If you’re looking for a tactile activity to help students practice CVC words, using playdough mats in your literacy center is a great way to go. Playdough is a great manipulative that gives students a chance to practice words beyond paper and pencil (though you can get them writing with playdough mats too).
Playdough mats are laminated activity sheets that students can use directly with playdough. The laminated sheets also work with dry erase markers, so students can form letters with playdough and write them with dry erase markers, which can be wiped off when they are done.
Form letters on playdough mats
When you first introduce this activity in your literacy station, you’ll want to explain that the playdough is for specific activities. Show students how to make snakes of playdough and form these snakes into letter shapes that match the outlines on the playdough mats. Point out that some letters may be made with a single piece of playdough. Others may be easier to make with more than one piece.
Students may also use the playdough to decorate all or part of the picture on the card, but stress that they should make the letters first. This can simply be a playdough activity, or you can add dry erase markers to extend the activity.
Write words on playdough mats
The beauty of playdough mats is they give students two different ways to produce the word. After students have made the words with playdough, have them use a dry erase marker to trace the word on the mat. After they trace the word, they can write it on their own. As they did with the playdough, students may also want to draw on or enhance the images.
Segment words on playdough mats
Segmenting is a key reading skill, and you can have students practice it with playdough mats. As students create the letter shapes out of playdough, they can say the sound of the letter. Once they have made the whole word with playdough, they can read the word, pulling apart the sounds. For example, they would segment the word and say /m/ /a/ /n/ after making the letters m – a – n for man.
Students can use the same process to segment words as they write them on the mats.
Blend words on playdough mats
Segmenting goes hand and hand with blending. After students have made the playdough letters and practiced writing them, have them blend the sounds together to say the whole word. To use this activity in pairs, have one student make a word out of playdough and/or write it on the sheet and have their partner segment and blend the sounds. Then they can switch roles.
Ready to add playdough mats to your literacy section? You’ll love the CVC Playdough Mats bundle! You get 152 DONE FOR YOU mats that are perfect for literacy centers. As noted, CVC playdough mats give kids lots of practice segmenting and blending words, skills they will continue to use as they work with more complex words. Download, print, and laminate (or slide into a plastic sleeve), grab some playdough and dry erase markers, and you are ready to go!