Even while kids are still working on letter identification, I love to get them involved in building and reading simple sentences.
I start with a simple alphabet book or emergent text. Alphabet books from Lakeshore are pictured. If I didn't have books with the sentence structure I'm looking for, I'd create an anchor chart and work from there.
I prepare by putting the magnetic letters kids will need to form a sentence in a little cup. For alphabet-based sentences, I add an item that starts with the letter. Each child gets a sentence strip to build on. They shake the cup and use the book (or anchor chart) as a resource to build the sentence.
As kids work, we talk about leaving spaces between words and about a sentence being a group of words that makes sense together. We also pay attention to the period at the end of the sentence.
I find that I can work with 3 or 4 kids at a time, so this is a great activity for guided reading groups or intervention groups.
After each child has built and read his/her sentence, we put the letters back in the cups together. I give directions such as: "Pick up the letter H. Put it in your cup. Find the word is. Hold the word is in your hand. Spell is with me. Pick up the word for. Let's spell for together. . . . "
Once everything is back in the cup, kids pass the cup to the person beside them and they each spill and build again. It's fun to see how much quicker they get as the lesson goes on!
I've also created a set of sight word sentences for very early readers. Ever see a child read a full page when he/she only knows 1 word? Check out this sight word sentence page for the word I.
Because of the high level of picture support, kids can successfully read this page when they know the word I. (We provide support as needed to help them use initial sounds to check their reading on the other words.)
This series builds just one word at a time. Here's the order of the first few words: I, like, my, see, can, the, go. Within the first seven lessons using this program, kids are proudly reading the sheet pictured below.
After reading these sheets at school, kids bring them home to share with their families. Repeated reading is very important at this stage, so I have a child color one star in each time he/she reads the sheet. When all the stars are filled in, they bring it back to show me. (We celebrate and they earn a tiny treat.)
If you'd like to take a closer look at these sheets, you can download the samples shown above by clicking here.
If you decide you'd like to use these with your students, you can get the set at my Teachers pay Teachers or Teachers Notebook shop.
Thanks so much for stopping by and taking a look!