Yesterday was a super-busy and a totally out-of-the-ordinary day for us. We spent the day at PBS Headquarters in Virginia (seriously!) with some other cool DC Metro Moms, and I promise, promise, promise I’ll share what we learned about the amazing things they’ve got going on over there after this weekend. I honestly cannot wait. . .
Thanks to Bear’s Words Their Way (2004), we did a picture-word sort with -an/-at families. It’s so easy, and these sorts are a fantastic way of helping children begin to learn words and word family patterns.
- Picture-Word Sort: Just like our rhyming sorts, I named all of the pictures on the cards before we began. Then I chose one “anchor word” from each family and put them next to each other. We then sorted the pictures into two columns, one -at family and the other -an family. The anchor word is super-important because as you go through the other words, you should compare: Hmmmm, ‘sat’. Does ‘sat’ rhyme with ‘bat’ or ‘fan’? ‘Sat’, ‘bat’ or ‘sat’, ‘fan’?
Next, I pulled out the word cards. The first time, I read a card then placed it next to its picture. By the third word I read, Maddy was itching to grab the pile from me and do it on her own. I let her, and with some work together, we matched up each word to its picture. Ideally, you should read each word and model how to match them up, then let the child try to do it on his own.
After we finished, we read each word and pointed to it as we went, and then we mixed them all up and Maddy and Owen tried it on their own (well, together). Very fun. They’ve already asked to do it again tonight before bed. . .
Since reading is the construction of meaning between the reader, the text, and the context, it is only appropriate that one part of learning to read would be to see a picture of the word next to the word itself. It is absolutely not, not, NOT “cheating” in any way for an emerging reader to use a picture to help figure out a word. That’s why there are huge, clear pictures in every leveled book on the market.
Here are some places you can find free, downloadable picture/ word sorts: here is the best free site I’ve found, but there’s also literacy connections and readwritethink that have some great, user-friendly sorts, or just email me and I’ll send you what I have.