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


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  • Magic E: Decoding/encoding with CVC & CVCE: Students will participate in two activities involving the consonant-vowel-consonant-silent e (CVCE) pattern: a decoding activity involving attaching a clothes pin with the letter e printed on it to consonant-vowel-consonant words (CVC) and sounding the new CVCE words; and an encoding activity involving dictation of CVC and CVCE words from the first activity which students are to write using auditory and tactile strategies. These activities require that students have prior knowledge of consonant and long and short vowel sounds as well as blending of these sounds in CVC pattern words.
  • Letter books: Kindergarten children are usually familiar with beginning sound "ABC" books with texts such as "A is for apple." In this activity, repeated for each consonant letter, art, writing, conventional spelling, and reading are combined to create a personal "Letter Book" for each child.
  • Vowel, consonant, vowel your way to better reading: This is a lesson for Secondary Special Education Teachers who teach exceptional children who are reading at the second grade level. Students will learn decoding patterns using vowels and consonants to divide words into syllables in order to sound out the word.

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Learning outcomes

Students will use previous knowledge of word families to generate words using different beginning sounds.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

20 minutes


  • Word Matters by Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas
  • ball of black yarn
  • set of cards with initial consonants
  • set of cards with each word family to be used


Students should have previously studied each of the word families to be assessed. This study should include : making new words, word family sorts, rhyming jugs, making and breaking words with magnetic letters.


  1. The teacher should arrange the students in a large circle with the teacher (spider) in the center.
  2. Give each student a consonant card that they can look at. After they have looked at their card, they should place it on the floor in front of them.
  3. The teacher then selects a student to be the “fly”.
  4. The teacher holds up a word family card (ex: -ake). When a student thinks that they can make a word using their consonant plus the word family, the teacher tosses the ball of yarn to that child. The “fly” then takes the word family card to the student so that they can put the 2 cards together to see if a true word has been made. A good question is “Does that look right?”
  5. If the student has made a word he continues to hold onto the web (yarn) and tosses the yarn ball back to the teacher (spider).
  6. Play continues using as many word families as time allows.
  7. In the end, a web will be formed as the children continue to hold their section of yarn.
  8. This is a great activity to use during Halloween or when studying spiders.


Teacher will be able to observe each student’s ability to generate conventional words. Teacher can also use extension activities during center time or when working with words.

Supplemental information


Like most young children, my students love to play games. This activity is great because they are learning when they think they are playing.

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

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RFS.2 Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes). 1.RFS.2.1 Distinguish long from short vowel sounds in spoken single-syllable words. 1.RFS.2.2 Orally produce single-syllable words by blending sounds (phonemes), including...
          • 1.RFS.3 Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words. 1.RFS.3.1 Know the spelling-sound correspondences for common consonant digraphs (two letters that represent one sound). 1.RFS.3.2 Decode regularly spelled one-syllable words....

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 5: The learner will apply grammar and language conventions to communicate effectively.
    • Objective 5.01: Use phonic knowledge and basic patterns (e.g., an, ee, ake) to spell correctly three-and four-letter words.