Mix Up, Fix Up

A popular activity with many emergent readers, this builds individual word awareness and recognition as well as understanding of sentence order. Using a familiar sentence or refrain froma dictated story or book, print the sentence on a large card. Then prepare the individual cards for each word. At first, start with only three or four word sentences or phrases. When the child is comfortably mastering this you can add more words, up to about six.

First, read the sentence or phrase with the child, and lay out the cards in order. Ask the child to read the sentence with you pointing to individual words. Then mix up the cards and ask the child to reorder them. The child may use the master card as a prompt, or may prefer to try it alone and then check.

Notice the child's strategies. Does he say words aloud as he arranges them, or does he do it silently in his head? Does he reread the sequence of the words as he builds the sentence, using the cadence and the context? Does he build sequentially or at random? What other cues does s/he use?

Game Illustration

Game Illustration

What you'll need: Two cards or wide strips of paper, scissors, pen/pencil/marker. Print each strip with the same sentence from a familiar book or story. Leave one strip in-tact and cut the other strip up into individual words. Be sure the write the text clearly in print (not script) letters.

From: Reading Games for Tutors, Claudia Grose.