are there foam letters in your bath? Do you have a few alphabet puzzles with wooden letters? Letters can even be handwritten on index cards or scraps of paper and manipulated.  If you have any of these, you are ready to begin letter sorts!

Don't forget about my fall sale at my Teachers Notebook store. 50% off best seller, 20% off entire store. Sale ends Saturday, September 29.

fall theme, printables, ready set read, teachers notebook


I'm linking this up:
The Sunday Showcase, The Learning LaboratoryMontessori MondaysIt's Playtime,  Kids Co-op


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Preschool Themes: Shapes

We have been learning and reviewing shapes this week since Logan's preschool theme is shapes. I checked out a few books on shapes. We started with our featured author this month, Lois Ehlert. She has great concept books on shapes and colors. We really enjoyed Color Zoo. We also focused on books that allow us to see shapes in the world around us. We went on a hunt for shapes in our world. Finally, we wrote a shape book--- scroll down for the a free PDF template for our shape book.
Preschool Themes, shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities


Our featured author for the Virtual Book Club for kids is Lois Ehlert. Ehlert's book, Color Zoo, is great for shape activities for preschoolers.

  Preschool Themes, shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert In this story, Ehlert uses geometric shapes to form abstract animals. The pages are die cut so that when you flip through the book, each page turn reveals a different animal. The shapes used to make each animal are shown on the next page and clearly labeled. This book addresses basic shapes (square, circle, triangle, rectangle) as well as more complex shapes like octagon.

shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities

After we read a few shape books, we wrote a shape book. I created a template for this book by writing one sentence on each page,  "I see a circle. I see a triangle." etc. We used glue to draw the shape named on each page and then we placed small pieces of string over the glue to form the shape. I found the idea for this project at Hubbard's Cupboard but since there wasn't a template, I decided to make my own. I also wanted to incorporate sight words that we are working on like 'see' as well as early literacy skills of reading a sentence left to right. The booklet template  is available for FREE in my brand new Teacher's Notebook Store!

shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities

If your child is not ready to draw the shapes, you could draw the shape in gray crayon first and then allow your child to trace over the shape with glue. If you are making these for an entire classroom that needs support, you might want to draw in the shapes before making the copies-- just a timesaving tip!
Another way to use this template would be to cut or tear objects that illustrate shapes from a magazine and glue the pictures to the pages.
It's a lot of fun for kids to read the shape book that they have written!
shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities


Here are some other shape books we love:
Round is a Mooncake, Preschool Themes, shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities, picture books, book activities Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong Shapes are shown through illustrations of objects from traditional and modern Asian culture.
Preschool Themes, shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities, picture books, book activities, mouse shapes, ellen stoll walsh Mouse Shapes by Ellen Stoll Walsh This story which is similar to Walsh's earlier book, Mouse Paint, uses mice to teach basic shapes. In this story, the mice are once more hiding from the cat, but they use shapes to build object to distract the cat. Very clever mice, very clever story. I like that it takes the story beyond labeling shapes and shows how shapes can be made and how ordinary objects are composed of shapes.
In a side note, my four year old's preschool teacher read this to him and he came home eager to tell me his teacher had read him a story about mice but not the one we had read. We have the book, Mouse Paint. I was so excited that he could make that text to text connection!
Preschool Themes, shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities, book activities, when a line bend a shape begins When a Line Bends A Shape Begins by Rhonda Growler Green is a good shape book to grow with your child. This book covers the basic shapes and the more complex shapes. It also showcases shapes that are easy to detect as well as shapes that are more difficult to locate in the pictures. The text is an enjoyable and memorable rhyme.
Tana Hoban is generally my go-to author when teaching shapes. Her books range from black and white board books for babies to books that teach basic shapes to books that feature three dimensional shapes.

shapes shapes shapes, tana hoban, Preschool Themes, shapes, shape activities for preschoolers, printables, free PDF, preschool shape activities Here are a few of our favorite books for basic shapes:
Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban
-Round and Round and Round by Tana Hoban
-So Many Circles, So Many Squares by Tana Hoban


What are your favorite concept books about shapes for preschoolers?

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Book Activity: Nuts to You

Welcome to the September edition of the Virtual Book Club for Kids! If you want more information on the VBC, check out my introductory post. Anyone is welcome to join us each month as we team up with a group of bloggers to study favorite authors. For the month of September, we are focusing on book activities to accompany books by Lois Ehlert.
Lois Ehlert is one of our favorite authors. In the past, I've shared her books Growing Vegetable Soup, Planting a Rainbow, and Leaf Man. This month, I decided to choose the book "Nuts to You". This is a perfect book for the month of September.
Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert is the narrative of a young child who observes a mischievious squirrel. The squirrel breaks into the child's home and the youngster has to lure the squirrel out of the home. The young narrator calls out "Nuts to You!" as he/she knocks nuts on the sidewalk. The squirrel leaves the home but the child keeps more nuts tucked in a pocket just in case...
Nuts to you, Lois Ehlert, preschool fall crafts. lois ehlert lesson plans, leaf man


In our neck of the woods, there are squirrels everywhere. We basically live in the trees. Our house sits on the top of our wooded lot which drops down into a large forest. Squirrels scamper up the tree near our deck grabbing at our bird feeder and saying hello. We do more squirrel watching than bird watching!
Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert provided the perfect time to talk about squirrel habits. We began by reading the book while we munched on this nutty snack. (I found this idea on Pinterest. Where else?) You can make these edible acorns by topping donut holes with nutella and covering with chocolate jimmies.

Nuts to you, Lois Ehlert, preschool fall crafts. lois ehlert lesson plans, leaf man


After tasting a few "acorns", we tried painting with nuts. We dipped a variety of sizes of nuts into paint, placed them in shoe boxes with paper inside, and shook. We watched the squirrels outside to see if they could hear our nuts or maybe even smell them. One squirrel did stop by the back door!

Nuts to you, Lois Ehlert, preschool fall crafts. lois ehlert lesson plans, leaf man, photo


Finally, we took a walk through our neighborhood. We looked for squirrels and acorns. We found piles of cracked nuts on retaining walls and we guessed that squirrels had been there. We even took our fall scavenger hunt cards along to see if we could find any other evidences of fall. (It's still a little early so we'll probably go out later in the season with these cards too). The boys found nuts and loudly yelled, "Nuts to you!" The neighbors now think know we are crazy.
Nuts to you, Lois Ehlert, preschool fall crafts. lois ehlert lesson plans, leaf man


Nuts to You is written as a narrative story. At the end of the book, Lois Ehlert includes several expository paragraphs sharing facts about squirrels. This could provide older readers an opportunity to compare narrative and expository writing. They could even observe squirrels or another animal and create their own narratives and expository writings. I think this would make such a great mentor text!



Now it is your chance to share your ideas. Here are the rules for linking up.
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Lois Ehlert that share children's book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Grab the button and share it on your post if you'd like.


VirtualBookClub




Monday, September 10, 2012

Learning Colors with Fall Books

Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read

With all of the leaves changing color, fall is a perfect time to teach preschoolers colors. It's also a great time to teach early readers to be able to recognize color words.  For many children, color words are some of the first words they add to their reading and writing vocabulary. In our house, we have a two year old who is learning to identify and name colors. We also have a four year old who is beginning to notice color words in print. Every morning while he is coloring, I hear him trying to decode the words that are on his crayons. It cracks me up when he spends forever trying to figure out the brand name of the crayon!
While these books aren't about fall (you can find a great set of books about fall here), they will help you enjoy learning about the colors of fall.


Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities Brown Bear, Brown Bear What do You See? is a classic introduction to color words. Each page in this book features a single animal with one color word. The repetative text makes it easy for children to join in. The simple text makes this a great first choice for children who are learning to locate color words within text. 

Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities, freight train Freight train by  Donald Crews is the perfect introduction to color words for any train lover. This story uses 6 basic colors plus gray to build a train. (fyi- where we live, kids are expected to know the color gray on the pre-kindergarten assessment). As the train moves down the tracks, over a tressle, through tunnels, and past buildings, the colors blur to form a rainbow train. This book introduces train vocabulary as well as color words. It is a Caledcott Honor book.

Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities, How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors How do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors? by Jane Yolen if your child is more of a dinosaur lover, try this book to introduce your little learner to color words.  This story is part of the "How do dinosaurs..." series by Jane Yolen. This particular book has a less sophisticated plot but it's simple text makes it a great choice for children who are learning to read color words. There is just one dinosaur on each page and the dinosaur has something of a given color-- a purple towel for example. The text of the color word matches the color-- so purple is written purple. This gives the children a little extra support.

Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities, where is the green sheep
Where is the green sheep? by Mem Fox
This story focuses not only on colors but also on opposites, spatial relationships, and descriptive language. Children will have the opportunity to practice several color words, though, as they look for the green sheep with in the pages of red sheep, blue sheep, and also near and far sheep. Children will be amused by bath sheep or band sheep. I love how Mem Fox can take simple preschool concepts, make them so engaging and throw in a little humor to make kids fall in love with her writing. My boys have requested this one  A LOT!

Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities The Deep Blue Sea: A Book of Colors by Audrey Wood This book gradually zooms in on a rock on a tiny island and introduces one new tropical item at a time to the scene. It also introduces a new color word each time. One thing I enjoy about this book, is that it fits in all the colors of the rainbow and gray and white! This is a cummulative story so the constant repeating while encourage children to join the story.

Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities, my crayons talk
My crayons talk by Patricia Hubbard
This book was a favorite when my oldest son was a baby. He loved the rhyming verses and the repetative sounds. The large pictures involving many colors were engaging too. Now that he is four, I've reintroduced the book and he still love the story of a "talking" crayon box.  Twelve colors are introduced as a girl draws a picture for each one. I like that this book introduces some different sets of colors like silver and brown.  Those colors often get left out of books about rainbow colors... but they never get left out of a box of crayons!


Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities, mis colores, mi mundo
 Mis colores, mi mundo = My colors, my world by Maya Christina Gonzalez
This lovely book is written in Spanish and English which gives children an opportunity to practice color words in both languages. In this story, a little girl explores colors in a dusty southwestern desert. Even though much of her world is covered by sand, she looks hard to discover hidden colors like the hot pink sky at sunset.


Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read, Bill Martin Jr. Donald Crews, Ellen Stoll Walsh,  Audrey Wood, Patricia Hubbell,  Jane Yolen, picture books, book activities Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh is a fun look at how colors are made. The book starts with three white mice on white paper without any color. Gradually, the mice take a dip into pots of paint, covering themselves and spilling paint onto the paper. The colorful mice then get mixed up in the pools of paint, showing us what happens when colors like blue and yellow mix.  The book also has a fun ending that is great for helping children to learn to infer.


Want more learning colors fun? 

Color Learning writing activity for preschoolers- early readers.
Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read

Book Making Activity: Color Words


Here's a fun color activity for any age!


Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read

Active Learning: Color Squirt

Here's a priced lesson in my Tpt store for teaching children to read and write color words.


Learn Colors, Fall Books, color games, color theme, Learn colours, colour theme, ready set read


Word Work Activities for Fall

I'm sharing this week: