In order to introduce the children to new vocabulary words and review past vocabulary words, we created a word search. We wrote all of the vocabulary words and a few other words on butcher paper. On cards we wrote the vocabulary words and gave them to the children. We asked them to match the words on their cards to the words on the butcher paper. Whenever they chose a word that was not on their cards they were asked, “Do those letters look like the letters on your card?” Then the students looked more closely and carefully studied each letter in each word until they found their word. “I found it! I found it!” they’d shout. Later we taped the butcher paper and the cards down on the table and provided the children with markers. The children quickly began tracing and circling the words.
Word search puzzles can help with letter recognition. When a child plays with letters and words they become acquainted to their look and feel. Younger children increase their familiarity with letters and combinations of letters leading them to becoming aware of words and their correct spelling. Learning new words this way it is an imperative part of learning how to read and write. Children who have fun in word games tend to be more secure in their language skills and more comfortable reading. Expanding their vocabulary helps the children to have clear and concise communication skills when they speak to others and in expressing their thoughts and ideas with pen and paper.
Having a level of familiarity of letters and words instills confidence into the children and increases enthusiasm for literacy development. This experience incorporated oral language, alphabet knowledge, and the understanding of how words are linked to the alphabet. In doing so the children strengthened their reading readiness and will not only be prepared to learn how to read but have the confidence to pursue their literacy growth in the future!
“The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one which makes you think.”
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