18 Writers use letters to make words.


Writers use letters to make words.

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Children learn that letters are related to sounds. As they put the letters and sounds together, they can make and read simple words. Related concepts include using capital letters for names.

About the Picture The children are collecting letters to form simple words on the big pencil submarine. This page invites your students to choose from the letters to make their own words.

Major Concepts

  • Early writers can put letters together to form simple words.
  • Writers feel successful when they make familiar words.

LAFS Covered in This Chapter

TEKS Covered in This Chapter

TEKS Covered in This Chapter

Daily Lesson Planning

Special Note: Throughout the year, as you write words on the board or on charts, talk about the letters (how they look and sound) and how words are made up of letters. Point out capital letters at the beginnings of names.

Introduction to Concepts of Print

  1. Explore the letters, their sounds, and how they are put together to form words in "Writers use letters to make words." Model writing several words using the letters in the illustration. You might start with “b” and practice the “b” sound. Then, as you add another letter, perhaps an “a”, practice that sound. Suggest a final letter—“t”—and practice that sound. Then change the initial letter to “c” or “h.” Also demonstrate changing the middle or final letter. Invite the children to suggest letters that could form words. Have them make the sounds and decide whether their creation is a real word.
  2. Implement “Writers use letters to make words” (BB 40).

Activities with Making Words

  • Implement letter-word activities (BB 41-47) during the week.
  • Encourage children to write little words (“I” and “a”). Write other short words and have the children say them. Ask volunteers for words that begin with a certain sound or contain a certain letter.
  • Implement "Fruit and Vegetable Words."
  • Use the board or chart paper to make rhyming words, names (special words that begin with capital letters), or other words based on a theme or current topic.
  • Create a box of word cards that children can draw from to practice copying words. Invite them to copy words they find on word walls or in other places around the classroom.
  • Introduce categories such as “animals,” “pets,” “plants,” “places,” “jobs,” and so on. Ask children to offer words that match the chosen category. Then print one word in large letters on a sheet of construction paper for each student. Have them illustrate their words. Put the pages together in a class book for your reading center.
  • Invite the children to come up with their own key words for the alphabet chart. Have them make a new alphabet bubble for a letter and word of their choice. They may draw a picture, too. If you assign the entire alphabet, make a class book.
  • Encourage children to write new words in their personal word dictionaries or in their Buddy Books (BB 80-105).
LAFS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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Additional Activities

These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.

  • Add words to an A-B-C sentence frame.

Write a simple sentence, like this one, on the board: "The______ sneezed, and the _______ ran away." As a class, invite children to fill in the blanks with words that begin with “A,” “B,” “C,” and so on. Encourage children to illustrate some of the silly sentences. Use "ABC’s" for this activity.

  • Use letters to make words.

Using correct letters and sounds to write “real” words can be a scary transition for some children. This is when the child who has enjoyed the more spontaneous form of writing could lose interest. It is important to schedule two kinds of writing time, one to practice the mechanics of writing and the other to incorporate individuality. As children learn conventional spelling of words, they will add them to their writing.

  • Talk about words as writers’ tools.

Talk with children about the importance of words. Explain that along with ideas, words are the most important tools that writers use. Without words, there would be no stories, no notes and cards, no signs or books. Without words, people would have a difficult time communicating. Ask children to look around the room and find places or things that have words.

  • Become word builders.

As children understand how to combine letters to make simple C-V-C words (sit, sat), give them building materials—individual letter cards, alphabet blocks, magnetic letters, and so on. Make a bulletin board containing the outline of a building, and have the children fill it with words they have “built.”

  • Experiment with words.

Writers move words around to see how they best fit together to convey a specific idea. Children can move letters around to create new words. Try this group activity with large alphabet cards (each containing one letter). Each child is given a card. Help the children to stand in groups, holding up their letters to create words. Show them how to move around to create new words: “cat” becomes “bat,” “bat” becomes “hat,” and so on. Once children understand the game, let them find their own letter buddies and form new words.

  • Build words that rhyme.

Have a rhyming day. Read rhymes, sing rhymes, and talk in rhyme. Give children written models to illustrate how rhyming words are alike and how they are different. Allow children to build rhyming words from a set of letters that you provide. Encourage children to write rhymes in their journals and on notes and cards.

  • Use letters and sounds to make “word stew.”

Play this game when children are confident about the sounds letters make. Children say a word and then say its beginning letter and sound. If they correctly identify the letter and sound, the word is written on the board as an ingredient for the stew. All ingredients are welcome.

LAFS Standard:
NE ELA Standard:

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English Language Arts: