Large Movable Alphabet

Independent Word Building (Pink Level)


At some point, the teacher decides a child is ready to build words without her help. To maximize the child's success, we begin with two or three letter phonetic words. An attractive material is provided to enable the child to work alone within this limitation.


1. Pink boxes containing attractive small objects whose names are three-letter phonetic words. Example: cat, box, cup, pig, pot, fan. Include a variety of phonetic vowel sounds in each box.


PRESENTATION 1: Word building with objects

The teacher takes a large movable alphabet and a pink box of objects. A green mat is spread on the floor. The alphabet box is opened and set in its lid on the mat. The teacher shows the child how to take an object, put it on the mat and build its name beside it, and then take another object and put it under the first one and build its name. As soon as the child has understood the exercise, he works alone. He puts the objects down one at a time on the mat and builds their names. The child can use any of the pink boxes in the same way. The blue boxes of objects and pictures are also used for word building. The child uses these when he has had sufficient practice with the pink boxes.
Do not kill the child's enthusiasm at this stage by correcting every spelling error. As long as a child is working with interest and obviously understands what he is doing, do not interfere. He will improve quickly with practice. If he obviously does not understand what he is doing, give him a new lesson the next day before he has had time to take the material out for himself. If he repeatedly misspells the same word, he can be shown the correct spelling politely.
Do not ask the child to read the words he has composed, even when they are correctly spelled. He usually cannot do so because reading is an entirely different process to word building.
Some children begin to attempt words of their own choosing. They will choose words they cannot really manage and try to spell them phonetically. Give them any help they ask for, making suggestions, but not over-correcting. If he is worried about spelling at this age, he may stop working. He may become a bad speller or turn against reading and writing. When a child has built words successfully, the teacher should, if possible, go to his mat and read the words back to him. She should say the phonetic sounds of each word, then, say them quickly, fusing them together to make a word. This is valuable, as hearing the teacher sound and read phonetic words prepares the child to do so.
The child is free to build words using any of the pink object boxes.



PRESENTATION 2: Word building with picture cards



Pink boxes of pictures mounted on pink cards whose names are three-letter phonetic words. Example: pig, six, cup, rat sun. Do not choose pictures that represent verbs (dig, sit, etc.) because they can be confusing. Choose nouns that are clearly represented. It is best to use beautiful realistic photos or pictures rather than cartoons.

This material is used for additional practice, after the children have completed building words with all of the pink object boxes. They are used in the same way as the objects above.