Halloween Word Sort - Long & Short A

*This word sort activity is geared for 1st through 3rd graders, but I have used it up to 5th grade with struggling readers.

Start by making four candy corns with three sections each.:

(Of course you could have kids do this themselves, especially if you're doing it with an entire class.  Just mix up the words before telling them what to write on each candy corn.  Make sure the pieces will still come together correctly.)  Write these words on each candy corn:
  • 1st candy corn - bat, magic, rattle (This is the short a pattern.)
  • 2nd - game, scare, shake (This is the long a pattern "a consonant e".)
  • 3rd - faint, chain, afraid (This is the long a pattern "ai".)
  • 4th - day, play, stray (This is the long a pattern "ay".)
Mix up the pieces:

Ask your child to read each word aloud and sort the pieces into two piles according to the vowel sound they hear in the middle of the word.  This should result in one complete candy corn in one pile and the rest of the pieces in the other pile.  The complete candy corn will be the short a sound:

The rest of the pieces all have the long a sound.  Now challenge your child to sort these remaining pieces according to the way the vowels look.  This should result in three candy corns with three different long a patterns - a-Consonant-e, ai, and ay.

There you have it!  Your child has just completed a word sort!

Now ask them to come up with their own Halloween words using the short a or long a sound!

As Amy from One Artsy Mama pointed out in the comments, you could modify this easily for younger readers with rhyming words, beginning sound words, meaning related words, etc.
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  1. I'm totally doing this with Bryce.

  2. What a fabulous idea! And you could modify it for younger kids by changing the words...like you could do rhyming words or words that start with the same letter, or words that are similar {ie: all colors, or all animals}...ooh, the wheels are turning! Always looking for things like this to do with my little one! Would you link it here?


  3. My kids will love this! My 1st and 2nd grader struggle with reading so this is perfect. :)

  4. Love this idea! Thanks for sharing! I'm your new GFC follower :)


  5. I love this! I will definitely modify this and use it for my preschooler...thanks!

  6. This is an adorable idea! I am wondering if I have the proper colors of paper....

  7. I love this! I'm thinking of all kinds of I can modify this idea to use it for my daughter.

  8. We did a pumpkin word sort this week. I love the color coding with the candy corn. Came over from show and tell.

  9. What a fun idea. I would love for you to stop by and link up your word sort to More the Merrier Monday. It lasts through Wednesday so you have plenty of time to link up. I also have a link party for Halloween projects only at http://diyhshp.blogspot.com/2011/09/trick-or-treat-link-party.html that I would love for you to link up to as well.


  10. This is such a good idea! I would need to modify because my kids are younger but that's easy enough :) Thank you so much for sharing at Taking A Timeout Thursday!

    - Trish @ Mom On Timeout

  11. What a fantastic idea! It would be a fun way to do math facts too! Thanks for sharing this at What's In The Gunny Sack!

  12. Yes, what a great idea. This would be a great way to do math and for the younger kids matching shapes or colors. Wow, you can do so much with the Candy Corns. I like. Thanks for sharing!

  13. I love that this was for older kids - so often they don't get these hands-on fun activities anymore!

    I did a version of this w/my little ones for rhyming words and word families!

    Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase last week - can't wait to see what you'll share with us this week!


  14. what an inventive way to tie in the holiday with lessons! this will be a feature at my tip-toe thru tuesday party. so stop by and pick up a button and link up again!


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