There’s still time to check off any remaining gifts on your list, especially gifts that support the science of teaching reading! Whether you’re shopping for other educators, treating yourself or your class to a gift, or even making suggestions to parents, we’ve got you covered with our handpicked suggestions on gifts that can support evidence-based reading instruction.
Read on for some great ideas! (We have included links for your shopping convenience, but feel free to shop around!)
Our picks for phonemic awareness and decoding:
|Phonics Flip Books
|It can be hard to come up with decodable words on the spot! This is an example of a flip book in which you can switch the beginning, middle, or ending letter in a word to create new words to use during whole group and small group decoding practice.
|Phonemic Awareness Cards with Sound Boxes
|Elkonin Boxes are a great strategy to practice phonemic awareness segmenting and blending. You can definitely make your own with a sheet of paper and picture cards, but sometimes it’s easier to purchase pre-printed resources such as these CVC phonemic awareness cards. Students would point to each square while saying the sound of each word (phonemic awareness) and then connect it to letter knowledge and reading by putting a letter in each square to blend and read the word.
|Teachers and students love these pop-it fidget toys for phonemic awareness activities. You can find some fun ideas on how to use these here: 16 Pop It Games to Use Those Popping Fidget Toys in the Classroom.
|There are tons of word games available online. This particular one is targeted for students in grades K-2 and has students finding words that begin or end with certain sounds, blends, or digraphs.
|These colorful cubes aren’t just for math—they’re also great for word chain activities, which is a great way to practice decoding skills. Here’s an example of how you can use them in your reading lessons: Phoneme Manipulation with Blocks.
|Books about words!
|A great way to encourage an interest in reading and word play is to read books about this! The Word Collector, by Peter H. Reynolds, tells the story of a boy who loves the sound of words, even multi-syllablic ones that he doesn’t yet know the meaning of. This book is great for read-alouds and can inspire many activities, like counting out syllables or segmenting complex words.
Our picks for fine motor and handwriting:
|Cutting paper, cardstock, and other materials is the perfect fine motor activity to develop the hand muscles needed for writing. These kid scissors feature blunt tips and are designed for right- or left-handed use.
|Pencil grips can help beginning writers learn how to move from holding their pencil with a fist grip to the tripod grip.
|Use these rainbow pipe cleaners for fine motor activities. Twist them into shapes (toddlers) or letters (PreK and above), use them instead of string for beading activities, or have students insert them into plastic straws to “clean them” (great for hand/eye coordination!).
Our picks for alphabet knowledge:
|Memorizing the ABC song doesn’t always translate to letter recognition and letter/sound correspondence because children may not be thinking of individual letters (elemenohpee, anyone?). Instead of the traditional song, mix up the rhythm of how you sing the ABCs to encourage students to really think about the letters. Using a metronome like this can help you choose and stay on beat!
|Alphabet Construction Set
|Research shows that constructing letters can help children develop letter/sound knowledge. This particular set can be used to construct both upper- and lowercase letters.
Our picks for professional development:
|Phonemic Awareness in Young Children: A Classroom Curriculum by Marilyn J. Adams is a great resource book for teachers with many activities to help develop phonemic awareness with students. It has activities to address every level of phonological and phonemic awareness, with ideas for both whole class and small group instruction.
|Finally, consider gifting our self-paced courses on early literacy, text-dependent instruction, and (new!) multisyllabic word instruction. Participants receive a completion certificate at the end of each course that may be able to be used for certificate renewal, and we are an approved CPE provider for TEA!