Building the word is a hands-on, practical way to support early reading and spelling with children. You can create nonsense words and real words and it’s fun. This can be used from when they start blending and would work to build on their phonics knowledge week by week. So keep your first 4 letters from Week 1 and add in your letters from Week 2 and make more words. Check out the ideas for more ways to learn with this simple activity at the end as we Build 2 and 3 letter words with Building Blocks.
Materials Needed to Build the Word
How to Use Your Word Building Blocks
- Find a long brick that is the correct length for your word. For example, for ‘cat’, you need a ‘3-piece’ block.
- Write your word on the block, space out the letters.
- Take single blocks (each of a different colour). Use 1 block for each letter in the word. E.g. c-a-t.
- Write your letters (graphemes) – one letter on each block.
- Your child then recreates the word using the single blocks and attaching them to the larger block in the correct order.
What words can I create?
For ideas on the words you can create with the letters we’ve learned so far, please look at our word lists.
Extending your Building the Word Activity
Wider choice of letters
So your child has a choice of 3 letters to make a 3 letter word and can quickly put them in order? Add some challenge. Can they make the 3 letter word when choosing from 5 letters, 6 letters, 10 letters? Simply make up extra single blocks to add the choice.
Don’t give your child all the letters!
Let me give you can example. You write ‘cat’ on your ‘3-piece’ block and write letters on 2 single blocks and leave the third block empty. Can they build the word and tell you the missing letter?
EXTENSION: Can they write the missing letter?
Try writing your big block in capital letters and your single blocks in lowercase (not capitals) letters. Your child will have to process the letters more to match these to build the word up.
Adjacent consonants, digraphs and trigraphs
As they learn more sounds, you can extend this activity further to read and spell longer words.