Posts Tagged ‘learning activities’

Let’s Talk About Learning to Read – Beginning with Very Young Children

Posted on March 28th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

image of an alphabet game board

The process of learning to read begins long before children begin kindergarten. Learning to read begins when children are babies. Very young children love to learn new words and they especially like to use their voices to play with sounds. When spending time with very young children, chatting, sharing rhymes and reading aloud all contribute to reading readiness. If we take time to examine what we would like youngsters to know before they start kindergarten, we wil be guided in our choices about stories to share and the importance of engaging young children in conversation and wordplay.
  • Before starting kindergarten, we would like children to know some nursery rhymes.  Why not use our printable nursery rhymes or visit your public library and borrow a nursery rhyme book or two?  Here are our free downloads:
     

    image of PDF icon  Hey Diddle Diddle

    Traditional English nursery rhyme that includes repetition, rhyming and imagery.

    image of PDF icon  Humpty Dumpty

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Usually includes an anthropomorphic (possessing human traits, emotions) egg.

    image of PDF icon  Jack and Jill

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Includes alliteration and rhyming.

    image of PDF icon  Little Boy Blue

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme featuring alliteration and rhyming.

    image of PDF icon  Old Mother Hubbard

    Traditional English-language nursery rhyme.

    image of PDF icon  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

    Classic Nursery Rhyme written by Jane Taylor


  • We would also like youngsters to know how to re-tell a favourite story.  I suggest ‘reading’ wordless picture books with your child and then ask her to re-tell the story. Dinnertable conversation can also be an opportunity to share stories. As well, rides in the car are a great opportunity for storytellling.
  • Also, before beginning school, we would like to children to understand that when we read a story, it is very much like being able to see the same words we speak
  • We would also like children to know some or even most of the letters of the alphabet. You will find lots of free, printable alphabets on this site for children who are learning to read.

    image of PDF icon  A Caveman Alphabet

    Free printable alphabet features a fun caveman for each letter.

    image of PDF icon  A Colourful Alphabet

    Free printable alphabet uses bright colours for each letter.

    image of PDF icon  A Fruit and Vegetables Alphabet

    Free printable alphabet features a fruit or vegetable for each letter.

    image of PDF icon  A Brush Stroke Alphabet

    A printable brush stroke alphabet - great for children who are learning letters. This alphabet can be used in a variety of ways: create an alphabet ‘strip’ or cut the letters apart, mix and then put in ABC order. Or, print two sets, cut apart and create an alphabet memory/matching game.

    image of PDF icon  A Marching Alphabet


  • Use the alphabets to create matching and memory games, or an alphabet strip or spell your child’s name with them.

  • Ideally, children beginning kindergarten should understand that letters each have at least one sound associated with them. Help your child to learn this by explaining the sounds made by “P,” “F,” “M” and “S” because these sounds are very distintive.
  •  We’d also like children who are learning to read to understand that books written in English are read from front to back and pages written in English are read from left to right. When enjoying a read aloud, talk with youngsters about the cover and the spine of a book. Notice whether a book is paperback or hardcover and point out a book jacket if there is one. Ask your child to open the book and find the title page. Remember to look for information about the author and/or the illustrator. Once you start to read aloud, casually point out the words you are reading and move your finger from left to right as you read a story.
    Usually when I read a book that uses LARGE, BOLD letters for some especially great words, I make a point of repeating the best passages and I encourage my audience to “read” the words with me when I read them a second (or third) time!

Note: For printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song and activities to help your child learn the alphabet. be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page.

Our early literacy printables, including our nursery rhyme and alphabet printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our nursery rhymes and alphabet printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Learning Letters with Bunnies

Posted on March 20th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Here is a fun, easy-to-make activity for learning letters. Check out your neighbourhood dollar store for seasonal banners. The two I found are each nearly three feet long. They each have a series of Easter bunnies on them. The first one I prepared, was for children who are learning letters. I added alphabet stickers and laminated it.


Have a child gently grip one end of the banner, close their eyes and say, “Go, go, go, STOP.” As the child says, “Go, go, go,” slide the banner through their fingers. When they say, “STOP,” ask them to open their eyes and read the letter on the nearest bunny. For older children, make it more difficult by asking them to read the letter and say a word that starts with it.

For children who can read, print words on the bunnies. I used the “ot” family for my bunnies and carrots banner.

For all sorts of printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song and activities to help your child learn letters, be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page.

Follow this link to our Spring and Easter theme printables for preschool and kindergarten

Free Spring and Easter Theme Printables for Preschool and Kindergarten

Our early literacy printables, including our learning letters printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Hover over the photo for a description of the activity. Click on the photo to read the full post

Alphabet Learning Game for Small Groups


Storytime Standouts Free Printable Alphabets and Games for Learning Letters









If you appreciate our free early childhood literacy printables,
including these printable alphabets,
please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.comAmazon.com link or Amazon.ca.Amazon.ca link


We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Alphabet Craft Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alphabet Crafts on Pinterest.


Kindergarten Springtime Fun – Writing prompts, printables and more

Posted on March 17th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Celebrate warmer days with some kindergarten springtime fun

Here are some ideas to help you celebrate the first days of spring…

Choose a “spring” word and see how many words you can spell with the letters –
For example: daffodils fad, fads, oil, soil, foil, Dad, lid, lids, slid

Make a Venn diagram and compare Spring with Fall – what do you see in Spring but not in Fall? What do you see in both Spring and Fall?

See how many Spring compound words you can discover? Here are some to get you started – buttercup, butterfly, ladybug, raindrop, raincoat, rainbow, sunshine

Try one of these story starters –
The first sign of spring…. Planting a magic seed…. My friend’s amazing umbrella… Five new baby chicks… When I looked up at the clouds… Jumping in puddles on my way home… Yesterday we saw a rainbow…

Make a colourful poster and advertise Spring. Use words and pictures to explain what is special about spring.

Don’t forget to download some of our Spring resources:

image of PDF icon  Spring Picture Dictionary

Free printable Spring picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Springtime Fingerplay and Song

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids- Spring

Spring theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

Our early literacy printables, including our kindergarten springtime printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.


If you appreciate our free early literacy printables,
including these Spring-theme kindergarten printables,
please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca
.



Pussy Willows: The First of Our Spring Printables for Kindergarten

Posted on March 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

I am starting to look forward to warm, spring days so thought I would post some new spring printables for kindergarten today.

Why not make some pussy willow pictures? Begin by drawing or painting stems using brown paint, markers or crayons. Allow to dry. Dip a fingertip into light grey or white paint and add “fingerprints’ along the stems. Alternatively, cotton balls or pieces of puffed rice can be glued to the stems.

Enjoy our downloads: some pussy willow writing paper for kids and a traditional poem, “Pussy Willow”.

image of PDF icon  Writing paper for kids - Pussy Willow

Spring theme interlined paper for beginning writers.

image of PDF icon  Pussy Willow Poem

Our early learning printables, including our spring printables for kindergarten are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access our early literacy resources.


Some of our early learning printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find all of our early learning printables here.

If you appreciate our spring printables for kindergarten, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Eco Friendly Crafts for Middle School – Green Crafts by Megan Friday

Posted on March 1st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart


Green Crafts – written by Megan Friday
Eco friendly craft book published by Walter Foster

When developing my Growing and Learning Green workshop, one of my goals was to include some eco friendly crafts that make good use recycled materials. While waiting for inspiration to strike, I came across and purchased Craft Star: Green Crafts: Become an earth-friendly craft star, step by easy step! written by Megan Friday.

Bright and cheery, the book is generously illustrated with photographs and drawings. It includes introductory remarks, information about tools and materials, project templates and sixteen eco friendly crafts ranging from decorating a canvas tote bag (with paint or fabric) to working with reusable water bottles, gift bags and picture frames. As well, there are ideas for designing and decorating t-shirts, working with used blue jeans fabric, making a special gift for Earth Day, creating lightswitch plates with eco-friendly messages and using a decoupage technique to decorate a glass bowl.

The eco friendly crafts will be enjoyed by children aged eight and up.

Craft Star: Green Crafts at Amazon.com

Craft Star: Green Crafts at Amazon.ca

Be sure to visit our page highlighting picture books about caring for our environment, ecosystems, recycling, reducing our environmental footprint and more. Terrific resources for Earth Day and Arbor Day.





Reusing and Recycling for Preschoolers

Posted on February 9th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Don’t Throw That Away! written by Lara Bergen and illustrated by Betsy Snyder has an upbeat, positive message for very young children: what looks like garbage may be recyclable. Discarded paper, plastic, metal and glass all belong in a recycling bin, an empty jam jar can be transformed into a vase and a plastic milk jug can become a bird feeder. Additional flaps reveal homemade musical instruments, costumes and a car made from a cardboard box.

Great for preschool-age children, the relatively small format (typical of many board books) makes it best-suited to an individual or small group setting. Would be an excellent introduction to an art or craft project reusing discarded materials.

Don’t throw That Away! screensaver

Simon and Schuster’s Circle the Items That Are Recyclable activity

Don’t Throw That Away! at Amazon.com (Little Green Books)

Don’t Throw That Away! at Amazon.ca (Little Green Books)


Be sure to visit our page highlighting
picture books about caring for our environment,
ecosystems, recycling,
reducing our environmental footprint and more
.
Terrific resources for Earth Day and Arbor Day.


Rhyming Word Printables Just Added

Posted on February 8th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Our pictures of rhyming words have been very, very popular with visitors to Storytime Standouts so we are adding a second set.

Use these free PDF downloads to create a rhyming word matching activity for young children. Print the PDFs, cut the pictures apart and have your child match the rhyming words. For a trickier challenge, use the pictures to play a memory-matching game.image of printable rhyming words

Our free early learning printables, including our rhyming word printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already have Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the rhyming word printables.
Adobe Reader image

Some of our early learning printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website, please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.


image of PDF icon  Match the Rhyming Words

24 Pictures of rhyming words (king, ring, bee, tree, hat, cat, mouse, house, bed, red, clock, lock, tire, fire, bear, chair, train, chain, skate, gate, fox, box, frog, dog)

image of PDF icon  Match the Rhyming Words - Set 2

24 pictures of rhyming words (whale, sail, hook, book, wig, pig, stamp, lamp, wet, jet, five, hive, hair, stair, fish, dish, flower, tower, clip, hip, moose, goose, ghost, toast)

You’ll find hundreds of Storytime Standouts early learning printables here.

For more ways to help your child learn about rhyming and to help develop your child’s phonemic awareness, follow this link to visit our Phonemic Awareness page.

As always, we hope that if you enjoy our large selection of free early learning downloads, you will support this site by linking to Amazon through Storytime Standouts.

Rhyming Games at Amazon.com

Rhyming Games at Amazon.ca

January 27th is Family Literacy Day in Canada

Posted on January 21st, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

January 27th is Family Literacy Day in Canada and this year’s theme is “Play for Literacy.” I hope you will join in making family literacy a priority by participating in a community event or planning some special activities at home. Next Thursday evening, how about turning off the television, computers and smart phone and dusting off a board game or two. Why not challenge your children to a game of Scrabble, Life, Monopoly, Skip-Bo or Blokus?

In our household, Scrabble is the current favourite. We play as individuals or form two teams. During the holidays, we awarded double points to any “sort-of Christmas-y” word – just to change things up a little.

When the boys were younger, we played countless games of Skip-Bo. Skip-Bo is a fantastic game for developing math sense – without anyone realizing that is what’s happening. It is great for children and adults to play together and it has a “junior” version for younger kids.

Blokus is not as well known but it is another game we have played many times. It really encourages players to think and plan. An enjoyable strategy game, Blokus is also great for kids and adults to play together.

Blokus Classics Game at Amazon.com

Blokus Board Game at Amazon.ca

You will find more information about Family Literacy Day at ABC Life Literacy Canada

Please check out our many free printables that support family literacy and our Pinterest Family Literacy Board.

Please share your thoughts about Family Literacy Day and favorite board games.

Scrabble Crossword Game at Amazon.com

Scrabble Crossword Board Game at Amazon.ca

Words together with pictures – perfect for beginning writers and readers

Posted on January 14th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

We offer more than two hundred free PDF downloads on this website. Some are available to everyone, for others you need to register on the site. There is no cost for any of the downloads. Today, we are highlighting our free picture dictionary PDFs. These are perfect for beginning readers and writers. They can be used in a variety of ways including offering children an opportunity to “read” the pictures for clues about the words. These printables are also great for children who want to write stories and want to use interesting words but don’t know how to spell the words.

If you print the pages and cut them apart, they could be used as a matching activity.

I have not included seasonal themes in this list (i.e. Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Halloween and Christmas) – if you are interested in seasonal themes, be sure to check our Picture Dictionaries page for more resources.

image of PDF icon  Beach Picture Dictionary

Free printable picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Baking Cookies Picture Dictionary

Free printable baking cookies picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Color Picture Dictionary

Free printable color picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Firefighter Picture Dictionary

Free printable firefighter picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  School Picture Dictionary

Free printable school picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

image of PDF icon  Weather Picture Dictionary

Free printable weather picture dictionary for readers and writers in kindergarten and grade one.

Our early literacy printables, including our free printable Picture Dictionaries are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.


Please note: some of our early literacy printables are available to Storytime Standouts members only. To become a member of the website (without cost or obligation), please click on the “Members” tab and register as a user.

You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here and all of our early literacy printables here.

If you appreciate our free early literacy printables, please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


Great Non Electronic Toy for Teens and Adults

Posted on January 5th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Image of Brainstring, a non electronic toyWhen Christmas shopping for my thirteen year old, I wanted a non electronic toy and I stumbled upon Brain String – Advanced. This non electronic, 3D puzzle was a “hit” in our home throughout the Christmas holidays as it was picked up by various family members. New puzzles were created and solved over and over again.

The puzzle features colour-coded elastic strings stretched within a transparent, symmetrical dome. The challenge is to work, by slightly stretching the strings, from outside the dome to create a knot inside it and then to solve the puzzle you created by manipulating the strings until you untangle the knot. This is done by moving the strings from surface to surface and hole to hole. The strings have colour-coded buttons that match the string colours. The buttons and strings move from hole to hole and surface to surface as you attempt to untangle your knot. Ideally, a “solved puzzle” will have like colours on each surface of the dome and no entangled strings.

A highly recommended non electronic toy for teens and adults who enjoy a mental challenge, Brain String Original is also available.

Brain String (Advanced) at Amazon.com

Brain String Teaser (Original) at Amazon.com

Brain String (Advanced) at Amazon.ca


Learning Letters With a White Board

Posted on December 9th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Learning the Alphabet with a White Board

If you are helping a young child to learn letters, we suggest that using a white board can be a fun way to discover letter shapes





Learning Letters Using a White Board from Storytime Standouts
Here’s a white board game that encourages youngsters to think about letter shapes. Begin by drawing part of a letter using a dry erase marker. For example “l” could be part of “B”. “D”, “E”, “F”, “H:, “I”, “K”, “L”, “M”, “N”, and more. Add another “piece of the puzzle” – perhaps a horizontal line ( for “E” or “H”). Continue adding bits of the letter until the correct letter is guessed or revealed. This activity draws attention to the ways letters are alike and different and is played enthusiastically in a group setting.

Be sure to check out our printable alphabets and our alphabet recognition page– more great resources for children learning letters.

As an aside, white boards are often very appealing to young learners – and not just those who are learning letters! When mistakes are made, the “evidence” is quickly erased. I’ve found white boards very helpful for reviewing spelling and doing math. Crayola makes “kid friendly” dry erase markers in a variety of colours. I’ve had good success with them and use them in my classes.

Crayola 8 Count Dry Erase Markers Chisel Tip at Amazon.com

Crayola 8 Count Dry-Erase Markers-Assorted Colors 8 at Amazon.ca/Pkg

Board Dudes Double Sided Dry Erase Lapboard, 9 x 12 Inches at Amazon.com

Board Dudes Double Sided Dry Erase Lapboard, 9 x 12 Inches at Amazon.ca

Hover over the photo for a description of the activity. Click on the photo to read the full post

Alphabet Learning Game for Small Groups


Storytime Standouts Free Printable Alphabets and Games for Learning Letters












We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Alphabet Craft Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alphabet Crafts on Pinterest.

Games for Learning the Alphabet

Posted on December 8th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

It isn’t long before children grow tired of using flash cards as a way to support learning. In my experience, creating games that use dice, markers and spinners is much more fun for everyone. Games also add an element of “chance” – Mom, Dad, younger brother and older sister all have an opportunity to win or lose.

Today’s Consonant Game download is a very simple boardgame that can be used a number of ways. Roll a die, move the right number of spaces and say the letter name. For an older child, roll a die, move the right number of spaces and say the letter sound or say (or spell) a word that begins (or ends) with the letter. The Consonant Game Board is a fun activity that can be used by several children at different ages and different reading levels.

Enjoy!

image of PDF icon  Consonant Game Board

Use a die and markers, move along the "star" path from one star to another. When you land on a star, say the letter name or say the letter sound or say a word that starts with the letter.

Note: For activities to help your child learn the alphabet. be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page and for printable alphabets and the Alphabet Song, check out our free Alphabet Printables page.

Clothespin Letter Match – Improve Fine Motor Skills and Match Letters

Posted on December 7th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart


Clothespin Letter Match


Use wooden or plastic clothespins and a permanent ink pen to create an inexpensive alphabet matching and/or ABC “order” activity, Clothespin Letter Match.

To make your own Clothespin Letter Match, begin by printing one letter on each clothespin. I hold the clothespin in my hand and point the open jaws away from me when I do this. When the activity is complete, have your child “pin” the clothespin to the matching letter or picture.

I’ve made several of these over the years. I particularly like the plastic clothespins because they often come in a variety of colours. One of the activities I made uses four strips of coloured cardstock (four different colours), clothespins in the same four colours and an alphabet border (cut into four pieces). I glue the alphabet border to the cardstock , laminate the cardstock and then print the matching letters onto the clothespins. Using four different colours makes it a manageable activity for young children. Some children will “match” the letters while others will use their knowledge of the alphabet to put the clothespins in ABC order. Either way, it is an alphabet recognition activity with the added bonus of using fine motor skills to manipulate the clothespins successfully.

This is very similar to the alphabet border I used for the clothespin letter match activity.




Alphabet Border at Amazon.ca

Plastic clothespins at Amazon.ca




Note: clothespins are not toys and can be taken apart quite easily. Please provide adult supervision.

Hover over the photo for a description of the activity. Click on the photo to read the full post

Alphabet Learning Game for Small Groups


Storytime Standouts Free Printable Alphabets and Games for Learning Letters










We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Alphabet Craft Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alphabet Crafts on Pinterest.


Learning the Alphabet and Beach Ball Fun

Posted on December 6th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

An inexpensive beach ball and a permanent marker are all you need to make this fun learning game. Inflate the beach ball and use the marker to print uppercase or lowercase letters all over the ball. Underline each letter so there is no confusion between “M” and “W” or “p” and “d.” Toss the ball and have the person who catches the ball say the letter name closest to or under one hand. If the child knows the letter names, make the game trickier by asking for the letter sound or a word that begins with the letter.

Note: For printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song and activities to help your child learn the alphabet. be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page.

Matching Uppercase and Lowercase Letters of the Alphabet

Posted on December 5th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

This week our six posts will each provide activities for helping a young child to learn the alphabet, including matching uppercase and lowercase letters.

Today we are providing two printables in PDF format. Each PDF has a grid and twenty-five letters (X is missing). One grid has uppercase letters (capital letters), the other has lowercase letters (small letters).


Print each of the PDFs onto coloured cardstock. If you wish, decorate one PDF with colourful stickers. We used Stickopotamus Tropical Fish to decorate ours.

If desired, laminate both. We always use our Scotch Laminating Dispenser to laminate learning games and provide durability.




Cut one or both of the PDFs along the gridlines to create a matching game.


Matching Upper Case and Lower Case Letters of the Alphabet

image of PDF icon  Match Upper and Lower Case Letters Part One

Use with Part Two to create a matching activity

image of PDF icon  Match Upper and Lower Case Letters Part Two

Our early childhood literacy printables, including our alphabet matching printables are in PDF format, if you don’t already use Adobe Reader, you will need to use it to access the downloads.




Hover over the photo for a description of the activity. Click on the photo to read the full post

Alphabet Learning Game for Small GroupsStorytime Standouts Free Printable Alphabets and Games for Learning Letters












We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Alphabet Craft Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alphabet Crafts on Pinterest.


I Spy a Winner – How Picture Riddle Books Benefit Young Learners

Posted on November 21st, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

How Picture Riddle Books Benefit Young Learners

Noticing subtle differences in a Spot Seven book or hidden items in I Spy picture books, will ultimately help your child to differentiate between a N and a M or a d and a b.





For many preschool-aged children, there are ample opportunities to learn to recognize the alphabet. In the environment, STOP signs, SAFEWAY signage and license plates all expose youngsters to the world of print (especially uppercase letters). Alphabet books, wooden puzzles and magnetic letters abound. As adults, it can be tempting to approach alphabet recognition as a paper and pencil or workbook-based activity but there are many more ways to help our children learn to differentiate letters.Storytime Standouts writes about how the Spot Seven books can benefit young learners Especially with children who like tactile experiences (i.e. exploring the world through touch), let’s be adventurous. Spray some shaving cream in a pan and let your child practice her printing or “build” letters with Lego or K’Nex. In addition, whether at home or away, draw your child’s attention to how letters are alike and different. Noticing subtle differences in a Spot Seven book or hidden items in I Spy picture books, will ultimately help your child to differentiate between a N and a M or a d and a b.

Spot 7 School created by Kidslabel
Picture Riddle Book published by Chronicle Books

in this series, readers are shown two pictures and are challenged to find seven differences. In Spot 7 School the pictures are of classrooms, a playground and a hallway in addition to a science lab, gymnasium, etc. Afternotes provide clues for those who can’t find all of the differences.

Spot 7 School at Amazon.com

Spot 7 School at Amazon.ca

 Storytime Standouts writes about how I Spy Spooky Night can benefit young learners

I Spy a Spooky Night riddles by Jean Marzollo and photographs by Walter Wick
Picture Riddle Book published by Scholastic

In our household, I Spy Spooky Night was always a favourite.  There is nothing mysterious about the fact that dark, eerie pictures grab the attention of youngsters.  “Okay now, who can find the hidden padlock, a chain and a broken bone?” It’s bone-chilling fun to spend time noticing small details and differences. Great for children aged four years and up.

A scarecrow, a key, a clothespin, a clock,
Two bowling pins, and KNOCK, KNOCK KNOCK!

I Spy Spooky Night at Amazon.com

I Spy Spooky Night at Amazon.ca


Make Learning the Alphabet a Fun Tactile Experience

Posted on November 17th, 2010 by Carolyn Hart

Make Learning the Alphabet a Fun Tactile Experience from StorytimeStandouts.com

Learning the Alphabet Could Include Using a Letter Bag With Your Child




An important step in learning to read is for children to name and quickly recognize letters. As part of learning the alphabet, we will draw a child’s attention to how letters are alike and how they are different. We will encourage children to notice that letters are made up of straight lines (“T”) and curvy lines (“S”) and a combination of the two (“B”). We point out that letters can be very different (“T” and “O”) or very alike (“N” and “M”).

As adults, we tend to think of learning the alphabet as a visual activity (i.e. using books, pencils and paper) but children can also learn to notice how letters are alike and different by using their sense of touch and by actively exploring the letters. When we use a letter bag, we introduce “tactile or Kinaesthetic” learning – learning the alphabet by doing and touching.




This tactile learning letter bag measures about 18" by 12"I made my own letter bag from a bright, colourful fabric print. If you don’t need yours to be durable, a paper bag will work equally well. I used four or five wooden letters that I purchased at a dollar store, you could use foam or wooden letters from a puzzle or magnetic letters from under your fridge! Try to find letters that are relatively “simple.” For this activity, a basic letter, without embellishment is best.





I stitched ribbon into the side seam so the letter learning bag can be tied closed.The letter bag and letters are intended to be used by an adult and a child (or children) together. Ideally, the adult begins by talking about the shapes and attributes of four or five letters before putting them in the bag. Point out how the letters are alike and how they are different. Name the letters. Once the child knows about the letters, put them all in the bag. Have the child reach into the bag (no peeking) and then ask her to see if she can find a particular letter. As she feels the letters, the adult can talk about the attributes of the letter that the child is trying to find.The inside of the letter learning bag - I use four or five wooden letters

For an older child, who knows letter sounds, the adult could say the letter sound and have the child find the right letter in the bag.

Please note: my experience has been that some children find this way of learning the alphabet relatively easy while others will pull all four letters out of the bag before they find the one they are looking for. As adults, we need to be patient and understand that children have different learning styles and the best thing we can do is to offer all sorts of ways for children to discover and learn.

Alphabet Fabric at Amazon.com

Alphabet Fabric at Amazon.ca

Wooden Letters at Amazon.com

Wooden Letters at Amazon.ca

Hover over the photo for a description of the activity. Click on the photo to read the full post

Alphabet Learning Game for Small GroupsStorytime Standouts Free Printable Alphabets and Games for Learning Letters










If you appreciate our free early childhood literacy printables,
including these printable alphabets,
please support this site by visiting and purchasing from Amazon.comAmazon.com link or Amazon.ca.Amazon.ca link





We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Alphabet Craft Board on Pinterest

Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alphabet Crafts on Pinterest.

Four Ways to Help Your Child Learn the Alphabet Kinesthetically

Posted on February 4th, 2008 by Carolyn Hart

Kinesthetic Learning - 4 Ways for Your Child to Learn the Alphabet

As adults, we tend to think of reading, learning to read and learning to write as a book-based or pencil-based exercise. Keep in mind that children learn in a variety of ways and providing tactile* experiences is one way to help your child to learn letters of the alphabet kinesthetically.

As part of the letter-learning experience, try the following…

  • Encourage your child to build letters. She could use Lego,K’nex,Tinkertoy,Craft Sticks, or Pipe Cleaners. Building letters will help your child to notice how letters are alike and different. It will help your child to notice that letters can be round or straight – or a combimation of round and straight.
  • Have your child make letters in sand, mud or shaving cream. Drawing the alphabet in thick, interesting textures will add an extra dimension to the learning process.
  • Use Masking Tape or Sidewalk Chalk to make giant letters in side or outside. Walk, hop or skip the alphabet. Movement is another way to reinforce learning and it’s fun!
  • Have your child sort magnetic (or other 3-D) Letters. Make three groups: letters that are made up of only straight lines (M,X,I), letters that are made up of only curvy lines (S,O,C) and letters that are made up of a mix of straight and curvy lines (B,D,J). An alphabet sorting activity like this can be done long before children know letter names or sounds.

Remember, children learn in a variety of ways. Providing tactile* experiences makes for fun play and an opportunity to boost letter recognition.

Note: For printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song and activities to help your child learn the alphabet. be sure to check out our Alphabet Recognition page.

* relating to the sense of touch

Free Printable Nursery Rhymes to Share With Young Children

Posted on March 28th, 2007 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Has Free, Printable Nursery Rhymes

Discover the benefits of sharing nursery rhymes with children and take advantage of our free printable nursery rhymes.

A substantial part of my work is with young children. I have found printable nursery rhymes very beneficial. If they have enjoyed wordplay and stories at home, children are often somewhat familiar with the rhymes, they enjoy the rhyming and repetition and they welcome the opportunity to create a “book” of nursery rhmyes and “read” text. “Reading” along while repeating a familiar rhyme, is an opportunity to practice directional tracking by sliding a finger along the familiar words (from left to right, top to bottom).

For children who are new to English, learning nursery rhymes also introduces characters that they will encounter again and again and the rhythm of English.

Nursery rhymes introduce many literary devices: repetition (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Polly, Put the Kettle On), onomatopoeia (Baa Baa Black sheep; This Little Pig; Old King Cole; Ding, Dong, Bell), alliteration (Little Boy Blue; Sing a Song O’Sixpence; Goosie, Goosie, Gander; Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater; Wee Willie Winkie) and imagery (Humpty Dumpty, Little Miss Muffet).How Nursery Rhymes Help Children Learn Language

Nursery rhymes also introduce rich vocabulary. Jack and Jill introduces fetch, pail, crown and tumbling. These are probably not words that are used in everyday conversation so, just by sharing and talking about nursery rhymes, a child’s vocabulary is expanded.

Another key benefit of enjoying nursery rhymes with young children is the boost it will give to their phonemic awareness. We want young children to notice that words are made up of sounds. Hearing rhyming (diddle/fiddle, star/far, horn/corn) and alliteration (Boy blue, Grey Geese, Simple Simon, Tommy Tucker)

Prior to creating my own printable nursery rhymes, I often visited Webbing Into Literacy and used A Rhyme a Week.

The Storytime Standouts printable nursery rhymes can used to create a nursery rhyme booklet and/or as learning activities.


You will find our selection of free printable alphabets here, rhymes, songs, fingerplays and chants here and all of our early learning printables for children here.


Step 1 – Make sure you have Adobe Reader. If you don’t have it, please click on the ‘Get Adobe Reader’ button to install it for free.image for Adobe Reader


Step 2 – Pin this page, share this page or “Like” us on Facebook.


Step 3 – Choose from any of our 250 free downloads, including these free printable nursery rhymes.


Storytime Standouts offers free, printable nursery rhymes for children including Jack and Jill

image of PDF icon  Hey Diddle Diddle

Traditional English nursery rhyme that includes repetition, rhyming and imagery.

image of PDF icon  Humpty Dumpty

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Usually includes an anthropomorphic (possessing human traits, emotions) egg.

image of PDF icon  Jack and Jill

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme. Includes alliteration and rhyming.

image of PDF icon  Little Boy Blue

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme featuring alliteration and rhyming.

image of PDF icon  Old Mother Hubbard

Traditional English-language nursery rhyme.

image of PDF icon  Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Classic Nursery Rhyme written by Jane Taylor

Sing a Song of Mother Goose illustrated by Barbara Reid
Nursery Rhyme Picture Book published by Scholastic Trade

If you are interested in nursery rhyme books, I can personally recommend Barbara Reid’s Sing a Song of Mother Goose. Ms. Reid is renowned for her marvelous plasticine artwork. Sing a Song of Mother Goose features beautiful, bold illustrations of fourteen well-known nursery rhymes. A lovely gift for a new baby, it is available as a board book, paperback and in a hardcover gift edition.

Sing a Song of Mother Goose at Amazon.com

Sing a Song of Mother Goose at Amazon.ca


Magnetic Letters Covering Your Fridge?

Posted on February 18th, 2007 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts Suggests Activities to do with Magnetic Letters

Magnetic Letters – Learning fun for preschool and kindergarten


You will also be interested in our page about alphabet recognition

If your refrigerator is dotted with magnetic letters, you’ll want to try one or more of these activities with your child…If your fridge is not covered with magnetic letters – a tray and plastic letters should work fine.

  • Ask you child to sort the letters by shape: those with curvy lines (letters S, C, etc.) , straight lines (letters H, I, K, etc.) and a mixture of curvy and straight lines (letters B, D, P, etc.)  This will  draw your child’s attention to how letters are alike (and different)
  • Play ‘I Spy With My Little Eye.’   Give your child clues: ‘I spy a letter that has just one curvy line and no straight lines.”
  • Use the magnetic letters to print a word on the fridge. Ask your child to point to the first letter in the word and name it, the middle letter in the word and so on. Once you have talked about the word, scramble the letters and have your child put them back together in the right order.
  • Ask your child to put the letters in ABC order or redro sdrawkcab CBA .
  • For a child who is reading three and four letter words, use the magnetic letters to print a word like ‘CAT.’ Substitute other consonants at the beginning of the word (B,F,H,M,P,R,S) or at the end of the word (B,N,P,R). Nonsense words are okay, too.  Ask your child to read each of the new words.
  • For a child who is reading three and four word sentences, have your child read a sentence and then scramble the letters or the words.  Have your child put it back together in the right order.
  • Challenge your older child to solve a melubj (jumble).
  • I’m sure there are many more ways to play and learn with magnetic letters.  Please share your ideas!

    Magnetic Letters at Amazon.com

    Magnetic Letters at Amazon.ca

    Hover over the photo for a description of the activity. Click on the photo to read the full post

    Alphabet Learning Game for Small Groups


    Storytime Standouts Free Printable Alphabets and Games for Learning Letters











    We invite you to follow Storytime Standouts’ Alphabet Craft Board on Pinterest

    Follow Storytime Standouts’s board Alphabet Crafts on Pinterest.

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