Fun St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Reader

My children love all holidays equally because it's a time for fun and crafts! I always try to throw some learning in, so here's a fun St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Reader.

Scroll down to the bottom to download the free St. Patrick's Day Sight Word Reader.



First, read the sentences with your child. I think that this book can be read for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students.

Cut out the strips. Have your child read the sentences again.

Color the pictures. I like adding a picture to the top of new words to build confidence in young readers by giving them a visual clue.

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Last, staple the book together.

Click HERE to download the printable.


How to Use The Starfall Home Membership: A Homeschooling Mom Review

I have always used the learning games from the Starfall Education Foundation even when I was a classroom teacher because my students used to love to play games to improve their reading.

 So I was very excited when I was chosen to review the The Starfall Home Membership with my children and see the other materials inside of Starfall.

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Getting Started:

First children can customize their avatar in the “Who Am I” section. My twins love to take turns customizing their person, changing the clothes, and learning about their body parts.

The Starfall Home Membership can be used on the app or on the computer. We mostly used the computer so that the twins could actually share the screen.

Preschool & Kindergarten:

With my four-year-old twins, we focused on the Learn to Read section. This section is broken down by word family, and focuses on a specific skill for each lesson. My twins love the games that are included with each lesson, and I use them as a motivational tool after reading.

First I would read the story with them, then have the story be read to them. There is an ear icon that children can click to listen to the story being read to them. They would then practice reading the story by themselves. Last, they played the word family game and watched the video.

 

Motion Songs

This is probably my twins favorite part of Starfall. They love the Motion Songs that include all of their favorites such as If You’re Happy and You Know It, and Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear. They like to follow along with the video while singing and getting exercise. Motion songs are a great way for young children to practice their gross motor skills and learn spatial awareness.

Elementary Students:

Did you know that The Starfall Home Membership also has an elementary section? The elementary area covers first grade and some second grade skills.

The first grade section is aligned with the Common Core state standards which are taught in a majority of the states. Even if you don’t homeschool, it would be great extra practice or review for first graders.

My seven-year old daughter really benefited from the math videos because they are easy to understand and interactive. Since math is her area of improvement, we focused on the math lessons. I like how the program has children interact with the lesson by clicking on the math manipulatives and answer the questions. She enjoyed the math videos that made the concepts easy to understand.

The first grade reading section goes over the different genres such as myths, folktales, poetry and plays. The poems are written by well-known authors, but are illustrated and animated to make them interesting to young children.

Math skills for second grade include multiplication, place value, addition, and subtraction. Once my daughter completes the first grade section, then I will use the second grade section to prepare her for the next school year.

Parent-Teacher Center

There is also a Parent-Teacher Center section inside the Starfall Education Foundation. This area is helpful to learn more about the benefits of the website, as well as resources for your child. There are printables that go along with the lessons, handwriting worksheets, math practice, and more.  

Overall:

My children enjoy using the The Starfall Home Membership. I think that it is a great way to assist learning and struggling readers in a fun and interactive way. The yearly membership is also a great supplement to any homeschool curriculum for young elementary students.

The Starfall Home Membership {Starfall Education Foundation Reviews}
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How to Teach Your Child to Read

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Many parents want to begin teaching their child to read, but don’t know where to start.

Yes, children do learn how to read in school. However there are many reasons why you should begin now at 3-5 years old to teach your child to read.

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First, your child enters school prepared and confident. School is so much easier when a child knows what to do.

Another reason why you should teach your child to read before they enter school is that you can understand what their needs are and what they still might need help in.


Reading is a process, so children need time to practice their skills. At school, children don’t have a lot of time to practice one skill before it is time to learn a new skill.

As I was looking for a complete reading curriculum, I found Learn to Read. My children already went through the Reading the Alphabet curriculum and I was impressed by the detailed information and lesson plans. Reading the Alphabet is good for 2-3 year old children who know their letters and letter sounds and are ready for a relaxed approach to read.

Learn to Read is a curriculum for beginning readers (4-6 yrs old) that teaches reading and spelling through common word families and beginning sight words.

Related: Teach Your Preschooler to Read for Free

4 Reasons Why I Chose Learn to Read:

  • Created by a reading specialist & homeschool mom
  • Easy to use
  • Detailed Lesson Plans
  • Variety of Activities

It is important to understand that only learning sight words is not knowing how to read. Sight words help young children gain confidence and begin to understand that words have meanings.

 

However for children to truly to learn how to read, they need to know the sounds that each letter makes. Once your child knows their sounds, they need to start putting the sounds together.

Most teachers begin teaching word families, which are words that have similar endings. For example, the –at family includes the words: cat, hat, mat, sat, etc.

Teaching word families allow children the ability to master one word family at a time, then gain confidence in their reading. As they learn more word families, they increase their reading ability.

The way that Learn to Read is set up it teaches different word families in each unit. It also includes sight word review in each lesson.

  • Unit 1: short a word families & short a review
  • Unit 2: short o word families & short o review
  • Unit 3: short i word families & short i review
  • Unit 4: short u word families & short u review
  • Unit 5: short e word families & short e review
  • Unit 6: short vowel review

Note: Learn to Read is sold in individual units, but if you plan to work with your child through the summer or continuing homeschooling through kindergarten, the bundle is a better deal and saves $12. The bundle pack also contains extra activities for children to reinforce the skills.

How to Use Learn to Read:

Each lesson includes a 5-day lesson plan. Since my twins are in extracurricular activities throughout the week and I follow a more relaxed schedule, we are doing one lesson for 2 weeks.

This also helps to ensure that your child really knows the skill, instead of rushing to the next word family.

How I Use Learn to Read:

1.      Introduce word family of the week

I use my alphabet foam letters to go over the word family. (What does a say? What does t say? Put the letters together. Then say this is the word family that we will practice this week). Learn to Read also includes word cards to practice the word family if you don't have alphabet letters.

2.      Use the cards to make new words (c-a-t says cat), etc. Add the words to pocket chart. (This is an activity to play throughout the week or two that you are going over the lesson.)

3.      Choose two reading activities per day

Each lesson has sight word activities, writing, a short reader and more that focus on the specific word family.

I try to limit activities to no longer than 20 minutes at a time. Also, it is a good idea to switch from a “worksheet” activity to a hands-on activity to keep your child engaged.

In our complete preschool homeschool schedule, I switch from a reading activity to an activity from our current theme.

4.      During your bedtime story or read-aloud time, point out the words in the word family. Say, “Do you see (at)? Point to it. Read the word.

Overall:

Pros:

COMPREHENSIVE! I mean, it has everything that you need to teach, review, and reinforce each word family.

Fun activities- my twins favorites are the

Works for struggling and special needs children- even if your child is in kindergarten or first grade and needs more assistance, Learn to Read is a good review for them.

Cons:

The only thing I don’t like about Learn to Read is there is no complete year plan. I would love a complete day to day schedule for a 9 month plan, or a 12 month plan.

This would make it easy to know exactly what to do for each day. However, since all families are different I understand that it is written to be flexible to incorporate into your day.

This is mostly because I don’t want to create my own.

Reading Tips:

Reading is a daily practice.

Be consistent and patient.

Take your time. Reading is not a rush, if your child is tired, stop.

Additional Resources:

Youtube videos for each word family: Just search “-“ word family

Starfall.com- games for each word family

Learn to Read is a comprehensive and affordable reading curriculum to teach your child to read. It is a simple way to teach your child to read. Even if your child only goes through a few units, they will be more prepared for school.

 

What other questions do you have about teaching your child to read? Leave me a comment below!

10 Best and Free Sight Word Activities

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wow I love this list of the best free and fun sight word activities for preschool and kindergarten! My son will love this! saving for later.

Every parent has heard about sight words, and should know the truth about sight words. However, you still have to help your child learn their sight words in order to prepare her for reading.

When playing with your child, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep the activity time short
  • Vary the activities so they don’t become redundant
  • Only practice a few sight words at a time
  • Mix up the words as a review to make sure your child knows the word and is not guessing

Here are some of the best sight word activities to help your preschool or kindergarten child learn their sight words.

1.      Sight Word Bowling

This is an easy game to set up and play either indoors or outdoors.  Visit Sparkling in Second to learn more.

2.      Sight Word Ball Toss

This super simple activity from Gift of Curiosity will have your child wanting to learn their sight words!

3.      Lego Duplo Sight Word Towers

These Lego Duplo towers would be a fun activity. Choose a few sight words that you want to focus on and watch your child build and practice letter recognition. Visit Mom Inspired Life to see the full activity.

4.      Cup Crash

This is a variation of bowling, but involves cups! I like how they can build and rebuild their sight word stack so this game will never get old. Visit Coffee Cups and Crayons to view the full post.

5.      Squishing Sight Words

This takes a bit of prep, but is so worth it! Write sight words on playdough and have your child squish or smash the word with a toy hammer. Go to Life With Moore Babies to get the full directions.

 

6.      Sight Word Playdough Mats

My twins love using playdough at any time! These fun and free sight word playdough mats make learning sight words interactive. Plus, it gives your child a chance to practice their fine motor skills by working with the playdough.

7.      Playdough Writing Tray

This is a no prep sight word activity that’s super simple! Use toothpicks or small sticks to write sight words in playdough. Visit Fantastic Fun and Learning to get the full activity!

8.      Monster Munch Sight Word Eater

I like this fun craft because you can adjust it for the seasons! Have your child feed the sight words that you are reviewing to the monster! Go to the Craft Train to see how to make it.

9.      Interactive Sight Words

Use letter magnets and sight word cards to build sight words. Super simple and very easy! She uses a magnetic filing cabinet, but you can use a cookie sheet for the activity. Go to Who’s Who and New to learn more.

10.   Sight Word Playdough

One more playdough idea! I like using playdough because of the sensory play my children get, as well as it makes them forget they are learning! Use magnetic letters or letter stampers to spell sight words. Visit Learning 4 Kids to learn more!

 

Need printables to help your child practice their sight words? This 100-page pack of Sight Word practice includes the first 50 sight words. Each word has a practice page where your child can read, color, and trace the word. The second sight word page has large letters for your child to cut out and color. Then they can paste the letters on a construction paper to spell the word.

 
 

How to Teach Your Preschooler to Read (For Free)

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After I wrote the post on how to teach your child the alphabet, I received a lot of questions on exactly what to do after your child knows the letters and sounds. In my book KinderStar, I go over many alphabet activities that can be used to teach your child the alphabet.

Once your child knows her letter and sounds, then they are ready to begin learning to read. An easy preschool reading curriculum is Reading the Alphabet. If your child is not yet ready to read the alphabet, then you should complete Learning the Alphabet first.

Depending on where your child is, Reading the Alphabet would be good practice before kindergarten if your child is still struggling with

Even if your child will be going to school in the fall, Reading the Alphabet, would help prepare her for school. Also, you could continue the work at home throughout the school year to make sure your child understands all of the concepts. This will help her be more confident in school when she does

Reading the Alphabet is a free, yes, free pre-kinder reading curriculum developed by literacy specialist and homeschooling mom, Becky, from This Reading Mama.

Reading the Alphabet consists of:

  • 31 Weeks of Lessons
  • Beginning Sight Words (covers 26 words)
  • Book & Print Awareness
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Math Practice (numbers & patterns)

Here's a sample of one lesson of Reading the Alphabet (this is not even all of the activities for just the one lesson)

 

Who is Reading the Alphabet for?

  • Children who already know their letters and sounds
  • Parents who want a slower approach to reading

Each lesson includes:

  • Hands on activities
  • Focuses on one letter a week
  • Sight word of the week

 

My three year old twins will be going through her Learn to Read Curriculum beginning in August, but this summer we will be reviewing certain parts of Reading the Alphabet.

Pros:

Multiple Activities

Each lesson is designed for a 4 or 5 day week. There are a lot of activities to complete for each letter.

Engaging

My children like the pocket chart sentences as well as the sight word songs.

Hands-On Learning

The lessons include a lot of fine motor skills practice such as cutting, pasting, and even fun bottle cap games.

Cons:

None really. The only thing that is missing is the book list for each lesson for the word families (i.e. –ig, -ug). I like to reinforce the skills that we are doing with a related book. This not only gives children confidence to read alone, but also helps them recognize words in new contexts.

However, these books are easily found online so it is not a big deal.

Another benefit of Reading the Alphabet is that it only uses a few basic supplies.

Materials Needed:

  • Pocket Chart
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Dice

Although the entire curriculum is available in individual downloads for free, there is also a special bundle available with all of the units as well as bonus pages for only $12. The main reason I like the bundle (besides the bonuses, of course), is that everything is all in one place.

The $12 Reading the Alphabet bundle also includes:

  • One page readers (can also be cut apart to make strip books)
  • Lacing cards (more fine motor practice and great quiet time activity)
  • Handwriting Pages
  • Sight Word Songs
  • Dice Games
  • Sight Word Cards

The best part of Reading the Alphabet is the flexibility. Some lessons might take longer than others, and that’s okay. As a mom you can decide what your child needs more practice on. Or you might have twins or are teaching two children at once, and each child has different skills to work on.

I don’t print out every single activity, just what we need. The handwriting pages can be slipped inside a sheet protector and used with a dry erase marker so they can be reused multiple times.

Since preschool is between the ages of 3 and 4, it depends on how much you have already taught your child and what his needs are. My three year old twins already know their sight words and are ready to read, so we will be starting a different curriculum, Learn to Read (which is also available in her shop) in the fall. However I will be reviewing parts of Reading the Alphabet in the summer to give them extra practice with the sounds.

If you are looking for a quality reading curriculum for your preschool homeschool, then you should check out Reading the Alphabet.


Once your child finishes Reading the Alphabet, or if it seems too easy for your child then I suggest Learn to Read. Learn to Read is a faster paced, reading curriculum that focuses on word families and short vowels to help your child become a more fluent reader.

 

5 Reading Skills Needed for Kindergarten Readiness

Many parents don’t know that for kindergarten readiness, it is important to teach your child some reading skills.

What reading skills are needed to see if your child is ready for kindergarten?

1.      Know that words make up a sentence.

Preschoolers should know that words come together to form a sentence. As you are reading with your child you can point out the words in a sentence, and the whole sentence. This helps them understand that words come together to form meaning.

 

2.      Know that letters make sounds.

Once your child can recognize their letters, you can begin teaching them letter sounds. Knowing letter sounds is crucial in being able to read.

 

3.      Break words into syllables.

Preschoolers should know that words can be broken into parts called syllables. Note: They do not need to know the word syllables, just understand the concept.

Activity: Say a word with your child and clap while you say it. (ex: pea-nut, two claps) Your child will be able to hear the syllables in these words.

 

4.      Know rhyming words.

Rhyming words are words that have the same end sound, they do not necessarily have the same spelling.

 

5.      Know beginning, middle, and end sounds in words.

Kindergarten readiness requires preschoolers to understand that words are separated into sounds. Most words can be broken up by beginning, middle, or end sounds. Kindergarteners will have to identify the sound in a certain part of the world.

 

Why are these reading skills so important for kindergarten readiness?

All of these skills come together to prepare your child for reading. By working with your child on these reading skills, they will become ready for kindergarten.

 

How can you help prepare your preschooler so they will be ready for any kindergarten readiness assessment?

Read to your child daily so that you can point out each skill while reading.

 

What other questions do you have about reading skills needed for kindergarten readiness? Leavea comment below.

5 Things Every Parent Should Know about Sight Words

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Every preschool parent has heard of the term "sight words" but what exactly are they, and what should you know about them?

Here are 5 things every parent should know about sight words:

1.      There are two lists of sight words commonly used Dolch and Fry.

Dolch sight words:

Dolch sight words are less current since they have not been updated.

 

Fry sight words:

The list contains 220 “service words” plus 95 high-frequency nouns. These words comprise 80% of the words you would find in a typical children’s book and 50% of the words found in writing for adults.

The words on the Fry list include all parts of speech.

 

You can use whichever list you prefer, as some words overlap. The main purpose is to teach your child words that are seen over and over.

 

2.      90% of all reading is sight words.

Think about it, most of the time that you are reading you aren’t sounding out words. Children’s literature is made up of a list of about 1,000 words, so if your child can recognize sight words they will be on their way to reading.

 

3.      Entering kindergarteners should know sight words.

Although kindergarten readiness doesn’t require students to know many sight words, it is a good idea to teach your child sight words to get ready school. This will prepare your child for school by having a few words in their belt.

 

4.      Learning sight words does not mean your child can read.

Knowing sight words means that your child can recognize words that are not easily decoded, or words that can be sounded out. Sight words help your child read easier, but children still need to know phonics rules in order to read fluently.

 

 

5.      Sight words are easy to learn.

There are so many ways to teach your preschooler sight words. Sight words are very easy to learn. Children as young as two can begin to learn sight words. I like to watch the Preschool Prep Meet the Sight Words DVDs for my children. They are bright, colorful, and repetitive which gives children a lot of time to practice their sight words. They also have easy readers that feature the sight words from the DVD

 

Here are some questions parents have about sight words:

When should you teach a child sight words?

All children are different, but even children as young as two can watch Meet the Sight Words for a few minutes. As your child gets older you can play sight word games, read sight word books, or even go over sight word flashcards.

How many sight words should you teach at a time?

It depends on the age, but I recommend no more than 3 at a time. That way you can make sure your child really understands those three words before moving on to the next words.

 

Need sight word resources? Don’t forget to download my FREE sight word activities.

What other questions do you have about sight words? Leave a comment below.

20 Books for Women's History Month That Your Kids Will Want to Read

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March is Women's History Month and is a great time to introduce your children to these amazing and talented women. Since Social Studies is often either not taught or very briefly taught, it is important to teach your children about topics they would otherwise miss. Also, many times our children are hearing about the same people over and over, and while they do have their place in history I want my children to see women in more positive roles. There are countless books that could have made the list, so I had to narrow it down to 20. Each of these women were pioneers in their field and by learning about them, it will broaden your children's horizons.

Mom Note: This is a great way to introduce nonfiction to your children, which will become more required reading as they advance in school.

 

1. Firebird

This book about ballerina Misty Copeland is so inspiring and the illustrations are amazing.

2. Fly High! The Story of Bessie Coleman

The story of Bessie Coleman is told in this nonfiction picture book.

3. The Legendary Lena Horne

If your children love The Wiz, you have to get this book! The illustrations are amazing and they will love to hear the story of Miss Lena Horne.

4. She Loved Baseball: The Effa Manley Story

If you have a baseball fan, your children will love to hear the untold story of Effa Manley. Effa Manley was the first and only woman to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

5. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

This book tells the story of Fannie Lou Hamer through poems and collages.

6. Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat: Candlewick Biographies: Ella Fitzgerald

This book is for older children since it talks about the struggles Ella Fitzgerald faced in plain language.

7. Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis

Edna Lewis was one of the first chefs who introduced Southern homestyle, all-natural cooking to people.

8. When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson

Learn and read about singer Marian Anderson.

9. Nothing but Trouble: The Story of Althea Gibson


Althea Gibson was the first African American ever to compete in and win the Wimbledon Cup.

10. Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman

Before Wilma Rudolph was five years old, polio had paralyzed her left leg. Everyone said she would never walk again. But Wilma refused to believe it. Not only would she walk again, she vowed, she'd run. And she did run--all the way to the Olympics, where she became the first American woman to earn three gold medals in a single olympiad.

11. If A Bus Could Talk: The Story of Rosa Parks

This story of Rosa Parks is told with bright illustrations.

12. The Story of Ruby Bridges

Learn about Ruby Bridges, who integrated an all-white school in the 1960s.

13. Molly, by Golly!: The Legend of Molly Williams, America's First Female Firefighter

This legendary tale introduces young readers to Molly Williams, an African American cook for New York City's Fire Company 11, who is considered to be the first known female firefighter in U.S. history.

14. Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker

This nonfiction book tells the story of the passionate performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker, the woman who worked her way from the slums of St. Louis to the grandest stages in the world.

15. Mae Jemison (You Should Meet)

Meet Mae Jemison, the first African-American female astronaut!

16. Harlem's Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills

  The inspiring true story of Florence Mills a Broadway singer.

17. Simone Biles (Sports All-Stars)

Read about Simone Biles, record-breaking Olympian. This book is great to introduce your child to current events and women who are making achievements at young ages.

18. Raising the Bar

Told by Gabby Douglas, this book is a great nonfiction read with behind the scenes pictures.

19. Serena Williams: A Champion On and Off the Court

Serena Williams is one of the best tennis players ever. Also, this is another book that will keep your child engaged while learning about someone that is current and relevant in today's time.

20. Amelia to Zora

Twenty-six amazing women; twenty-six amazing stories.

What are you reading for Women's History Month? Leave a comment below.