K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

The students will practice spelling certain words and/or creating new words with a hands-on activity.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

45 Minutes


  • Newspapers or magazines
  • Word lists: either the week’s spelling list or a list of words created by students featuring the focus of the lesson, such as a certain ending (at), or beginning (ch), or a 3-letter word (cat)
  • Scissors
  • Glue bottles, glue sticks, or tape
  • Blank construction sheets
  • Crayons


Decide on the list of words to be used for the day, and write it on the board. The list can be the week’s spelling list, a list of rhyming words, words that begin with a certain letter, words that have a certain number of letters, or some other common feature.


  1. Begin the lesson by listing the selected word list for the day on the board. Students can participate in generating the list by suggesting words that feature the day’s requirement (being on the week’s spelling list, or rhyming with “cat,” having exactly five letters, having only the vowel “o,” or something else). The list should be of between 5 and 10 words, depending on the time of year and the students’ abilities.
  2. Next, each student should receive part of a newspaper (or magazine), scissors, a glue stick, and a piece of construction paper.
  3. The students will have to find the individual letters to make each of the words, cut them out, and glue them on the paper to form the words. They should be instructed to cut out only letters from the larger print that appears in titles of articles or ads. The regular print is a bit too small for this particular activity. They should understand that they need to find the letters to make each of the words, and that in the newspapers the letters will be part of other words (unless the exact word on the board happens to be printed in the paper).
  4. Students who find all the letters and form all the words on the list can then add a word (that shows the feature of the day), their name, or a decoration with crayons.


The teacher observes the students while they search, find, cut, and glue the letters into words, and then observes how successful they are.

Supplemental information


Students enjoy searching through newspapers and magazines, especially when focusing on the large print. Newspapers and magazines are easy to find, and this is a great activity to do with the newspapers and magazines before they get tossed into the recycle bin.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Foundational Skills

        • K.RFS.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). K.RFS.2.1 Recognize and produce rhyming words. K.RFS.2.2 Count, pronounce, blend, and segment syllables in spoken words. K.RFS.2.3 Blend and segment onsets and rimes of single-syllable...
        • K.RFS.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. K.RFS.3.1 Demonstrate basic knowledge of letter-sound correspondences by producing the primary or most frequent sound for each consonant. K.RFS.3.2 Associate the long and...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)


  • Goal 1: The learner will develop and apply enabling strategies to read and write.
    • Objective 1.03: Demonstrate decoding and word recognition strategies and skills:
      • recognize and name upper and lower case letters of the alphabet.
      • recognize some words by sight including a few common words, own name, and environmental print such as signs, labels, and trademarks.
      • recognize most beginning consonant letter-sound associations in one-syllable words.