Saturday, July 13, 2019


Jumbo craft sticks fit my criteria of cheap, simple, and easy. They are inexpensive, virtually indestructible, and can be transformed into a game or management tool in five minutes. In a plastic/screen world, sticks provide a natural element and something children can hold in their hands.

Comprehension Sticks

What? jumbo craft sticks, markers, sock

Why? story elements, comprehension

When? Large group or small group

How? Write “Who?” “What?” “Where?” “When?” “Why?” on sticks and insert them in a sock. Throw the sock over your shoulder before reading a book to prompt the children to be active listeners. After reading the story, let children choose a stick and tell that part.

*You could also write “author, illustrator, title, beginning, middle, end” or “characters, setting, problem, resolution.”

Punctuation Sticks

Why? recognizing punctuation marks, reading with expression

When? Large group, partner reading

How? Draw a period, exclamation point, and question mark on the end of jumbo craft sticks. Children take turns choosing a stick and placing it at the end of a sentence as friends read with appropriate expression.

*Write simple sentences.  Place sticks at the end for the children to read.

*Can children read these with appropriate expressions? 

*Let children use the sticks as they read with a buddy.

Blending Sticks

Why? blending sounds, sound segmentation

When? Small group

How? Color 1/3 of the stick green, 1/3 yellow, and 1/3 red as shown. Call out sounds for children to touch. Have them blend the sounds as they sweep their finger from left to right and say the word.
     /c/ (touch green) /a/ (touch yellow) /t/ (touch red) = cat

     Where do you hear the /i/ in dig? (touch yellow)

     Where do you hear the /t/ in talk? (touch green)

Pick Me! 

Why? choosing random helpers

When? Large group

How? Color one end of a jumbo craft stick green and the other end red. Let each child write their name in the middle of the stick. Place the sticks in a cup with the green end on top. When there is a special job to be done, the teacher chooses a stick. After that child has had a turn, her stick goes back in the cup with the red end on top. When all the sticks are red on top and everyone has had a turn, flip them over and start again.