letter and word learning: cora’s word search puzzles

letter and word learning: cora’s word search puzzles


One more way we’re making Maddy’s homework time work for everyone is with Word Searches.

You know those sheets of paper with big blocks of letters all scrambled up with words hidden inside? That’s it–my kids love ’em, so I’ll make as many as we need, as many as they want.

We’ve rocked it with Word Searches for Owen, and recently, I designed some especially for Cora.

  • Cora’s Word Searches: These simple puzzles are modeled after the crosswords that Owen uses and loves. But instead of 15 letters across and down, Cora’s puzzles have 8 letters across and down.

And these puzzle letters are larger so that they’re more easy on little ones’ eyes, and only finding six words makes the whole activity more manageable for a 3 or 4 year old.

I also expanded the word bank on the bottom to include a picture with each word.  That way, just like with early literacy texts, emerging readers can use both the picture and the letters they recognize–and what they know about letter sounds–to figure out what the word is.

She likes them, and I’m ecstatic.  Cora’s  reaching a jumping off point with letters and words, and it’s an absolute blast.

letter and word learning: cora’s word search puzzlesOwen double-puzzles it– one of Cora’s puzzles and one of his.

Cora’s Word Searches are here to download as a pdf if you’d like:


letter and word learning: cora’s word search puzzles

All of the puzzles were created on Discovery’s Puzzlemaker, which  I totally love, so head over there to create some of your own!

And that’s it–that’s one way I’m trying to support Cora’s letter recognition through play and games and an activity I know she enjoys.  Because as research has proven, children need numerous meaningful opportunities to interact with the letters of the alphabet in order for them to fully learn it.

Although alphabet letter recognition is considered one indicator of success in reading, it’s only one component of fully understanding the alphabet. According to Bradley & Jones’s article, “Sharing Alphabet Books in Early Childhood Classrooms,” full understanding of the alphabet involves letter-shape knowledge, or letter recognition; letter-name knowledge; letter-sound knowledge; and letter writing ability (The Reading Teacher, February 2007).

So Cora’s little Word Searches might not cover all bases here, but we’re taking one step at a time on the road to literacy. . . hooray!




  1. Brandy says

    I tried to make some the last time you suggested this. However, every time I use Discovery’s Puzzlemaker, it is only putting one of my words in the puzzle. I have tried listing my words every way they suggest and it still doesn’t work. Any suggestions?

    • amy says

      Brandy, how strange! I’m sorry–I just tried it to make sure nothing major changed w/ the site, and you can list words, separate them with commas, or just separate them with a space. I’d try again and then contact the site admin for Discovery; most likely you’re not alone if it still won’t work…until then, you can use ours!

      • Brandy says

        I did print yours up! I printed them on cardstock and placed them in a page protector. My son did both of them tonight using a dry erase marker. He loves things like this and likes to do them over and over. So this was the best way for us. I’ve used other puzzlemakers to make some with words he can already read, but I never thought to put new words with a picture. Genius! Please make more or teach me how! LOL!

        • amy says

          hoooray! glad it worked, Brandy! I’ve got several more we’ve done but I have to save and share–keep your eyes open and many thanks for writing!!

  2. says

    Thanks for this! My mom is coming to visit soon and my daughter loves to do word searches with her. I just printed up a bunch, laminated them, 3-hole punched them and put them into a binder that she can do over and over!

    • amy says

      I LOVE how you and Brandy have made these re-usable!! So smart–and I will certainly do the same! thanks for the great idea!

    • amy says

      So strange….are you printing the ones for ‘Cora’? Or maybe I added a link to the wrong ones..I’ll try to figure it out, and if they’re still printing wrong for you, I’ll gladly email you the doc–

  3. says

    This is fabulous! I have one question, though. How did you get the little pictures on yours? My little guy is still learning his letters, and I thought the graphics might help him a little more with word recognition. Thanks for such great ideas!

    • amy says

      Thanks, Millie!! I cut and pasted, actually, from the Discovery site adding the puzzles to my template. I put the graphics on the ones I made for Cora, but I just used words for the ones I made for Owen–let me know if you need anything else, my friend!


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