It’s Winter Break….Now What?

Two weeks off is a wonderful time to recharge, rest, and reconnect. Two weeks away from school is also a long time away from class routines and skill building. So, what fun things can you do at home to help your child keep the skills they have learned this trimester fresh? Read on!

  1. READ! Read to or have your child read daily! They have worked so hard to learn their letter sounds and the concept of blending….keep the practice going. For ideas on decodable books for your child to read, take a look at this blog post from last month:

    Learning to Read: The Magic of Phonics and Decodable Text!


  2. Practice writing numbers up to 50! Will you go to the beach or the snow? Have your child grab a stick and practice writing numbers up to 50 in the sand or snow! Remind them that with the tricky teens, the number one is always in the tens place, even though it sounds like the number in the ones place goes first…. fourteen is written 14 and not 41. Another great way to practice writing numbers is with shaving cream on a tray or table or using steam on a bathroom mirror or glass shower door.


3. Practice writing words and spelling using your child to write using their best guess spelling! Encourage them to write thank you notes for gifts received. Have them write the grocery list! They might even write a daily journal entry detailing what they have done each day during break. Students have learned the proper sequence of strokes for printing each alphabet letter. Ensure they start printing each letter from the top down and use the expected pencil grip. Here are some resources to help young writers:

4. Strengthen Fine Motor skills. There are many fun ways to strengthen your child’s fine motor skills. Try having them eat goldfish crackers with chopsticks or tongs. Create a playdough cookie or cupcake bakery. Play games that require them to use their hands. Here are some tools that we use in class:

5. CHALK! Children love chalk! Give them a smooth surface outdoors and a bucket of chalk; their imagination can go wild! Make mosaics by taping masking tape to the ground in a pattern and then fill in the spaces with different colors of chalk. Remove the tape once finished, and you’ll have a beautiful design. Have your child draw a track for their Hot Wheels cars. Write math equations to solve on the driveway!

6. Play some board games. Playing board games helps children learn how to win or lose. Some of my favorites include:

7. Play card games! Card games are a great way to practice math skills like counting, matching, ordering numbers, etc. We love playing:


So, enjoy the two weeks, and see you in 2024!


Learning to Read: The Magic of Phonics and Decodable Text!

Kindergarten is an amazing year in a child’s education. It is the year when young children develop important social and academic skills. I continue to be grateful that I am given the freedom to teach the curriculum in the ways that best suit my students’ needs. These needs change each year, so naturally, my program changes to address my current students.

What doesn’t change each year is the excitement both parents and children have about learning to read or strengthening decoding skills. For over 20 years I have been collecting decodable books that span early reading levels to more challenging ones. Once students begin blending sounds, they immediately bring home a nightly reading activity that is at their reading level. I continuously look for books that are truly decodable, meaning these books have words that are phonetically regular. 98% of words in the English language are phonetically regular, and presenting students with books that are phonetically regular gives them the opportunity to practice the skills of blending sounds, building fluency, and strengthening reading comprehension. (Phonetically irregular words include was, the, said, they.)

I have divided my decodable books into four different levels: pink, red, yellow, and green.

Books in Level Pink have few words on a page. Most words are decodable CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words. If there is a word that is not decodable, the word is typically repeated throughout the book and there are very few phonetically irregular words included in books of this level.

Level Red books begin to have more words on a page. They continue to be mainly decodable CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words with a few phonetically irregular words.

Level Yellow books introduce beginning and ending digraphs and blends as well as double consonants and words that are plural. Books may have two or more sentences on a page with a few more phonetically irregular words.

Level Green books have words with long vowels, including CVCe (like bake or tale) and CVVC (like main or feet).

I have found that once a student is comfortable reading Level Green books they are typically ready to transition to leveled readers.

So if you are looking for books to have in your home library that your child can really read, here are some links to some of my favorites!