Dr. Connie Hebert helps kids, parents, and teachers by helping them become experts at catching "the teachable minute" anytime, anywhere! My Teachable Minute Blog offers quick tips on how to engage with younger and older kids. Comments, questions, and reflections are always welcome . . . let's catch a million teachable minutes together!

How can we use magnetic letters to teach kids how words work? Magnetic letters provide opportunities for a tactile, kinesthetic approach to learning about letter and sounds within words. The very act of making and breaking words with real letters is powerful and should be used daily with struggling kids. I think the ‘magic’ of these little letters lies in the numerous possibilities for teaching kids to be flexible and successful at the same time. Flexibility occurs when we expect the child to use these letters in a variety of ways to create and build new words. Success is achieved by starting from what the child KNOWS and working from there to create new understanding. Here are a few categories for sorting magnetic letters:

*Uppercase and lowercase letters

*Letters that have half circles

*Letters versus numbers

*Letters that have sticks

*Vowels versus consonants

*Red Letters and blue letters

*Known chunks to make new words (i.e. an–and–sand–stand–stands–standing)

The challenge for teachers comes in knowing how to use magnetic letters to create a memorable and effective experience for kids who might otherwise never learn ‘the code.’

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