This year in kindergarten our class will study many “Snap Words.” Today we started this process studying our first word, “me.”
Snap words are high-frequency words (words that we see frequently in reading and use in writing) that we want students to gain automaticity with and to read or write quickly or… “in a snap!” These are different from the spelling word lists we grew up with. Students need practice listening for the sounds in the words, connecting the sound to letters, reading and writing them, not just memorizing their spelling.
When we learn a new snap word, we follow this routine:
- Say the word
- The whole class says the word and then stays it again slowly.
- Listen for the sounds.
- Across our arms we stretch out the word and say it even slower.
- We count the number of sounds we hear in the word.
- Map the sounds onto letters using Orhtographic Mapping.
- Using Elkonin Boxes, we move a chip into a square to model each sound we hear. Then I show the students which letter (or letters) make that sound.
- Here is an example of Elkonin boxes. It has a space for each sound.
- When there are multiple letters that make one sound or a letter that makes a sound it typically doesn’t, we really study that part.
- Check out this quick video from a teacher online who is teaching the word “the” by orthographically mapping out the word.
- Read the word.
- I show the students the word on the card, we make sure our eyes are on the word and we read it a few times as a group.
- Cover the word, write it and check it.
- The students pretend to take a picture of the word. Then I cover it up and they write it on their white boards “in a snap.” As we write the word, we practice saying the word so we can connect the sound we are saying to the letters we are writing. We practice writing the word a few times after to make sure we’ve got it.
- Use the word in sentences.
- With a buddy, students say sentences to each other using that word.
As we study more words, I will share them in my weekly Room 12 News Updates. This week will will have only studied the words, me, I, the, a. I encourage families to point these words out when they see them in books at home. Discuss the sounds in the word with your child and ask them if they know which letters represent those sounds.
Please do NOT drill your child on the list of words each night. It is not developmentally appropriate or an effective way to learn for our young students to participate in “skill and drill” type of practice. The best way to learn snap words is by mapping out the sounds and using it in context, not by memorizing a list. So when you see these words in books, make sure to point them out. Use the words for fun games like hangman or rhyming. Try drawing Elkonin boxes and using paints or play dough to map out the sounds like the photo above.