Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Alphabet and Sight Word Practice With Magazine Letters

When I was younger (and had actual free time) I loved making magazine collages. So I introduced this free activity to my girls when they were very young. At 4 they would simply be practicing their cutting skills and really like Parents/Family Fun type mags.  Now anything goes - they are really into ads. Like those ones for checks with designs or DVD movie clubs with tons of photos of movies.

Disclaimer right up front: This is a time consuming task and creates a lot of little paper clippings to clean up.

Since my girls are totally into this type of project it saves me from needing to do it all.  We found sight words in magazines - aiming for larger size words and ones I want to teach Dean. Some words are easy to find (notice the 2 you's below), others I am still searching for.

I used a glue stick and laminating paper.  I laminated the words to make them sturdier; you certainly do not have to.  Clear contact paper works as well.  We ended up with 6 sheets of words and letters to laminate.

 I only include this picture of the paper going through the machine because the kids thought this process was awesome!

 Find nice large letters that are understandable to an early reader.  Dean, at age 4, only knows the alphabet - capital and lowercase.  He doesn't recognize letters well enough to include cursive letters, for example.  Since my daughters kinda took over the project there are some letters in here that don't work - too small, hard to read.  No biggie. :)

 SO MUCH you can do now that you have your letters laminated and cut and placed in a pencil box! I created a couple sheets of words for Dean to start with - like the names of his family members.

Dean was able to do a couple words - finding letters from the bin and put on sheet.  Simply match the type-written words! I placed all of these special sight word pages in page protectors in a small binder.

We had laminated some sight word flash cards so Dean also tried spelling some of the words on the flash cards.  It took awhile to find that "H" though, so I may need to cut out some more!

I found these really cool free sight word printables on Pinterest ( -- I wanted a few different words, so I needed to make my own as well, but I liked the concept they created.  Dean used letters to spell the words and also the bin of sight words.  He liked finding the whole word - but I noticed giving him all 50 words we cut out was too much.  So we chose 5 words to start with and put only 10 words in the bin to choose from.  This was much better for him.

We can add more words as he learns them, but we are just starting out at this point, so I did not want to overwhelm him.

This was a great project for Dean because he loves letters but struggles with writing and pencil grip still.  He had fun finding letters and making the words.  Mostly though, he enjoyed putting letters in ABC order!

My daughters both have Dyslexia and Dysgraphia so writing is VERY difficult for them, as is spelling in general.  They are great readers but struggle with spelling and handwriting.  So they took the bin of letters and used them to spell out the spelling words they had been struggling with this week.  They had fun and as visual learners this helped them remember the words a bit better.  Very cool!

By far one of my favorite freebie finds are these highlight-a-letter printables from Teachers Pay Teachers and these number pages from Confessions of a Homeschool Mom.  My printer worked overtime and ever cost-conscience I decided to make these reusable.

I bought page protectors from Staples and inserted all the printouts (I found tons of great items on TPT and Pinterest - even some cool angry birds printables -- he is in love with the graphing game) into them.  I have a book for spelling - the alphabet, learning letters, and begining writing. I have a 2nd binder for math related pages, including shapes and patterns printables as well.

A dry erase marker works awesome on these and they are easily erased, just like a dry erase book or board, but at a fraction of the cost! Dean isn't a fan of workbooks but for some reason LOVES these dry-erase "tracing books" (as he calls them).  

I put them in different school bins with markers so he can use them on rotation and not grow tired or frustrated of them.