Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Letter Buddies Part 2: Blends

Posted by Marcy Godesa on Feb 21, 2017 3:23:00 PM

marcy_godesa.pngThis is a guest blog post by Marcy Godesa, a first-grade teacher from Oregon who blogs over at Searching for Teacher Balance. If you like what you read here, be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts! 

It is always a great find when you have one resource that continues along with your students as their learning grows and develops. That is why I am still loving the Letter Buddies series from Hameray Publishing.


You can read all about how I used the first stage of Letter Buddies with my developing readers here. We have since moved into blends, which is huge for my readers! I am so proud of them and the connections that they have been making.

The blends books, which are the next stage in the Letter Buddies seriesare the perfect bridge to sight word development that all developing reading must achieve.

Slide1 (2).pngJust like the first stage, the blends books have a sight word book, Letter Buddies Blends, and a pattern book, Letter Buddies Best Friends, that complement each other.

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After reading and reviewing the sight word book, my kiddos practiced building the words and finding connections between other words that they have learned.

They then applied these new words to the pattern book. The success they have with the pattern book is incredible because they are familiar with the words, thanks to the sight word book.

If you haven't checked out the Letter Buddies series from Hameray Publishing, get on it.  I cannot say enough great things about these books.

What is your favorite tool for supporting your developing readers?  Leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you.



Click the images below to read about the Letter Buddies Blends and the Letter Buddies Best Friends.

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Blends, Sight Words, Marcy Godesa

Word Recognition with Letter Buddies

Posted by Marcy Godesa on Feb 7, 2017 3:21:00 PM

marcy_godesa.pngThis is a guest blog post by Marcy Godesa, a first-grade teacher from Oregon who blogs over at Searching for Teacher Balance. If you like what you read here, be sure to check back here for more of her guest blog posts! 

Teaching word recognition to developing readers can have its ups and downs. I swear there are days when my kiddos are on it, they are recognizing all their sight words, and then POOF!—the next day it is all gone. I decided to try out the Letter Buddies series with my developing readers.

According to Hameray, "This product line supports the development of letter knowledge and early literacy skills through letter recognition and formation, letter-sound correspondence, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, and oral language development." I couldn't agree more with this statement. Right away, my readers started building letter recognition that they struggled with prior to using this series.


First of all, I love that the letters on the covers of the books are printed in a raised text. My kiddos were able to "feel" the letters before diving into the books. By using their kinesthetic sense, we began building a muscle memory that is vital for learners.


Each Letter Buddy has a book and a starter that go hand-in-hand. We started with the Letter Books and practiced our letter and whole word recognition. This allowed my readers to begin connecting the inital letter throughout the book.


After spending time with the Letter Book, we reviewed the words, generated a few more, and started gaining more letter and sound connections. It was amazing listening to my readers as they inquired about their learning. One of my students, who has really struggled with letter recognition, asked, "Why do all the words have red letters?"  This is HUGE!! He took his learning past letter recognition to word recognition.

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Once my readers showed an understanding of the letters and their sounds, we dove into the Starter Books. These pattern books take the words that students practiced in the Letter Books and place them in an early reader format. The Starters allow for students to continue to build on their letter and word recognition while gaining fluency and accuracy with more sight words.

I am so excited for my readers and the skills that they have gained. I cannot wait to use the Letter Buddies Blends Books with them!


Have you used Letter Buddies with your readers?  What are your favorite resources for teaching letter and word recognition?  Leave a comment below and let me know.


Click the image below to read about the Letter Buddies Letter Books and the Letter Buddies Starters.

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Topics: Letter Buddies, Sight Words, Marcy Godesa

Halloween Sight Word Practice—with FREE download!

Posted by Lesley Boatright on Oct 25, 2016 2:55:00 PM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.


Add a little Halloween fun to your sight word practice! Two great stories that use repeated text and high frequency words can be found at Hameray Publishing.

With repeated sentence structure and picture support for the word that changes in each sentence, Halloween Night is a fun and easy read for your beginning readers.


If you're looking for a little bit more of a challenge, Joy Cowley's Spooky House is a good choice. Two children approach a haunted house, becoming progressively more frightened as they move deeper into the house. Finally, they see and hear something that causes them to turn tail and run, all the while convincing themselves that they are very brave.

As you can see, there are many sight words included in both books. The repetitive text makes it easy for even your approaching level readers to pick up the rhythm of the words.

 A fun follow up activity is to play Read-the-Room: Halloween Style. Slide1.pngIt's a simple game to play with your whole class, or you can set it up as center. Simply print out the numbered cards at the bottom of this post and place them around the room.


Put the sight word cards in a pocket chart or display on the board for the children to refer to while they read the room. They will copy the word onto their answer sheet that complete the sentence on their card as they move from card to card.

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Take advantage of the excitement of Halloween and the abundance of seasonal stories to squeeze in some fun Halloween-themed sight word practice!


Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.


Click on the links to learn more about the Kaleidoscope Collection and Joy Cowley Early Birds, which contain the books featured in this post. To download the Halloween sight word activity, click the image below!

 Halloween Read-the-Room


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Topics: Joy Cowley Early Birds, Kaleidoscope Collection, Sight Words, Lesley Boatright, Halloween

Working with Sight Words: Brian Hopkins

Posted by Brian Hopkins on Oct 16, 2013 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by Brian Hopkins, an occasional contributor to our blog. If you like his activities, check back frequently to see if he's got a new post up! You could also check out his blog, Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings, which has a Common Core focus and posts with topics as diverse as phonics, science, and math.

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Working with Sight Words

It’s Brian again from Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings. I am so excited to get to guest blog again! Last time, I gave many different ideas on teaching the alphabet. Today, I will be sharing with you some fun ways to teach sight words. I also have some happy news to share: I just landed a new job teaching kindergarten!

Sight words are tricky for many students, because with most sight words, you can’t sound out the words—you simply have to know the letters. These are words that students should be able to read and spell fluently.

Here are some activities that I have used myself in the classroom to make learning sight words fun:

    1. Spell the words using magnetic letters, Cheez-It letters, beads, letter tiles, letter Unifix® cubes, etc. Then have the child transfer the word to paper.

      2. Play board games, dice games, or card games that involve reading the sight words you are working on.

        3. Write down the word and the page number each time you find it in a book.

          4. Use highlighter tape to highlight the word in the book.

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            5. Find the sight word in a book using a magnifying glass.

              6. Write a sentence using the word.

                7. Spell the word with rainbow colors.

                  8. Use different chants and hand movements to learn the word. For example have the children say the letters in the word and clap the consonants and snap the vowels.

                    9. Take the children outside and give them sidewalk chalk to practice writing their spelling words or use shaving cream to write them on their desks.

                      10. Spellingcity.com is a great website where you can type in the sight words and it has many different activities to help the students learn how to spell them.

                        I hope these ideas help your students learn their sight words in a fun way!


                        My name is Brian Hopkins and I am from Brevard County, Florida. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education K–6. I also have my ESOL endorsement and am CET certified to mentor teachers and have student interns. I taught kindergarten for three years, 2nd grade for five years, and completed a short term in 5th grade. I also subbed in a 3rd/4th grade class for a month. Currently, I am a kindergarten teacher! In my spare time, I enjoy listening to country music, reading, and making teaching materials.


                        To learn more about the Joy Cowley Early Birds series, which contains the Wishy-Washy Clothes book shown in this post, visit the website by clicking here or click the image below to download an information sheet with series highlights!

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                        Topics: K-2 Literacy, Kindergarten, Brian Hopkins, Sight Words

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