This week I’ve fallen in love with word links (also called word ladders, word golf, or doublets): games that change just one letter at a time to get to a completely different word. The game of word links were created by Lewis Carroll in 1877.
My son, although a very strong reader, does struggle with vocabulary. There are so many words he simply has not encountered yet. I figured that these would be a great way to practice reading, decoding and encoding words, so I’ve been busy creating some for him.
My first attempt included words from my son’s recent spelling lessons. As a result, they are somewhat all over the board: silent e, short and long vowels, longer words and shorter words. I like the flexibility to make the subsequent words longer or shorter, though, and I think these word links are particularly fun!
I wanted the word links to look like a maze or puzzle, rather than just a ladder going upward.
Freddy Frog is trying to get to his tadpole, his wife, and his home.
Download Lily Pad Leap Word Ladders here.
It was so much fun making these, that I decided to make some more … and this time Raisin is helping me create the word chains! It is good practice for him in nonsense words versus real words, as well as being vocabulary and spelling practice. Some of the CVCe word ladders were ones he helped me create! Although they are probably most appropriate for first graders who are just learning to spell and read, they will be a fun review for second graders too.
Here’s a word ladder works: You are given two words. You must find words to bring them together, one step at a time, by changing just one letter each time. For these word ladders, there are definitions above each step (in my Billy Bee products, each step is a flower) to help the young reader. As students make the connections between words and also think in terms of words to meet the definition, they get plenty of practice spelling and reading!
Even adults may get a kick out of creating and practicing simple word links. It’s kind of like the “six degrees of separation” (except each of these beginning level word links have 3 and 4 steps between first word and last).
It is so much fun! This time there is a bee and flower theme. We’re trying to get Billy Bee through all the tulips to get to the last flower. These Billy Bee themed Word Links are not free, but you can get both the CVC and the CVCe word link products in a discounted BUNDLE.
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