Worksheets

Inappropriate Worksheets Are Making Me Crazy!

Now, it is no secret that my forum is one of developmentally appropriate practices, so it should come as no surprise that the worksheets I “must do” with my kiddos make me crazy. Why?

Young children learn best through real experiences, through concrete activities with manipulative materials. The abstractness and one-brained method of worksheets prohibit me from differentiating instructions for students in my class, who range from a working level of 18 months to that of a 6 year-old. Watching the thirteen “below benchmark” students in my classroom simply scribble on the sheet is frustrating at best. But the curriculum has a fix for that....another worksheet.

Worksheets are the easy way out. A concept should be taught with multi-levels of experimentation, direction, and differentiation. This takes time. Lots and lots of time. A worksheet simply takes a walk to the copy machine or a simple "rip" from a workbook.

To the other side of the coin, worksheets do not promote nor encourage higher level thinking skills, discovery, experimentation or out of the box thinking. As worksheets generally have one-way of doing, the most the high kids can do is color the worksheet to expand their learning.

Worksheets teach a program, not a child. Seriously? Do “Big Box Curriculum Companies” really think all 21 of my students are at the same place in the learning continuum? Well, if they do, I wish they could have experienced D’s tears today as they poured upon his worksheet.

Worksheets typically have only one right answer. If the concept is taught in a play-based environment, the students are able to take risks and to experiment, and learn from experiencing. 

Now, I will admit that an occasional worksheet is beneficial. There are many pages that ask student’s to manipulate, cut, organize, practice handwriting, or make comparisons. Worksheets such as these, purposeful worksheets, if you will, can be used in moderation. 

So as I go back tomorrow and pass out that next math worksheet, I will try not to look D. in the eyes, and quietly promise myself that I will teach him using appropriate methods “how to do the concept” at Learning Center time.

Handwriting in Kindergarten


Why teach handwriting in kindergarten? Research indicates that structured handwriting lessons lead to improved writing performance, increased letter identification, and academic success. MRI scans done before and after letter instruction even found that when children practiced printing by hand, their neural activity was greater than those who had simply looked at their letters.

While teaching handwriting in kindergarten is necessary and beneficial, it is also important to keep instruction developmental.  What steps can we take to meet this goal? Try the following:
  1. Encourage your students to pick up small items - legos, buttons, beans, counting chips, etc.
  2. Provide opportunities for your students to play outside - monkey bars are great for strengthening upper body as well as finger and hand muscles.
  3. Teach capital letters first, then lowercase letters. Students are more familiar with capital letters and they have an easier time forming them; furthermore, capital letters all start at the top and they are distinctly different from each other.
  4. Instead of following an A to Z order for handwriting, present easier letters (such as F) first.
  5. Provide tactile opportunities for students to form letters with playdough, wood pieces, wikki stix, pipe cleaners, etc.
  6. If possible use a developmentally appropriate handwriting program such as Handwriting Without Tears.


Handwriting instruction can be completed in a short time - just 10 to 15 minutes each day. With a developmentally appropriate approach, you can not only help your students improve in handwriting, but you can also enhance their learning and performance in language arts and math.

To compliment your handwriting program, we offer several products:












R-Controlled "Bossy-R" Worksheets

This workbook, Part 9 in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses on r-controlled vowels. Pages highlight the “bossy-r” combinations ar and or as well as the combinations that make the /er/ sound (spelled er, ir, and ur). Students have the opportunity to identify pictures with the r-controlled vowel sounds and write the letter combinations that make these sounds. Eight review pages complete this unit.




Phonics: Consonant Blends for Early Readers

Give your early reader important phonics practice by using this 10-part Phonics Prep series based on our best-selling Phonics Books 1, 2, and 3.



This workbook, Part 7 in our "Phonics Prep" series, provides phonics practice that focuses on consonant blends. Pages highlight l-blends (bl, cl, fl, gl, pl, sl), r-blends (br, cr, dr, fr, gr, pr, tr), and  s-blends (sk, sm, sn, sp, st, sw).  Following the pages that feature the individual blends, students have the opportunity to work on each of the three groups of blends by sorting pictures, matching blending sounds with their letters, writing blends to complete word spellings, and circling  words with the correct blend.

Other products in the series:




Phonics Prep Series: Word Family Worksheets

This workbook, Part 6 in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses on word families. One page is devoted to each of the following word families: -ad, -ag, -am, -an, -ap, -at, -ed,    -en, -et, -ig, -in, -ip, -it, -og, -op, -un, -ug, and -ut. Each word family page provides the opportunity for students to stamp, trace, and write word family words. Seventeen word family review pages complete this packet.




Phonics Prep: Vowel Digraphs and Diphtongs


This workbook, Part 5 in the Phonics Prep Series, provides phonics practice that focuses on vowel diphthongs and digraphs. Two pages are devoted to each of the following vowel diphthongs or digraphs: oy, ow, oo as in hood, oo as in moon, aw, ue, and ee. One page allows students to listen for the diphthong or digraph sound; the other page reinforces the written form of the sound through handwriting. Eight review pages complete this packet.






Phonics Prep: Consonant Digraphs


This 24 page workbook, Part 4 in a the Phonics Prep Series, provides phonics practice that focuses on consonant digraphs. Both beginning and ending digraph sounds are featured. Two pages are devoted to each of the following consonant digraphs: sh, ch, th, wh, ph, ck, and ng. One page allows students to listen for the digraph sound; the other page reinforces the written form of the digraph through handwriting. Eight review pages complete this digraph packet.


Other parts of this 10-part series include:





Phonics Prep: Parts 3 &4

The 10-part Phonics Prep Series is designed to meet the needs of early readers.

This 34 page workbook, Part 2 in Phonics Prep Series, provides phonics practice that focuses on final sounds.
The consonants that are featured include: b, c, d, f, g, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, x, and z.
Because of sound spellings, J and Z just have one page apiece. The remaining consonants have two pages devoted to final sounds.They include:
1) A final sound identification page
2)A missing letter page





This 36 page workbook, Part 3 in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses on vowel sounds. Both short and long vowel sounds are featured. Six pages are devoted to each vowel. They include:
  1. A short vowel identification page
  2. A short vowel choose the word page
  3. A long vowel identification page
  4. A long vowel missing letter page
  5. A match-up page featuring the short and long vowel sounds
  6. A short vowel/long vowel identification page

The 10-part Phonics Prep Series is designed to meet the needs of early readers.

Phonics Prep 10-part Series

This 108 page “Phonics Prep” workbook, the first in a series, provides phonics practice that focuses on letters and sounds. 


It has been designed for students moving into reading. Four pages are devoted to each letter. They include the following: 

A handwriting trace page
A beginning sound identification page
A missing letter page
A letter hunt page



The workbook pages are suited to being assigned on four consecutive days. Because the pages reinforce different aspects of alphabet recognition and the sound-symbol relationships within the alphabet, students can also complete more than one page during a work period if preferred. The workbook pages can be copied front and back or individually.


Look for the entire phonics prep series to be completely added to our teacher store by the end of this week, just in time to meet your back to school needs.




Developmental Handwriting

This summer I have been working with T. my grandson on strengthening the muscles in his hands and handwriting. He is not excited about it, needless to say, handwriting generally is not a child's favorite subject.

I have found, however, that students love handwriting when the instruction is developmental and active. T. loves these worksheets. I don't think he even knows that it is handwriting. Each sheet allows the student to make the alphabet letter using sticks and curves.


Check it out at our online store by clicking on the title below.



Sight Words and Sight Word Sentences

Kids love to play games! So what is better than playing learning games?

One of the goals of Phonics and Word Recognition is to help students build a bank of sight words. This packet contains seven activities that will do just that. All activities are strategically linked to the common core standards, highlighting RF.K.3c.





Contents include:

Dinosaur Friends: Reading High Frequency Words
Froggy School: Reading Sight Word Sentences
Butterfly Bonanza: Fluently Reading a Group of Sight Words
Jungle Friends: Fluently Reading Hight Frequency Words
Munch, Munch, Munch:  Reading High Frequency Words and Fry Phrase Sentences
Sight Word Bugs: Reading High Frequency Words

Sight Word Worksheets


Decoding Words: Nonsense and CVC Word Fluency

One of the goals of the Common Core Strands of Phonics and Word Recognition is to help students use sounds to read words. Working with consonant and vowel sounds, Nonsense Words, CVC words, and high frequency words helps students move into reading.






This packet includes lessons and worksheets to help your students decode real and nonsense words. Contents include: 

Gumball Bingo: Reading Nonsense Words
Butterfly Decoding: Decoding Words: CVC, Blends, Digraphs
Fish Pond: Decoding CVC and CVCe Words
Dino Discovery: Fluently Reading a set of Nonsense Words

Decoding Worksheets: Independent Practice.

Digraphs and Diphthongs

One of the goals of Phonics and Word Recognition is to help students use sounds to read and write words. Working with consonant and vowel sounds, beginning phonics rules, CVC words, and high frequency words helps students move into reading.




Our Digraph and Diphthong packet includes worksheets and four games to help your students understand and use digraphs and diphthongs. The games vary in style and format and can be easily adapted to support struggling students or to challenge high-achieving students.




March Math Worksheets

These great "March Themed" worksheets will enhance math concepts that are being taught to kindergartners in the Springtime of the school years. Yes! They are clearly labeled with Common Core Standards.



Contents are:
Pot of Gold: Less Than, Greater Than
Tricky Leprechaun +1
Tricky Leprechaun +2
Tricky Leprechaun +3
Catching Bugs: Decomposing Numbers
Cloud Shapes: Geometry
Raindrops: Decomposing Numbers using Algebraic Thought
Lamb and Lion: Decomposing Numbers and Probability
Racing Kites: Comparing Numbers and Writing The Difference