Learning how to teach what I never was taught (…well)

Archive for the ‘Reading / Spelling / Phonics’ Category

Free Printables for Qwirkle, Math Infinity Tiles, Banagrams or Apple Letters, and Mobi / Equate Math Tiles

DIY homemade games, easy!

DIY homemade games, easy!

This linkhow-to-make-tiles, will provide basic instructions to all 4 games listed below.


DIY Homemade Math Infinity Tiles



DIY Homemade AppleLetters, Banagrams, or Scrabble Letter Tiles




Homemade DIY Equate, Mobi, Math Tiles and Symbols Game



DIY Homemade Qwirkle or Patterning Tiles



Color Coded Phonics ToolBox – Free Printable

DIY Color Coded Phonics ToolBox – Free Printable (Digraphs, Trigraphs, Diphthongs Hands On Manipulative)


My little one began reading at a very basic level at 4 years old. We kept the reading simple using level AA and Level A readers from ReadingA-Z.com as well as leveled readers from ThinkCentral / StoryTown.  The decodables from both of these websites are quite awesome too!  With a little time, you can acquire these materials for free. I shall let you figure that out on your own.

My biggest complaint with all the phonics maniulatives available is that the individual sounds that vowels make could not be explained from one word to  the next.

At first glance, it may seem complicated. Let me assure you, I have never been happier with a phonics manipulative.  My 5 year old went from being frustrated to reading flashlight, heart and ruler with ease. I am no longer explaining why the letter “A” said this or said nothing. It is predetermined by the color of the vowel.


We pick 2 or 3 words a day as they related to the Highlights Magazines puzzles we are working on. I prepare the word using the color coded toolbox. She reads it. Then, I ask her to check the spelling against the magazine. She is learning to read, sound out words, use phonics and spell all at the same time. The best part, it’s easy and fun.

For us, this toolbox has been an amazing tool. All my old manipulatives are completely useless next to this. Here is the Link to download the Color Coded Phonics ToolBox PDF.  I cannot find the craft case I used online to link for you.

Phonics Speed Game – Free Printable

Phonics Table Game Free Printable teaching Word Families

Phonics Super Small Word Guide Add On



This is the Phonics Word Family speed game made using 1 inch foam cubes and written on with a permanent sharpie marker. The small word cards are in the free download. We have played this a few times so that she may earn money.

I lay out the phonics spiral bound book with a word and then whomever spells their word first gets a penny. Every time she attempts to sound out the word, she gets a penny. If she is successful in sounding it out correctly with minimal assistance, she gets an additional penny.

Phonics Foam Cube Block Guide

Alphabet Spiral Bound ABC Flip Book – Free Printable

ABC Spiral Bound Flip Book Printable and Instructions


During my last pregnancy, my version of nesting was to create homeschooling manipulatives. This ABC spiral bound flip book was one of those. No, we have not used this manipulative much yet as she is only in “Kindergarten.” However, when the time is right, it will be pulled from the filing cabinet. In the meantime, perhaps you can use it?

ABC Spiral Bound Flip Book Printable and Instructions


Spiral Bound Phonics – Free Printable

Spiral Bound Phonics and Instructions Free Printable

Phonics Super Small Word Guide Add On


Again, another one of my pregnancy nesting creations.  While not in use yet, this phonics flip book is intended to teach beginning blends, digraphs, trigraphs and word families. When the times comes, it will get its use.  I use this in conjunction with the Phonics Word Family Speed Game.


Letters b, p, d, and q confusion – No More!

bpqd letter confusion clarification visuals

Butter before the Ball

Donut at the door

Pencil pushing pizza

Quiet Queen Quail

Handwriting Practice through Journaling (Modeling!)


The idea of having my child write the letter “A” over and over for practice is boring and monotonous. I hated that type of handwriting practice when I was in school. The other thing I recall hating was writing lists of words. I had purchased a reading / phonics curriculum, perhaps a bit too early, that fit my secular approach as well as my hands on approach. At least, I thought so. I was wrong. How can I encourage handwriting practice without it being overbearing and have meaning? A journal! At a friend’s suggestion, she now draws pictures to go along with the sentence. I write the sentence for her (modeling) and she traces it. Then she draws her picture and colors if desired. And, a journal is an amazing and organic way to teach sight words.

What better way is there to get a kid interested in writing than writing all about themselves?