As we remain inside during these uncertain times, caregivers have become teachers—and Commonwealth Learning Center is here to help with some hands-on literacy practice ideas for young learners.

Alphabet Work

Here are a few activities kids can do with plastic letters or letter cards, shaving cream, and clay or pipe cleaners:

  • Arrange letters in alphabetical order, with a model if needed.
  • Devise a memory game to match uppercase to lowercase letters.
  • Form letters out of clay, pipe cleaners, or Wikki Stix.
  • Practice handwriting in a multisensory way:
    • Place a small amount of shaving cream or flour in a baking tray.
    • Have children form letters with the first two fingers of their writing hand reinforcing starting letters from the top, not the baseline.
    • Say a sound; have the student repeat the sound and then name the corresponding letter while forming it in the shaving cream or flour.

Phonological Skills

  • Have children pair up rhyming words or pictures of rhyming words, and then draw or write a rhyming word for a stimulus word (e.g. vote-boatcherry-merry, clock-sock).
  • Match letters to items that begin with the sounds the letters represent. You can make this a scavenger hunt. Select 5 letters and find 1 or 2 items for each, such as bear or book for /b/. For students beyond the initial sound level, have them match ending sounds such as rug or twig for /g/ or cash or fish for /sh/.
  • To practice phonemic segmentation skills, have students sort simple household objects by the number of speech sounds in them. For example, spoon has four sounds, while fork has three sounds.

Other Skills

  • Encourage children to draw a 3-scene comic to illustrate beginning, middle, and end, such as steps in making a cake or how to walk the dog. More advanced students can add captions and/or design a comic with more scenes.
  • Students can write illustrated messages of encouragement to family or community members.
  • Have children draw a small poster advertising their favorite book, movie, or game of the week.

And always…

Reading aloud is the best way to increase student vocabulary and comprehension. Read to your child as much as possible, but encourage other avenues as well. There are author read alouds on YouTube and free books available on Bookshare and Audible right now.

Happy learning, and stay safe!


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