I’m sharing how I use Science of Reading activities and mapping mats with preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students! These mats help build essential blending and segmenting skills children need for building words. Read on to find out how we make word building fun and exciting by incorporating a variety of manipulatives!
Science of Reading Activities and Mapping Mats for Young Children
It is such an exciting time in education! The research is FINALLY starting to sink in and so many educators are really taking the plunge to incorporate the Science of Reading into their literacy practices. If you want to learn more about how I started incorporating these strategies in my classroom, head here to read about the Sound Wall I use or here to read about some of the other Science of Reading Literacy Centers I’m using in my classroom.
Nothing about the Science of Reading has to be boring. That’s one reason I use these adorable “Flip it” mats with my kids. There is just something about the “Flip” that makes them so fun!
Flip It Mats
First of all, I really think the best way to set these up is to slide them in a dry-erase pocket. I have 4 of these pockets so when students are ready to work on this independently, I set up 4 places to sit like this one.
Next, I teach them how to use the mats. They simply “Flip it” as in flip one card from the stack over. Then, they “Say it” which simply means they should say the word out loud. Cards are included with or without words on the bottom so you can differentiate the skill according to student need.
Next, they map the word. They can map the word by writing each sound or with any other small object you can think of!
Finally, children write the word. This is when you will be so glad you used dry-erase pockets. They enjoy using those markers plus they can reuse that mat again and again!
I always let children choose what mini-eraser they want to use. This child chose the earth-shaped ones. Adding that extra bit of choice in there really adds to the engagement factor!
The mat above and below are from a different set of mapping mats, but you can see how for the photo above, they chose ice cream cones. In the mat below, they chose dogs!
Anytime I see mini-erasers in the Target Dollar Spot, Dollar Tree, or anywhere else, I’m totally guilty of snatching them up! I just think they are so cute and engaging!
I feel like I was one of the last people to know about these adorable letters. (This is an affiliate link which means you get them at the same price but it helps keep this blog going!)
They are perfect for word building. Make sure to grab this lowercase letter set. I love that they have lines to indicate what side they should be turned to and that there are so many making endless word possibilities!
Don’t you love the cute bag they come in? Look how many words I could build on this practice sheet! So much fun!
Of course, the mat above can be used as homework, for early finishers, or as a worksheet. You can pair it with any small counters, mini-erasers, or these adorable Banana Letters!
There are so many ways to pair these mats with counters or other objects you already have laying around.
In this photo, you can see how the child uses colorful counting chips to segment the word. This is the perfect way for kids to practice truly hearing each sound that makes up the word before blending them.
This is another way to use the counters. You can see how you could incorporate a variety of math manipulatives here! The counting bears would be adorable! How about pom poms? Those could work too!
You probably saw this one coming! I LOVE using play dough to help students map words. They love it even more than me. In fact, my girls choose this every single time. We roll up 3 balls. As they segment the word into 3 sounds, they press them down. I tell them to try and keep the play dough in the square and to leave a visible fingerprint in the ball when it is pressed down.
I can guarantee if you start asking your kids what they choose to use, MOST of them will pick play dough! There is just something so fun about it!
After we’ve EXTENSIVELY practiced using word mapping mats together, I send them off for extra practice. This could be at home practice, during literacy centers, or something I set out for early finishers.
Ready to Try?
Have I convinced you to try using new manipulatives yet? If you are ready to try these centers with your students, head here to grab the bundle. It is truly the best way to get a huge variety of Science of Reading activities for your students to practice those essential segmenting and blending skills. If you just want to try the Flip It Mats, you can find those here!
Happy Teaching & Parenting this week friends!
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