Homerun Derby!



Beginning Reader

Amy ONeal




Getting students to blend sounds to make words is an essential step in learning to read. Once children learn all the sounds of consonants and vowels, children can then move on to blending the sounds together to make words. After a child is able to blend words together successfully they are on their way to being an expert reader. Blending can be taught through modeling. Modeling to the students the appropriate way to sound out and say words will allow them to become acquainted reading unfamiliar words. Blending is breaking up a word from its consonants and vowels. You start with the first letter then place in the vowel sound and end with the ending letters. Knowing all the vowel sounds is the meat of a word and it is important for students that are beginning to read to understand this. Providing a interactive activity that promotes the use of sounding out letters one at a time will allow for students to more effectively understand blending.



Poster board and on the poster there is a drawing of a baseball field. The field has three bases and a home plate.


Letter tiles with the vowels: a, e, i, o, u


Letter tiles with the consonants: h, t, b, l , m, r, n, w, s, c, g, v, k, f


Velcro for the letter tiles


Blank poster board with two columns titled team one and team two


Velcro for the blank poster board where the completed words from the lesson will be placed


Dry erase board


Dry erase marker



I will first introduce the poster with the baseball field on it saying, We are going to play word baseball!


I will explain to the students that when we are writing or reading words we must sound them out. I will give the students an example, okay class I am going to sound out a word and you tell me what it is. /b/ /a/ /t/. What word did I sound out? The class will reply and I will demonstrate again how I sounded out the word and how they blended it together.


The baseball game will be a homerun contest to see how many words we can make by running all the bases. All the words are related to baseball. (The thirteen words are: hit, ball, helmet, bat, run, win, lost, score, team, base, glove, strike, and ref.)


The class will be split up into two teams. Team one and team two.


One member of the team will come up and draw a letter tile from the home plate. The letters will be in an organized stack so you must pick the one from the top. (I have arranged all the letter tiles on the different plates so that you pick one letter from home plate, then first base, then second base and so on until you make a word. For instance, A student would get the letter /t/ at home plate, /e/ at 1st base, /a/ at 3rd base and /m/ back at home plate to make a homerun! The word makes team.) If a word has more than three letters they keep rounding the bases and if it has less than three letters they stop at the base their on. Points will be tallied by the amount of times a team passes the home base.


As the student picks a letter tile they will Velcro it to the blank poster board under their teams name. As they round the bases they will place the letter they get next to the previous letter. When the word is completed we will sound it out together as a class.


We will continue until all the letter tiles are gone.


At the end of the game we will look at the different words each team spelled. The winner of the game is determined upon which team passed home base the most. We will use tally marks at the bottom of the poster board with the completed Velcro words to keep up with the score.


After we have completed the game and reviewed the words I will remind students how important it is to sound out words as we read or write them. Just as in the baseball game we must make words one base at a time.


I will then allow students to think of other words that have to do with baseball. I will call on the students to tell me words they would like to use. As they tell me the word we will sound it out together and I will write it on the dry erase board. This will allow me to know if the students understand blending.


Assessment: As an assessment I will pass out a decodable book that has all short vowels. It is titled, Kids and Pets at Camp. I will introduce the book and tell the students to use their expert decoding and blending skills to read the story. Each student will whisper read to him or herself. When they come across words they can not understand we will as a class write the word on the board and I will again model how to say the word. I will assess the students by walking around the classroom and listening to each student whisper read to him or herself.




Blevins, Wiley. Scholastic. Bat the Ball. http://content.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=4494.


(Idea of baseball to form words came from Scholastic however; I changed the format of the game.)

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