Recently I began discussing the various stages that children go through in order to learn to read. The simplest of the stages deals with letter recognition and letter sound naming. After children have accomplished this skill, they begin putting sounds together to make words.
There are ways that children can learn to work with words. After a child can read a word, that child should learn to manipulate the word in a variety of ways. Simply saying the word does not give enough depth to the concept.
Children need to learn to build words from letters and use those letters to rearrange and recreate other forms of words.
I carry out several different word play activities in my own classroom.
One of the simplest forms of word play is rhyming words. Children learn to change the beginning of a word to create a rhyming word.
After children are capable of reading several CVC words (discussed in a previous article), they should be guided through activities that play on the different letters and sounds in those words.
One example of this word play is changing the beginning, middle, and final sounds to create new words. For example once a child can read the word pot, the child should be carried through activities such as changing the vowel sound to make the word read pat. From pat the child can change the final sound to read pan.
Going through activities such as these help children understand how sounds relate with one another to create words.
In addition to manipulating real words, children should also learn to work with nonsense words. Although these are not real words that children will use on a daily basis, they do help children see how sounds and letters relate. These words can be very fun for children.