Word Ladders: Building Words Step by Step

Did you ever want to climb a ladder as a kid and someone told you not to? We all have, and kids love to climb ladders of any size. Listening to sounds in words and then working with them to change the sounds is an important skill for all students. Using Word Ladders for sound chaining makes a perfect multi-sensory way to help children hear sounds in words.
Building words by sound is a crucial step in learning to read and spell. Word Ladders help students master this skill.

When many of us think of word ladders, we may think of the old books students could work through. I found these to be a great challenge for some of the students I work with. For my word ladders, I simply call out some words, changing one sound as I go. This is sometimes called sound chaining since each word builds on the others.

Here are some examples of how I use word ladders for building words in my reading interventions.

With these word ladders, the students use magnetic letters to complete the sound chaining.
Building words by sound is a crucial step in learning to read and spell. Word Ladders help students master this skill.

Dry erase markers are perfect for word building on these word ladders. Sometimes I even use nonsense words to get from one word to another.
Building words by sound is a crucial step in learning to read and spell. Word Ladders help students master this skill.

My kindergarten and first grade students look forward to using word ladders for word building throughout the week. I like to use them as we review words and spellings from previous days. 

This word ladder freebie will help you and your students practice sound chaining. I have included a few sample lists of CVC words to get you started. Click here or on the picture below to get your copy!
Building words by sound is a crucial step in learning to read and spell. Word Ladders help students master this skill.

Here is the digital version you can use in Google Slides.

I hope your students enjoy using word ladders as much as mine do! Have fun!


Building words by sound is a crucial step in learning to read and spell. Word Ladders help students master this skill.

Orton-Gillingham in Small Groups: Distance Learning

Our entire world has turned upside down in a matter of weeks, and we are all trying to figure out the next steps. As a reading specialist, I spent my entire day using Orton-Gillingham with my small groups of students. We had an amazing routine, but that all ended. Now I am navigating distance learning with my students in a new and different way.

Helping your students can be easy with products to help with distance learning.

Easy Ways to Teach Perspective with Mentor Texts

Mentor texts are great for helping our students better understand reading and writing. I use mentor texts quite a bit to teach my students new comprehension skills, and teaching perspective has several great texts to help children see how this important skill works in every day life. Virginia Readers' Choice picture book Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) is the perfect book for helping students see that there are two sides to every story.
Different perspectives make stories more interesting and help readers see the entire story. Alfie: (The Turtle That Disappeared) is the perfect mentor text for seeing both sides of the story.

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Simple Ways to Incorporate Phonics Into Small Groups

Finally! A professional book that helps teachers incorporate phonics skills in guided reading lessons. I wish I would have had this book when I was first trying to figure reading and word study groups out. Jan Richardson and Michele Dufresne have made it simple in their newest book, The Next Step Forward in Word Study and Phonics.
Phonics instruction should be tied to the books students read in class. Finding easy ways to do that are made simple with this new book by Jan Richardson and Michele Dufresne.

{Affiliate links are present in this post. This means when you click and purchase through a link, I make a small amount of money at no cost to you.}