My youngest son is working on letter recognition and letter sounds, so I made him these easy letter sticks today.
The sticks are super simple – they are just craft sticks that I wrote letters on. I do uppercase on one side and lowercase on the other, and always write on the front and the back, so there’s no way for kiddos to get confused. I also make sure that I make at least two for each letter, sometimes more for those Wheel of Fortune letters (R S T L N E).
After I made these, I started thinking of all the ways that these could be used in word work and literacy centers. So, I thought I’d share a few ideas with you:
1.) Flash the letter – What’s the name? What’s the sound? Just like letter cards, this gives you an easy way to check where students are. In fact, they can check themselves, and put the ones they know into one cup and the ones they don’t into another.
2.) Matching uppercase and lowercase – As long as you have at least two of each letter, students can match the uppercase version with the lowercase version easily and increase their understanding of different forms of a letter.
3.) Write out their name – Being able to spell their own name is an important pre-reading skill. Help kids to spell out their own name by having name cards available to them, and then slowly remove the name cards from the center.
4.) Spell simple words – First copying words from word wall cards and then creating words of their own, students can use this simple manipulative to build words. Older kids can use these manipulatives to practice spelling sight words and spelling words.
5.) Quickly change out word family words – Have students create the word family and change out the beginning. Or have students use these in place of letter cards when playing the Making Words Word Family Centers available at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.
6.) Work on alphabetical order – Let the kids put the sticks in order from A to Z. Now can they do it from Z to A?
How could you use this simple literacy manipulative?