Sight words seashells :: sensory spellings

How do you help your children learn sight words and spellings? My girls are a whole lot more interested when their learning is through hands-on, sensory play. Here’s how we’re using some of our stash of seashells from the beach to help with learning how to read and spell.

Great ideas to help children learn sight words and spelling, through hands-on, sensory learning

Sight words spellings

I can’t resist sharing a holiday photo with you – isn’t it beautiful? Nature makes the best sensory play spaces! And lots of loose parts waiting to play with on the shore.

IMG_2022The girls loved beach combing and collecting pebbles and shells – they even found some fossils. Back home, we’re using the seashells in lots of ways. (see our ice play and shell paintings over at BabyCentre.)

spellings with shellsTo make our shells nice and clean, so we can keep them for play time and time again, we gave them a bath. I added some clothes washing powder to a tub of warm water and we soaked the shells for an hour or so…

sight words shells

and then left them in the sunshine to dry.

sight word spellingsThen I used some of them to make a set of sight word seashells – simply by writing a word on each shell using a permanent marker.

Sight words – also sometimes referred to as key words or high frequency words – are a core set of words for children to learn that give them a good foundation for reading, writing and spelling. They appear frequently in our language and many don’t follow general phonics rules, and so it’s great to be able to see, recognise and know them without needing to try and sound them out or decode them. {You can find a free printable set of sight words over at 3Dinosaurs.}

Playing games with these sight words helps children become familiar with them and learn to read them quickly and easily.

how to learn sight word spellings

The shells are of course also lovely to hold, and bring an extra sensory element to the learning. I always think that incorporating as many senses as possible when we’re learning anything helps our brain spark and make stronger connections.

sight word sensory tub

We’ll be using our shells in our sight words sensory tub. This one with lemon-scented rice has a great zingy smell, and we can hunt to shell treasures. Pick out a shell and you could…

:: read the word out loud

:: make up a sentence with the word in

:: pick out two shell words and make a funny senstence with them both in

:: write out the word in the air using your hands, with big movements

:: write out the word in a salt tray, using your finger or a paint brush



I Can Teach My Child To Read resources

Download your copy of our practical and wonderful resource I Can Teach My Child To Read. It contains a 10-step program, that will give you the knowledge and confidence to teach your child to read, along with practical tips and fun activities to use together. See more here.

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