Monday, September 29, 2008

for the love of words!

I'm putting my "teacher" hat on for Monday morning. It was a rainy, indoor kind of weekend and my daughter spent a lot of time drawing and creating little books. Labeling and explaining her pieces was a critical part of her process, and "how do you spell...?" was asked every few minutes. I knew it was time to make her a "key word ring" and thought I'd share it with you, too.

I used word rings for my son when we were trying to help his writing abilities catch up to his reading level at age six. For my daughter, who has early writing skills, these rings will aid her in learning sight words (recognizing familiar words). They also help her gain some independence and keep me from spelling the same favorite words over and over again. Word rings are great for everyone...and look they're portable (you know I love that)!

They are based on Sylvia Ashton-Warner's work with Maori children in New Zealand in the 60's. She was an educational pioneer who wrote the book Teacher in 1963. In it she says, "First words must have an intense meaning...they must be already part of the dynamic life of the child." Warner recommended beginning reading instruction with a "key vocabulary"... sight words a child uses in conversation that have deep emotional meaning for him/her.

You don't typically think of a three and a half year old writing (attempting) the word unicorn, but unicorns are my daughter's passion so she constantly wants to draw and write about them. She's so proud of her unicorn "word" on her ring! We chose words that had significance in her life and that she asks for repeatedly. We keep a couple blank ones on hand...ready for a new word request.


If you have a new reader/writer I urge you to make them their own personal ring to keep close to their writing and drawing supplies.

Materials:
-Index cards
-hole puncher
-binder rings (2 inch is a perfect size)... shower curtain rings can work also!
-paper cutter for quick halving of the cards (optional)

Hope you have a great start to your week! Pin It

30 comments:

  1. This is a great idea. My daughter never showed any interest in writing until this year (she's almost seven) and I'm spelling words a lot now.

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  2. THIS IS FANTASTIC!!! We have a little "How do you spell..." girl at our house, too.

    Your little one is amazingly artistic as well as an early writer. I LOVE her drawings!!

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  4. how about that? I made one of those years ago without knowing it came from somewhere else! I had mostly the names of the members of our famiy on our ring. My oldest was called the 'letters girl' by her daycare teacher since she was always asking, "how do you spell?" She is 15 now and a good speller too!

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  5. I love this idea and will apply it to helping my daughter learn to read as well. I think I will add a small picture beside the word as well. Additionally, my Spanish teacher always told us to label items in the house to help us learn our vocabulary. I think I will apply that concept to labeling items in English.

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  6. This is perfect for my boy, his ring will have Superman, Batman, Star wars, and all the great boyish heros!

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  7. These word rings are such a great idea! And I love learning about their origin. I think they'll make such a lovely keepsake for your daughter as well. She can look back years from now and see what words and images populated her very vivid inner life.

    Have a great week, my friend!

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  8. ohmygosh! Reminds me so much of one of my kids. Mine's now 4 1/2 and I find her signs EVERYWHERE, sometimes rather startling. You might also enjoy making a flip book three letters wide where as you flip the pages up/down, you can make simple 3-letter words, changing c-a-t to b-a-t...kind of fun. Mine also love little notebooks and I write on each page some word or number to practice counting by 2's or sight words. Good Fun.

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  9. We made up a few sets of these for my mom . She has some dementia at 92 years of age. She has the names of all her children ( 7 of them) there partners and then children and grandchildren. She has them by each of her telephones so that when one of us calls she can refer to the correct card as ask about the appropriate members of the family. This used to be very frustrating for her.

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  10. I think I will have to start one of these very soon, at the pace Zoe is learning the letter...
    Great idea, as usual.

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  11. Great idea! I have a ton of those rings and my daughter is at the age where she is always asking how to spell something! I love it, but it would be fun to make this ring with her as well!

    Thanks for the idea!

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  12. That is such a great idea, Ollie is not at that age yet, but I will certainly try and remember this tip. Loving your daughters pictures too, what a little artist!

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  13. what a great idea! i made some name cards last year for my little guy of all his friend's names so he could draw them pictures. i should do it again and add some words that are significant to him. i like the ring idea, and i know my son would too.

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  14. An Instructional Assistant at my school was cutting circles today for word rings. 7000 circles. We got a good laugh about it. I asked why the teachers didn't want rectangles, that it would be a heck of a lot easier than cutting circles. She just shrugged and laughed. Maybe she was just dumbfounded. Your's certainly make more sense to me. Anyway, that's my connection to your blog today. = )

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  15. Wow! Had no idea these little rings would pique everyone's interest so much. I'm happy to hear they might be useful to some of you and was really excited about all of your additional suggestions. Margie's usage of a "family" ring for her 92 year old mother moved me deeply.

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  16. this idea is so brilliant I had to bookmark it! you are a genius in everyway...

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  17. Thanks for sharing another wonderful idea! And yes, thank you also to the follow-up commenters.

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  18. I love this idea!!! I am currently in college studying to be a teacher and this idea is awesome!! But I do have one suggestion, to help out you and your daughter. When you write the word on the strip, write it in lower case letters, as it would be seen in normal everyday writing. You don't want her to get the idea that everything is in all caps. So if your word is "unicorn" write it as "unicorn" (no capital 'u' either). If it is a proper noun, "Mickey Mouse", then you use capital letters. It is awesome to see parents at home working with their children like this. Some kids don't get this kind of opportunity at home, which makes it harder for them to catch up once they enter school, thus beginning a very hard school life. From a future teacher to a parent...THANK YOU!

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  19. Imnotanogre- thank you for your wonderful suggestion and I'm excited a future teacher was inspired! As far as lower case letters...my daughter has very advanced fine motor skills for her age (3 1/2), but capitals with all of their straight lines prove to be a more successful starting point. I'm really just following her lead of what is interesting her at the moment and don't feel a need to push her for "school readiness". When she shows interest, I'll keep in mind incorporating all of the lower case letters, etc. I appreciate your input, thank you.

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  20. I think this will be great for my kindergartners - I made a word wall with library pockets, so I think I'll mass produce a ton of the word slips, and then let the children select from all the letters to form their own word book. Thanks for the great idea!

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  21. oh my goodness this just gave me an awesome idea with my special needs son!!

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  22. Oh this is perfect for us right now because I am hearing "how do you spell...?" probably about 10 times a day lately!

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  23. thanks for this simple, yet sooo useful idea! i'll be using it for both my kids ages 4 and 6.

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  24. I'm a speech language pathologist and I do this with my own kids. My cards are larger and organized by category. For example I have one card with all color words another with common animals, etc. My children were interested in words like monkey and cabin. I didn't realize this is a teaching strategy but it makes sense.

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  25. what a great idea...this would be helpful for a kindergartener too, although it would be pretty full of words!

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  26. What a fantastic idea! I've been wondering what I could use for my son who is a (VERY) beginning reader but loves writing stories and just writing, in general.

    Thanks!

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  27. Oh, thank you for this one. My daughter is seriously in the "how do you spell..." phase and my mind brain is looking for just this little tool.

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  28. Hi! I am a homeschooling Mum of 4 little ones (i am about to have my 5th)
    I am going to make them up for my younger kids.
    I wish i had seen this for my oldest daughter....she is 6 now. She is now at the stage where she is writing her own stories, so i have bought her an indexed notebook and i write any words she asks me about in there for her. I guess it is just the next step up from this!!! The words she asks for are astounding!!! Everything from names to words like communicate and sensitive! We go through it once a week and read all the words she has.

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  29. This is just such a great idea and one I'm going to borrow - thanks for the inspiration! Have linked here today:
    http://www.playingbythebook.net/2010/07/18/fishing-for-words/

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