Students just “light up” when they get to use this word builders station on the light table. The contrast of light and shadow and the soft glow through the translucent materials are captivating for children of any age. Naturally, adding some letters and hands-on work makes this center a “bright” choice!
- Transparent letter tiles
- Light table – we use this one, but there are many different kinds!
- Transparency Paper – be sure to use the kind meant for your printer.
An added bonus… those transparency papers have so much static! The students explore static electricity by “hanging” all of their word cards right there on the wall. Discovering new science concepts is so cool!
First, prepare the center by printing out the words with a picture on transparency paper. These can be any words the class is working on, from names to simple objects, to rhyming words – the possibilities are endless. Here are some to get you started!
Next, set out the letters and introduce the word builders literacy center to the students. While watching the students play, encourage them to make the sounds of the letters or name the letters as they find them and line them up to the transparency paper.
A Center for Everyone
The true beauty of this center is how adaptable it is for many situations. A younger group can focus on three and four-letter words, while older students can tackle multi-syllable words. This is a self-checking center as well – the letters match up on the build-a-word transparency and students can see clearly where each letter belongs.
Extending the Lesson
To extend the learning, mix it up a little. Add letters in both upper- and lowercase and have students find the pairs. Working on rhyming? Make transparencies with the first letter missing and encourage students to find different words to match the ending.
No light table? No worries!
If a light table isn’t in the budget, it is simple to transfer these activities to a tabletop center. If magnet letters are available, try using it on a magnet board, cookie sheet or on an oil drip tray.
Here’s another fun hands-on literacy center:
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