I used free printable Pink, Blue, and Green reading series materials from The Helpful Garden with both my girls when they were learning to read. Her blog posts are SO helpful and walk you through all the different steps and why they are important. That being said, I printed what I thought I needed for my kids and skipped parts…it’s a full classroom’s worth of material! Since I reference her material in the rest of the post, links to her materials are below:
The Helpful Garden – Pink Series
The Helpful Garden – Blue Series
The Helpful Garden – Green Series

Daisy is now beyond these series – for reading – but as she works on writing, she could use some gentle spelling help. She’s actually very confident when she writes and is quite happy to write out a word as she thinks it might be spelt…but her spelling is VERY phonetic, and she tends to drop quite a few vowels. I want her confidence to continue so I almost never correct her spelling unless she specifically asks. Writing is the act of finding her voice and getting her thoughts on paper. Her spelling (when she’s writing) isn’t important, we work on it at a separate time.

I was browsing YouTube videos and ended up watching this one from Dancing Pines Montessori. I’m pretty sure Fungirl used something like this when she attended Kindergarten, and I thought it might work well for Daisy, so I thought about what I had on hand and what I could do – here’s my hack!

I made a couple of quick cut files for my Cricut – if you have Design Space you can access them here. The one with two slots per line is for CVCe works, the other is for two letter phonemes.

picture and word cards from The Helpful Garden

I then went through the sets of picture and word matching cards that I already had from The Helpful Garden. Each card gets it’s own phoneme, written in red across the top. I numbered the sets of picture cards in order of difficulty and wrote the corresponding letters down the white card.

numbered picture cards and guide card

For example, in The Helpful Garden’s Green Reading Set B Picture and Word Cards – R Controlled Vowels, she has picture cards for dart, barn, park, cards, scarf, and shark. I chose to write them down on the card in that order, since dart is an easier word than shark. I then wrote a 1 on the corner of the dart picture, a 2 on the corner of the barn picture, and so on.

We tried this out today and Daisy loved it! Here’s what we did:
1. First we laid the cards out vertically and tried to guess each word (she didn’t know what a reed was).
2. I then asked her to place the guide card on the left side of her page, and use red to write the sound on her paper in each hole.
3. We moved the card to the right side of her page and she wrote the sound again. Each time she writes, she’s able to read the whole word, and can look back at the picture for reference.
4. I asked her to turn the guide over and place it off to the side. On the right column only, she then used a pencil to try and write out the other letters for each word.
5. We then picked up the guide card and placed it over the left hand column. This is the built in control of error. Daisy can check the left control column against her work in the right column, re-read the words and see how she did!

a very simple pouch

So, she liked them! I got all the R-controlled vowel sets written out today. To store them, I took a sheet of 9×12 construction paper, folded the bottom up , and then folded the sheet in half. Since there a 5 sets of r-controlled vowels, I made three of these and used tape and staples to attach them all together to make a little booklet. The guide cards slip in each pocket, and the picture card just paperclip to the front of each pocket.

Five sets down…I think I have 20 or so more to make? Since I already have the picture cards printed, it’s not that much work and I think it’ll be well worth it! Though I grouped all the r-controlled vowels together there, I think I’m going to group the rest by sound – sort of a Dwyer crossover project. For example, ee (as in feed), ea (as in team), e_e (as in Steve), and y (as in happy) will all be grouped in a booklet together.

If you make yourself a set, let me know how it turns out!