Phonics Friday Part 3 – How to quickly make a copy worksheet on the iPad

Here is a quick easy way to create a copy worksheet with the iPad. For Part 3 of my Friday Phonics series, I thought I would show you how to make a simple copywork worksheet for homeschooling using the iPad.  As always with my Phonics Friday series, I will provide a free copy of the resource shown below.

If you need to quickly create a custom copywork worksheet, the easiest way I have found is on the iPad with Microsoft Excel. I decided to use one of my favorite old early reader books, Reading without tears, to show how you can quickly make a copywork worksheet.

Start with a blank worksheet.  Select several cells and merge the cells.

Next, you want to create some guide lines using the top and bottom borders.

The top cell has a border on top. The next cell has a dashed line top border. The last row has a top solid border line.

Tip: To create the dashed line with Excel on the iPad, first you need to select the line style before you apply the border. 

Once you select your line style then you can add the border where you want the line to be.

Once you have the lines how you want then you need to adjust the row height.

To find out what row height that works best, I usually print a few different row heights to see which one works best. For kids that have been writing for a while, I use a row height of 15. Excel on the iPad seems to be the easiest to set line-height. The Apple numbers app also works but I find Microsoft Excel is easier to set the row height and enter text into the cells.

Now you can add the text that you want your child to copy and adjust the font.

If you want multiple lines just select all the cells and you can copy them to another location.

I like to add a few pictures as well which is easy to do on the iPad. Just take a screenshot of what you want by pressing the power and home button at the same time.

You can crop the image with just what you want.

Tip: before you insert a picture increase the row height. If the picture is too close to a cell, then you cannot select the cell to enter in text.

The last step is to print out the sheet you want.  You can also save it as a pdf. Click here to download the free pdf copy work worksheet from Reading Without Tears.

Here is the finished Excel copywork worksheet that my son completed.

What do you use for copywork and phonics practice?

For other posts in the Phonics Friday series click the links below.

For source material to create your own copy work see my Mega list of free reading resources.

Phonics Friday Part 2 – Configurable word wall

It’s another Friday and I am continuing on my mission to teach my son to read. In Part 1 last week I showed a simple vowel phonics chart I put up in my boy’s room. This allows me to review with him most night his vowel sounds. This week I am adding to his “bedroom classroom” a configurable word wall.

I decided to create some big letter tiles that I can use to make simple words for my son to sound out. I can also have him practice by making words himself.

I used pages on the iPad to make the tiles but MS Word would work as well. I created a table on a Normal letter-size paper that was in landscape orientation. I used a font that seems better for dyslexics reading. I think Comic Sans is recommended but that wasn’t a choice with Pages for the iPad. Chalkboard font on the iPad seems similar to comic sans so I chose that one. If I set the font size at 120 points to got the letters and spacing shown below.

I made enough columns and rows so each cell would fit one letter with large font size. I printed out the page of letters. Then I finally used my laminator for the first time! I cut out each individual letter and then put a hole in the top.

I decided to use yellow card stock after reading this report about the best background colors to use for dyslexics. I think other colors could be slightly better but yellow was the closest color I have to orange and light yellow.

Once I had enough letters I worked on getting the spacing right. To do this I made the vowel letters a little narrower by cutting off some of both sides. Then I used a simple CVC word to figure out the hook spacing. I used simple teacup holder hooks so I could hang the letters up and make words.

I put up some additional hooks to store the words but I arranged them with the same spacing. Now some of the older boys try and make funny phrases.

The boys have fun coming up with new words or even silly combinations of non-words. In the future, I hope to make blends and other consonant combinations. I also hope to experiment with different background colors. So now every night I can make new words for my son to practice reading.

What do you think of my configurable word wall? If you are interested in making your own here is a free copy of the Letter Tiles I used. Do you have any suggestions for teaching phonics? I would love to hear them in the comments.

Phonics Friday Part 1 – Bedroom Phonics Chart

I am on a mission to teach my son to read. My older kids eventually learned to read but for my son who struggles with learning difficulties ranging from Dyslexia to auditory processing issues reading is hard! I thought I would share my experiences hopefully every Friday. I also hope to post a free copy of the resource I create for teaching phonics.

While I was casually talking to my wife about teaching our kids to read I asked my wife what she remembered from her school years when she learned to read. To my surprise, she responded with the fact that she didn’t remember and that she just learned. That was an ah-ha moment for me. My wife has always been able to read well. In fact from her description, it sounded like she just picked up a book and started reading.

I on the other hand had to learn to read. It wasn’t always easy. But I remember how I learned to read. I was taught using a structured phonics approach. I attended a grade school where they used A Beka. One of the vivid memories I have from learning to read I still remember it while I am reading to myself or sounding out words subconsciously. What I remember most from my school years learning to read were phonics drills. I don’t remember how often we would work on those drills but I can hear them in my mind. I looked up the charts and they are about the same. You can see a sample one here. I remember it was on a big flip chart at the front of the room. When I think back to learning to read I am convinced that drills helped me learn to read. I decided to go to that method to help reinforce phonics for my son.

So here is a picture from my son’s room of what I am doing.

Wall poster in my son’s bedroom for drilling vowel sounds.

I quickly made this phonics chart last night. I ended up using MS Word but you could do it on the iPad also. In fact, I probably would have used Keynote if I was doing it again. The picture of the Indian I got from a great site for free images here. I let my son pick out the picture so it was something that interested him. I chose vowels since my son keeps mixing up simple words with i and a as a short vowel sound. My goal is to work with him every night before bed. I make him say with me “a-a” in apple “i-i” in Indian. So far it works pretty well. The only change I think I will make to the poster is to put the letter first and then the picture. Also here is another great resource for free phonics charts.

What do you think of my phonics chart? What have you done to help your child learn to read with phonics? What do you remember from when you first started to learn to read? Was it easy for you or hard?

If you would like more information on teaching phonics and teaching boys to read I suggest you check out my post on free reading resources. Also here is a free copy of my phonics vowel poster. If you would like to see more of what I am doing to teach my son to read with phonics check out Part 2.

Super Teacher Worksheets Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

We’ve been adding printed worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheets Full 1-year membership with Unlimited downloads/access to supplement our reading programs in our homeschool.  Check out my review below.

What is Super Teacher Worksheets

Do you spend a lot of time trying to find worksheets for your students?  Super Teacher Worksheets makes finding worksheets for your homeschool easy. Super Teacher Worksheets is an online subscription to hundreds of already made worksheets for most anything school-related. It is hard to find a subject that is not covered by Super Teacher Worksheets.  There are worksheets for math, reading, science, and many more.  Membership costs less than $25 for a whole year.

You can download the pdf of the worksheet or you can print out the worksheet you need to go along with your student’s lesson.  Here is a list of all the worksheet topics available: Math, Reading Comprehension, Reading & Writing, Phonics, Early Literacy, Grammar, Spelling, Literacy units, Science, Social Studies, Holidays, Puzzles & Brain Teasers, Worksheet Generator, and Teacher helpers. 

How we used Super Teacher Worksheets

The great thing about Super Teachers Worksheets is that I can use it with all of my school-age children.  I especially like to be able to use the phonics worksheets to help my son with his reading. There are so many worksheets to help with phonics!

Each phonics section has many different types of worksheets like the ones shown in the picture below:

I also used Super Teachers Worksheets for my son to work on sight word spelling lists. Here is a screenshot of one of the units he worked on.

One of the nice features of the Super Teachers Worksheets is the ability to organize worksheets in folders.  There are so many worksheets that I wanted to use with my different children so  I created folders to organize for each of my children and also subjects.  The screenshot below shows some of the folders I set up.  It is easy to file the worksheets to the different folders for easy access later.

The other feature I thought was useful is the worksheet generator.  You can generate math worksheets, games/flashcards, quizzes, and puzzles, My son likes puzzles so I generated the Cryptogram puzzle shown below.

Wow, there is no reason not to subscribe to Super Teacher Worksheets.  I definitely recommend subscribing to Super Teacher Worksheets! I cannot believe all the worksheets available for all of my children! Don’t just take my word for it though, try out some printed worksheets from Super Teacher Worksheets or see what other reviewers had to say by clicking the link below:

Printable Activities and Worksheets! {Super Teacher Worksheets Reviews}

Math Shed and Spelling Shed Review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

Spelling is not my specialty so we were excited to receive 12 months of access to both Math Shed and Spelling Shed.  If you are looking to add some spelling and math digital learning to your homeschool, let me tell you about Math Shed and Spelling Shed.

What is Math Shed and Spelling Shed?

Math Shed and Spelling Shed are part of EdShed.  The programs are designed to help your student improve their math and spelling proficiency.  Math Shed and Spelling shed are an online subscription. The program is web-based so it works on both a computer and also on the iPad.

Spelling Shed – Spelling Shed is a full Spelling curriculum program.  There are six levels (called Stages) plus a beginner level for phonics.  Each level has spelling lists that focus on a particular spelling rule.  For example, Stage 3 has a list for Long /a/ sound words. You can assign your student a Stage and even a specific Spelling word list.

You set up students and give them assignments in the “Teacher Hub”. You can also set the password for your student there or keep the recommended one.

They can work on spelling lists or play a game called”buzz” where they try to make different words with letters on the screen.

There are three kinds of game:

  •  Play – This is the main game type and use used for assignments
  • Bee Keeper – Can you guess your words by choosing letters.
  • Buzz Words – Make words using random letter tiles.

 

MathShed – MathShed is a web-based program with games to help your child learn different math facts.

The math games have a question and three answers to choose from.  There is catchy music and sound effects.  This is what the gameplay looks like.

Both games allow you to earn honeypots to buy different accessories for the avatar.  That is the main motivation for the student. There are also points so you can have a competition between students.  If you have two computers you can also set up a head to head competition by creating what’s called a Hive.  The teacher or the student can set up a hive competition game.  I tried it with my boys however we had issues with the iPad not showing the keyboard so we were not able to fully try that level.

What we thought

Math Shed and Spelling Shed were definitely helpful for my children working on spelling and math facts.  The boys enjoyed the games and were challenged.  I usually set up the game difficulty level for them depending on what I thought their level.  The Easy level shows all the letters that are used in the spelling word but the most difficult level does not give any help.  The instructions say not to worry about it using the easy level and to use the hard levels towards the end of the week.

One of the other nice features I liked about Spelling Shed was the curriculum guide.  There is a pdf and PowerPoint that you can use to teach the new spelling list.  I thought it was very helpful to see all the spelling words and the instructions on. how to teach and use the program.  Each week has a lesson plan, activities and printable practice/homework sheets with answers

I hope you consider EdShed to help your child spell better and build math mastery!

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Math Shed and Spelling Shed.

Spelling Shed & Math Shed {Education Shed Reviews}

Reading Kingdom program review

Disclaimer: I received a FREE copy of this product through the HOMESCHOOL REVIEW CREW in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way.

If you are teaching your child to read be sure to check out the online reading program Reading Kingdom.  This blog post is a review of the online Reading Kingdom program.  Check out my review below to find out if Reading Kingdom could work for your child.

What is Reading Kingdom

Reading Kingdom is a captivating online reading program that also teaches the keyboard layout. The program works on computers and also on the iPad. Each lesson introduces a new word to learn.

There are several different activities to help learn the words. The new word is introduced and then you have to type the letters in the order. Sometimes there are letters between so the child had to distinguish which letters are correct and the correct order. If after a certain time the child has not selected or typed the word correctly, the right answers are shown on the screen. The time can be adjusted as shown in the picture below.

Since typing on the keyboard is required for the Reading Kingdom program it is nice to see that there is a game included for keyboard typing practice. The game uses a Space ship to shoots words by typing them on the keyboard.  There are several levels starting with the top row of the keyboard and then other rows are added and more words appear.

Reading Kingdome shows overall progress. You can see the word being learned in the current level.  You can even move students to the next lesson or have them do a lesson again.  There are five levels and a placement test which determines which level the student begins with.

What we thought about Reading Kingdom

To start the program my son took the online assessment. Since my son knows simple words the program started him with words like kid and girl. My son hasn’t learned sounds like ir but the program introduces them in a way that they get plenty of practice.

Even though my son knows how to use the iPad he actually doesn’t really know they keys on the keyboard. Initially, it frustrated him but thankfully there is also a game included with the program to practice typing.

We tried both the computer and the iPad. With the iPad, you have to use the on-screen keyboard which reduces the size of what is displayed on the screen. I thought some of the words were a little small. On the computer, you can either use the onscreen keyboard or the physical keyboard.  We ended up using the computer more than the iPad.

Overall my son enjoyed the activities but he got a little frustrated since he was not very familiar with the keyboard.  After some practice games, he got a little better and it was a little easier for him to continue on the program.  I also tried to help him a little with the general location where the letters were on the keyboard. It also helped to extend the program response time so he had more time to find the right letter.  I would definitely make sure your child has a beginning knowledge of the keyboard for Reading Kingdom.  Once my son started to get to know the keyboard a little better, he really started to enjoy the program more.   I would recommend checking out Reading Kingdom and try the 30-day free trial to see if it will work for your child.

Be sure to visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to read more reviews of Reading Kingdom.

Reading Kingdom & ASD Reading {Reviews}