Leaves are falling everywhere! Why not take advantage of these treasures and use them as a multisensory learning tool to teach phonics!
Go on a nature walk and collect some beautiful fall leaves. Next, flatten them in a book overnight.
Optional: Preserve your leaves by ironing them in-between two sheets of waxed paper. Place
a thin rag over the top waxed paper (to keep your iron clean), and iron on medium heat for a few seconds to allow the wax to transfer to the surface of each leaf.
Prepare Your Word List:
Brainstorm words containing the soft /th/ sound and the hard /th/ sound, or use the words below:
think, this, thin, the, bath, there, math, that, Beth, then, with, than, thus, them, thunder, these
Make It Multisensory!
Use a sharpie and write these words on the leaves. Make sure to mix them up well! Next, designate two columns and label them with soft /th/ and hard /th/.
Have your child read each word aloud and determine if the digraph is soft or hard. Then have them place the leaf in the correct column.
The hard /th/ sound is voiced and the soft /th/ sound is unvoiced. Demonstrate the difference between the two sounds. Place your index and middle finger on your voice box and produce the two different sounds. Then have your child do the same thing. They will feel the vibration for the hard /th/ sound and not for the soft one. Ask your child to say the word “the” and tell you if it is voiced or unvoiced. Then have them say the word “thumb” and ask if it is voiced or unvoiced.
Of course, no leaf expedition would be complete without doing some good old-fashioned leaf rubbings! So to create some fall artwork with your child, grab some crayons and white copy paper or parchment paper and follow the steps below.
- Peel the paper off the crayons
- Put a leaf upside down on the table. Place a piece of paper over the leaf.
- While holding the paper and leaf in place, use the side of a crayon to rub across the leaf. Make sure that you color over the entire leaf. (Tip: A dark crayon will produce a more precise print of the leaf.)
- Make a collage with a variety of colors and types of leaves.
Happy Fall and Happy Learning!
Written by Julie Palermo
Julie is a reading interventionist and Brainspring tutor.
Brainspring has proudly supported the educational community for more than 25 years.