I’ve been talking a lot about teaching digraphs lately. I shared my Ultimate Digraph Teaching Kit, which is packed with lots of useful tools: posters, word wall cards, and printable activities and games. Today I wanted to share one more resource that has been a staple in my digraph teaching practice: digraph cootie catchers.
Whether you call them cootie catchers, chatterboxes, or fortune tellers, these folded papers are a favorite with kids—and a great way to practice a number of skills, including digraphs.
3 reasons to love digraph cootie catchers
If you haven’t used cootie catchers in your classroom before and wonder what they’re all about, here are 3 reasons I love them:
- Digraph cootie catchers are great for simple, but fun, review. It feels more like a game than additional practice for kids.
- They are best used in pairs, but can be used for individual work as well.
- They don’t require much time. Have 5 minutes between other activities? Need something to occupy fast finishers? Cootie catchers are a great option.
One easy way to use digraph cootie catchers
Here’s one way I use digraph cootie catchers with students. You may find other ways that work well for your students or in your classroom.
- Put students into pairs. One student (student 1) operates the cootie catcher.
- The other student (student 2) picks one of the pictures and reads the word.
- Student 1 opens and closes the cootie catcher while saying the sounds. For example, if the picture is of a rattle, the student would say: /r/ /a/ /tt/ /le/, so that student would open/close the cootie catcher 4 times.
- Student 2 reads one of the words.
- Again student 1 opens/closes the cootie catcher for the number of sounds in the word.
- Student 2 picks another word.
- This time student 1 opens the flap to reveal a word, and student 1 reads the word to student 2.
- Student 2 writes the word on a mini whiteboard (or piece of paper). The student then checks the spelling is correct by looking at the word on the cootie catcher.
- Students alternate taking turns operating the cootie catcher.
This simple toy makes practicing reading and segmenting sounds a lot more fun!
Cootie catchers aren’t hard to make. You need to know the basic diagram. Then, it’s just a matter of putting the right info in the right spaces, cutting out the square and folding it the right way. Kids make them all the time without any instruction at all!
I’ve made it easy for you with a pack of 14 digraph cootie catchers. They’re divided into 8 packs each focused on a different digraph: sh, ch, ck, th, ng, qu, wh, le.
You get the cootie catchers ready to print, an overview word sheet for each set, and directions for folding and using the cootie catchers in your class.
Easy for you, and fun for kids. Your students are sure to “catch” on to digraphs with these cootie catchers!