As children learn to identify the letters and sounds in the alphabet they are ready to begin making words. These free printable apple letter cards are a fun way to practice during your fall literacy activities.
Since Lovey knows all letter sounds I used all of the letter cards in this activity. However, if your child has learned a handful of letters you can still get started with making words activities. Simply limit the cards used for the activity to the ones that your child currently knows. You can make multiple copies of the letter cards so there are multiple options to make words.
I started by separating the cards into three baskets. In the middle basket I placed the vowel sounds. In the two outer baskets I placed consonants.
Practice Making Words
Lovey then chose a letter from each basket moving left to right. As she did she said the letter sounds and slowly stretched the sounds together to blend the word. Once she blended the word she told me whether the word was a real word or nonsense word. After each word we placed the cards back into the baskets.
Sometimes the cards she pulled made real words, and other times the cards made nonsense words. She blended both sets of words the same way to gain practice in blending sounds.
Some people questions whether it is okay for kids to work with nonsense words, and the answer is definitely. There are many reasons for this, but I’ll share two keys ones here today. At the most basic level the act of blending the sounds is the key focus for these activities. And working with a variety of words helps kids develop fluency in blending, which helps them become better readers.
Working with nonsense words at this level also exposes kids to the chunks they will later find within larger words. In the example above “lev” is a nonsense word, but as kids begin to read and encounter longer words in text they will find words like lever and level. Exposing them to nonsense words now can help them when they are blending those nonsense words (or chunks) within words as they read later.
Modify the activity
For toddlers and preschoolers just learning the alphabet you can simply pull cards from one basket and name the letter and/or the sound the letter represents. Or even better…get moving. Hide the letters around the learning area, and do a scavenger hunt to find all the letters.
For kids who are becoming proficient at blending words, incorporate writing. First make a simple T-chart on paper. Then have the child list real words made during the activity on one side of the chart and nonsense words made during the activity on the other side of the chart.
Printable Apple Theme Lesson Plans
Are you teaching an apple-inspired theme soon?
Check out our apple theme lesson plans. We have a general apples theme and a book-based Ten Apples Up on Top theme. Both are full of hands-on learning activities that include reading, math, science, fine motor activities, sensory play, and more.
These sets are designed for home preschool, but we’re thinking of you too classroom teachers. We’ll have classroom versions available for your use soon!
Find more learning activities to go along with your apple theme here.