Exaggerate for Emphasis and Humor - Language Lesson

January 18, 2011

I taught my four year old how to spell and sound out words, and although I firmly believe that free play is the best way to learn, it doesn't hurt to throw in small doses of guided learning. As early as kindergarten children are taught to read so I wanted my child to have a strong foundation for knowing her letters by sight and sound. To assist me with developing this skill I went to my local bookstore and purchased a book that had a built-in letter wheel. You rotate the wheel and it changes the last consonant of a word.  By exaggerating the pronunciation of the word I was able to show my daughter how the last consonant was changing.  For instance I would say saaaaaaaaaaaad, saaaaaaaaaaat, saaaaaaaaaaam to show her that the sa sound is the same for all the words and that the last consonant is the letter that is changing with the rotation of the wheel.  Don't be affraid to exaggerate for emphasis and teaching purposes. 


Comments: 4

Fun with Rhyming Words

February 03, 2011

Rat a Tat Tat... The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat. The rhyming in the book The Fat Cat Sat on The Mat is pleasing to the ear and acts as a great tool for teaching children the fun skill of rhyming. 

Initially children learn how to recognize beginning letter sounds.  From here you can start emphasizing the letters at the end of words to teach ending sounds like bat, suit, boat, rat, eat...and so on. Once these tow concepts are understood, your child is ready to grasp rhyming. After reading the book The Fat Cat Sat On The Mat, discuss how rat, cat, mat, hat, bat, tat, fat, pat, and sat all rhyme. It may be helpful to write all words out and put the beginning letter in a different color to show that the first letter changes but the end of the word stays the same: Rat, Cat, Mat, Hat, Bat, Tat, Fat, Pat, and Sat.

Later you can extend this activity to playing car games. Wisely use the never-ending time you spend in the car driving your kids all over town to come-up with rhyme words.  You say a word and your children must come up with a word that rhymes. This simple exercise is not only educational for your children, but it helps keep you calm while sitting in rush hour traffic. helhhhe h     he hel h hThisTh 


Comments: 2

Alphabet Letter Recognition

February 17, 2011


We all sing the alphabet song with our children.  This song is a great tool for helping children speak letters of the alphabet.  Unless your children have the same problem as mine and thought "L-M-N-O-P" was it's own letter:) 

Once children can recite the letters of the alphabet, our next step it to teach them visual letter recognition. Have the letters printed out on a piece of paper.  A way to teach this symbolism is to point to the letter as it comes up in song.  This combines both auditory and visual senses.  To deepen understanding, help children construct their own letters with sticks, string, play doh, or even with food.  After children are done constructing a letter, repeat the letter name. 

Attached is an informal mommy lesson plan for teaching alphabet letter recognition.      

Comments: 6

Children Learning Letter Sounds

February 24, 2011

I teach letter sounds by emphasizing the beginning sound of words. If you are teaching the T sound for truck, table, trip, tie....emphasize Tttttruck, Ttttable, Tttttrip, and so forth. You could even have a letter a day theme. Have a picnic with items that begin with T. 


Food and drink- ice Tea, Tomatoes, Tortillas,and Turkey  

Toys- Trucks, Tiles, and Trampoline.



Language Tip of The Week

I teach letter sounds by emphasizing the beginning sound of words. If you are teaching the T sound for truck, table, trip, and tie.... emphasize Tttttruck, Ttttable, Tttttrip, and so forth. You could even have a letter a day theme. Have a picnic with items that begin with T.

Supplies as listed below.

Food and drink: Ice Tea, Tomatoes, Tortillas, and Turkey

Toys; Trucks, Tiles, Trampoline, Tape, and Tracing for play.

Comments: 1

Children with a Better Vocabulary

March 03, 2011

My kids loved to be chased. Besides being fun and it was a great way to get a little exercise (for me and them).  We just didn't simply run around though, I used the time as a way to help develop their language skills.

To help my children expand their vocabularies I would say the same thing using many different words-using similes. For example, as I was chasing my kids, I say to them “you are going so fast, you are quick, speedy, rapid, and swift.

Don't misunderstand me.  There are times when you should just play for the sake of playing, but why not try to sneak in occasional learning sessons with your kids when they least expect it smile



Comments: 4

Silly Faces for Speech Therapy

March 17, 2011

Don't be afraid to try different techniques to teach your children.  Become your own child's resident "expert".  For instance, my daughter had the toughest time saying the "th" in three.  I taught her to eventually sound it out.  I had her strictly exaggerate the motion of her tongue by physically holding her top lip (so she wouldn't be tempted to use it) and I had her stick her tongue WAY out and exaggerate the motion while saying the word "three". She got it after a few tries.  Now I am no speech therapist, just a parent and teacher, but I am telling you my technique worked.

Comments: 5

Top Ten Things to Teach/Occupy Your Children When You Grocery Shop

May 16, 2011


  1. Pick out fruits that are red, green...etc.  You can also have children tell you which items are fruits and which are vegetables.  Teaches classification skills - math and language
  2. Children can weigh fruits and vegetables and guess how much the bunch will cost based on the weight and unit cost.  Teaches math
  3. Have children find the items you are looking for as you turn down a given isle. If you are shopping for a recipe, have children find the needed items on the list.  Teaches observation skills and following directions 
  4. Give children a shopping list and have them categorize items.  By grouping similar items, shopping will be quicker.  Teaches time-management and classification skills
  5. Have children pick the cheapest product by looking at the unit price.  They will learn to compare decimals and understand the concept of greater than or less than.  Teaches math
  6. Add the estimated cost of each item purchased and ask your child to estimate the total cost of the groceries.  Teaches math
  7. Have children read labels on products.  Looking at the first five items, discuss what makes certain items healthy or not.  Teaches reading and health
  8. Have children read your shopping list as you find the items.Practice reading
  9. Ask children to find the isle that contains a specific item.  For example, ask your child to read the isle sign to find the one that contains pasta…etc. Practice reading - language and categorization
  10. I let my children assist me at check out and then we look over the receipt for accuracy.  Children learn fine motor skills, following directions, reading money and independence


Comments: 1

Silly Nillies

June 09, 2011

Here is an activity from Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom by Susan Winebrenner.   My kids love them!  Answers will be posted on Sunday.

Directions: Make up two-word definitions for these phrases. The words must rhyme and have the same number of syllables. Examples: An escaped gander is a loose goose. Chocolate bars with nuts and caramel are dandy candy.

1. An improved wool pullover is a_________________________________________________

2. An undisciplined youngster is a _________________________________________________

3. An out-of-tune chorus sings a __________________________________________________

4. A minuscule tool for unlocking things is a_________________________________________

5. An overweight feline is a ______________________________________________________

6. A girl who talks back to her parents is a __________________________________________

7. Pizza served on an airplane is___________________________________________________

8. A cart to carry a fire-breathing monster is a________________________________________

9. A meal for someone who is on a serious diet is_____________________________________

10. Coinage used to purchase items that can’t be bought with regular currency is _____________

11. A tall, strong rose on a very thick stem has ________________________________________

12. A citizen who thinks very clearly on politics is a ___________________________________

13. A worker who finishes walls speedily uses ________________________________________

14. An instrument that is used only for one specialized task is a___________________________

15. Someone who’s determined to build an atomic device is on a _________________________

16. Two very ugly monsters make a_________________________________________________

17. A brave soldier on a white horse who saves a town from a dragon is a __________________

18. A jar lid that comes off with very little effort is a ___________________________________

19. A display of people’s handiwork in the registration area of a hotel is a __________________

20. An opera contains a series of ___________________________________________________


From Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom by Susan Winebrenner, copyright © 2001. Free Spirit Publishing Inc.,

Minneapolis, MN: 800/735-7323; This page may be photocopied for individual or classroom work only. Since Free Spirit

Publishing allows educators to adapt this form to their needs, it may have been modified from its original format and content. 

From Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom by Susan Winebrenner, copyright © 2001. Free Spirit Publishing Inc.,

Minneapolis, MN: 800/735-7323; This page may be photocopied for individual or classroom work only. Since Free

Publishing allows educators to adapt this form to their needs, it may have been modified from its original format and conte

Comments: 6

Clever Ways to Play that Teach Brief Math and Language Lessons

July 15, 2011

I love the game I-spy because I can use the game to reinforce a plethora of math and language concepts.    

Here are some examples:


  1. I spy something longer (quantity) than a pencil.
  2. I spy something heavier (quantity) than a cup.
  3. I spy something inside (spatial awareness) something else.
  4. I spy something that is used in a pattern.
  5. I spy something bigger (quantity) than a ball
  6. I spy something that has four parts
  7. I spy a rectangle.
  8. I spy something that has three sides.
  9. I spy something thinner than a ruler.
  10. I spy something used to measure (math tool).


  1. I spy something that rhymes with up. 
  2. I spy something that begins with the letter t.
  3. I spy something that ends with the letter r.
  4. I spy something translucent (vocabulary).
  5. I spy something that goes with a fork.
  6. I spy something that is the opposite of big.
  7. I spy something that is a compound word.
  8. I spy a homophone.
  9. I spy something that spells a three-letter word with o in the middle.
  10. I spy  something that makes this statement an alliteration: Lazy Lizzy Let Lucas Lick ____. 




Comments: 1

Education Games

July 26, 2011

I often find myself playing educational games with my children; games which are not so educational that they are tedious but rather just enjoyable learning.  Activities such as “Go Fish”, “Concentration”, or any matching games really help my kids with memorizational skills. When I was a teacher, I’d use these games with my students and they proved so effective, easy, and fun that they’ve become part of regular play at home. These games, by their very nature, are repetitive. Memorization comes from repetition in seeing and thinking about an association.

Today, instead of using a regular deck of Poker cards, I decided to switch it up a bit to provide variation. I made my own “deck” out of index cards (construction paper or cardboard would work as well), and wrote matching words on them. I thought that showing pairs in words may be more age appropriate for my girls. We played “Go Fish” with these word cards just as we would have with regular cards and the kids caught on instantly. Depending on the age of your children, numbers, words and/or pictures may be great choices.  

Below are some examples of potential categories.

If anyone has any other creative ideas for matching games, I’d love for you to share! 


A Card

Its Match


Go to the potty

Wipe, Flush, Wash





Leave a room

Turn off the light

Math Addition

3 + 5 or 2 x 4


Language – Rhyme words


Sock, knock, dock, flock, lock…etc


George Washington

Lost all his teeth


Abraham Lincoln

On the penny



25 cents





Comments: 7
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