Boobear loves practicing his spelling and phonics with Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com. These little wooden cubes from just2ducks LLC came with a CD-Rom and DVD. These have things like the Teacher Guide and the phonetic sounds that you need to know in order to use these cubes to teach.
So just what are these cubes? They are small, wooden cubes with the phonemes on them. They add a multi-sensory aspect to any phonics program. They are especially useful for those who teach synthetic phonics, which is teaching the phonemes from the simple ones to the more complex ones. I think you can use these with any program, and if you know your phonemes, it may be possible to even use these without a program, especially if you are teaching a child who is very young.
You can also use these to teach a bit of grammar. For example, there’s a cube with a question mark on one side. I was able to teach Boobear what a question mark means and how to read a question in less than 15 minutes while we played with the cubes.
I was surprised by how much Boobear took to the cubes. He really enjoys them. The minute we got them and opened up the package, he was all over them. They eventually migrated to his bedroom, and he plays with them to “teach” his stuffed toys and action figures. He teaches his toys the sounds of the phonemes and then makes words with them, sometimes with rather creative spelling, but he also brings them to me to show me his words.
So in other words, you don’t have to just use these for phonics. You can also use them to teach spelling! They work much better than things like letter tiles for Boobear, as they are larger and easier for him to handle.
We use them during our phonics instruction and they blend perfectly with Jolly Phonics (but you really could use these with any program). I really like how they take what is on the page and bring it to life, letting Boobear manipulate the words and letters as he learns. The cubes are very high quality and I can see them easily lasting for years. If I had more than one child, I would expect these cubes to last through each one, though if I had children close in age that were on the same level I might consider buying more than one set so that the children could work together without any arguing over who has which block.
Boobear doesn’t even realize that he’s learning anything when he plays with these. He’ll sit and do an entire half hour’s worth of phonics and spelling, then ask me when we’re going to do school. I love that he has such fun with these and to think that they are simply wooden blocks with letters boggles my mind.
Make sure you check out the reviews from the others on the team!