In this lesson we are going to review the sounds from day 1, and then we’ll move on to some new sounds (assuming that everything goes well with the review part of the day). While day 1 should have been relatively short, this day will be a little longer.

Today we will learn:

the sounds /m/ /s/ /a/ /t/  and the words mat, sat, at, am, sam

Materials you will need:

the letters m,s,a,t (same from day 1)

You can practice making words here

The lesson:

This day will be broken into four parts.

Part 1: Reviewing the sounds /m/ /s/ /a/ /t/

Here’s the sequence that I recommend your student should be able to do without any help before they move on to the next set of sounds.

Once again just take out the sounds for m,s,a,t.

-Show your child each one individually, and ask what’s this? Do this for all 4 letters.

-Then place all four letters on the table (or the floor, wherever you’re working).

-Ask your child, “find /m/” or “show me /s/”.  Have them point to or show you the correct sound. Do this for all 4 sounds.

-Finally show them each letter individually, and ask them what the sound is.

If they make a mistake that’s ok, (that’s why you’re asking them three times). However if you have to tell them the answer, then they need to practice until they can do it themselves. If they get a sound wrong say  something like “uh oh, try again”, or “are you sure?” Give them another chance to give you the right answer without telling them what the answer is. If they still can’t get it right, then you can just tell them. That just means after you spend some time repeating the exercises from day one, you’ll need to go through the four task from today again, until they can do them without help. If this takes more than 30 or 40 minutes, just stop for the day. Maybe come back to it later, but they usually start to peter out around this time. Today is not the day to push them, it’s all very new. The four steps from above are a good way for you to check their letter sound knowledge in the future, so you may want to come back to it as your child learns new sounds in later lessons. 

Part two:

Now that you’re sure your student knows their first four sounds, it’s time to make some words. First we’re going to have your child build (or spell) the words themselves. Then they will start to recognize (read) words that are already put together. Please note that this is your child’s first experience in spelling and reading, so go easy on them. They probably won’t be perfect by the end of the day. They are just practicing, and they’ll keep practicing for the rest of the 15 days, and beyond. The other thing that you should note, is that we have spent a lot of time making sure your child is clear on the sounds that the letters make. That’s because that’s the real purpose of these 15 days. Making and reading words is actually just a way to reinforce that, and yea it also helps with the reading process. I say this so you spend your time making sure they know the letter sounds, and don’t get so hung up on their ability to put it all together perfectly right away. They just need to get the concept.

So let’s get going. We are going to build (spell) five words. Let’s start with the two letter words. We’re doing this because they are shorter. We’re also doing this because they are our first word endings (we’re sneaking in word endings already).

Put all four letters out on the table or floor, in any order.

I’m going to start with at. Here’s how you do this. Say the word at….slowly. Ask “what sounds do you hear in the word at….. /a/  /t/ “(say one sound at a time). Keep repeating this. “What sounds do you hear?… (slowly) /a/ /t/”. Keep saying it until they select the a and the t. It doesn’t matter which order they choose them in, as long as they choose them. If they select them in the wrong order, then you put it in the right order. “/a/ /t/ …at…good job”. If they choose a wrong letter, say something like, “almost, listen again”, and then repeat the word and sounds. If they still can’t get the right sounds, then you build the word for them. “At….listen /a/ (move the a) /t/ (move the t). This is the method that you will use whenever you are working with your child in building words during these 15 days. I won’t go through it in as much detail moving forward, so you may want to reference back to this. 

Here’s the next word: am. You’re going to use the same method that you used before.

We’ve done at and am. Now we’re going to move on to the 3 letter words. Two of these words end with “at”. As a side note, it’s up to you if you want to do all the “at” words together (at, mat, sat). I like to do at followed by am. I do this partially because if they don’t get at right the first time, then using it in the longer words is their second chance. It’s your call. 

Soooooo, that said, let’s build at again. Do it in the same way as before, nothing changes. “What sounds do you hear in the word at….. /a/  /t/” (say one sound at a time). Keep repeating this. “What sounds do you hear?… (slowly) /a/ /t/”.

At this point they should have a pretty good handle on selecting the right sounds. Again it doesn’t matter which order they choose the sounds in, as long as they choose the right ones. If they truly do know the four sounds, then they should be doing pretty well. They may need some prompting, and that’s ok. If they are really struggling then that’s a sign that they don’t really know the letter sounds. That means you need to go back to day 1. If that’s the case don’t get frustrated, just let them take their time.

If it is going well, here are our next two words , mat and sat. You can do them in whichever order you want. You’ll notice that before I did mat and sat I did at again. That’s because mat and sat end in at. 

Our next word ends in am. Therefore let’s reinforce that concept by asking your student to build am again. As I mentioned earlier this is a sneaky way to introduce the concept of word endings. Again if they put the letters in the wrong order, that’s fine. You tell them they did it right (cause they did), and you put them in the right order say the sounds and then the word. For example, “great job /m/ /a/ /t/…mat. “

On to am.

Now we can move on to our final word, sam.

That’s it! Your child has now learned four letter sounds, (two word endings), and built five words. That’s awesome, and you should tell them that. If they’re tired, then call it a day. If they have a little more energy in them then we can do a bonus challenge round. We’re going to introduce those same words to them and see if they can sound them out. If they can’t sound them out by themselves, then we’re going to help them. Remember this isn’t about perfection, it’s about reinforcing the letter sounds, and introducing concepts.

Let’s start easy…..the two letter words, at and am.

Put the two letters together, take everything else away, and ask them “what sound does this letter make?” (point to the a). They should reply /a/. Then move on to the t. “What sound does this letter make?” (point to the t). They should respond /t/. Then have them repeat with you. “/a/  /t/”, do this three times. Then say “this word is at. Ask them. “what’s this word?” They should say at.

Do the same with sat and mat. However you are going to do one small change. When you’re sounding the words out with your child, you’re going to say at, as one sound. Don’t make a big deal out of it. “What sound does this letter make?” (point to the s). They should respond /s/.  “What sound does this letter make?” (point to the a). They should respond /a/. “What sound does this letter make?” (point to the t). They should respond /t/. Then have them repeat with you. “/s/ /at/..sat”, do this three times. Then say “this word is sat”. Ask them. “what’s this word?” They should say  sat.  You’re modeling and they are repeating. You still want them to learn the individual sounds, but it doesn’t hurt to show them that sounds go together ….they just blended (sneaky).

Do the same thing with mat.

Now move on to am. You’ll do the same thing that you did with at.

am is also a word ending, so when we read the word sam, we’re going to do the same thing /s/ /am/ ..sam

That’s it we are done! Your kid is a genius, even if they struggled, don’t forget to tell them how awesome the are. You have three choices now. One, you can repeat this day if you think they need it (don’t be afraid to do this, these skills are the foundation of reading, the better they know this the better and faster they will learn how to read). Your second choice is to just move on to day 3. Your final choice is to show them the letters as full words again, and ask them to tell you the sounds, and read the words. It’s very important that at this stage they tell you the sounds and read the words.  You don’t want them to memorize the words, you want them to read the words. Only do the third option if they rocked this lesson. If they struggled it might seem stressful to them.

Again, you can practice these on this site here.

Day 3



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