Sunday, January 11, 2015

Tactile Word Bracelets: A Multi-sensory Word Technique

Earlier this semester, I had the privilege of undergoing a week-long training workshop through Orton Gillingham. During this training, we learned a specific Red Word technique to use with our students. (Red words are more commonly referred to as sight words or high frequency words.) During this technique, students have a repeated, multi-sensory experience with each word by first writing the word in "bumpy writing." The plastic screens available in the sewing section of most craft stores are excellent for this exercise. Students place the screen behind their paper as they write the word. Then, they can trace over the word and feel it as they spell/reread the word multiple times. We use the red word technique throughout the week, and we are creating books of our words, which the students will take home at the end of the year. 
The activity I want to share with you today is one extension of the red word technique that I use to help students review prior words, and it could easily be incorporated into your classroom through small group sessions or center activities! However you choose to use it, this provides a wonderful tactile experience for young readers and can be quite beneficial in supporting word recognition and fluency. 

In this activity, students create bracelets with words they have previously learned through the red word technique. These may be words with which they are still struggling, or simply words which require repeated exposure. I create the bracelets by folding one piece of paper, accordion-style, and writing three or four words on each space. I cut the paper into individual strips to create the bracelets.

The students place the plastic screen behind their bracelet and trace over the word with a red crayon, spelling each word aloud as they write.
Then, attach the ends of the bracelet with a small strip of tape. Students have a tactile word bracelet they can wear, touch, and reread throughout the day!

Note: Students should wear the bracelets on the hand they do not write with, so that they may use their dominant hand to trace the words.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Resources for Teaching the Sounds of /ch/ and /j/

As previously described, I am gradually developing a variety of phonics-based resources within The Tally Tales TPT store. You are welcome to peruse the product listings within the store. However, I often find it to be helpful to see a bit more detail/description of the products, rather than the snippets provided within the TPT listing. Blog posts about products are always helpful to me. You may not find this post to be helpful, but if you are looking for resources to support this particular skill, then I hope you will gain something from descriptions of my new product here.

With this product, I have focused on the sounds of /ch/ and /j/, specifically with the spelling patterns ch- (at the beginning of a word), -ch (at the end of a word), -tch (at the end of a word), and -dge (at the end of a word). 

I have included one rule poster that might be most beneficial for teaching common spelling patterns of /ch/. This poster includes examples and exceptions for the -tch spelling pattern. However, it is important to note that the use of this spelling pattern is dependent upon vowel sound within the word. Depending on your students, you may need to review vowel sounds thoroughly prior to beginning instruction with this skill, and/or continue to reinforce vowel sounds or long/short terminology throughout instruction.


The first activities within this product focus on the various spellings of /ch/. Two sort activities are included, and they are differentiated to meet the various needs of different learners. The first set includes the full words for students to match the correct spelling for /ch/, while the next set is missing the spelling pattern, about which students must decide.  You could either use these as different sort activities for different students, or you could use both sets for all students, as they advance with this particular skill. 

Here's a preview:

The same format is available for an activity that combines the sounds of /ch/ and /j/. Students will sort words by the appropriate spelling pattern for each sound. Again, this activity is differentiated: one set includes the full words for students to match the correct spelling for /ch/ or /j/, while the next set is missing the spelling pattern, about which students must decide.  

Here's a preview:

To finish it off, I have also included a few pages of printable flashcards, each of which contains a word with either a /ch/ or /j/ spelling pattern as well as the corresponding picture for the word. This would be particularly helpful for students who are a bit more dependent upon visual support as readers. You could use these flashcards with a student or have them use them independently/with partners to help develop fluency with these sounds and words. This would be a beneficial, but quick, fluency activity.
All images throughout the post should redirect you to the Tally Tales TPT store, where you will find this product listing. I hope you will find it to be a useful product for you and your students! However, should you need additional resources for this skill, you might find these links to be helpful: