Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The CVC Chalk Word Jump Game: A Classic Outdoor Approach to Early Phonics with Sensory Diet Heavy Work Thrown In

Two weeks ago when I was trying to wind down a quick outdoor lunch visit to Grammy’s so my children and I could go home and do some lessons, my son pleaded for us not to go and my daughter suggested, “Mommy, we can do school here.” Following their lead, I opted to lead our day’s lessons outside on Grammy’s newly re-surfaced driveway.

Although we had spent time at Luke’s Feeding Specialist and Occupational Therapy appointments prior to visiting Grammy, I sensed that my children needed some more “heavy work” after lunch and I knew we’d all enjoy outdoor time. So, I employed the strategy of a CVC Chalk Word Jump Game among other things to practice reading skills.

Here’s a brief how-to on how to play

the CVC Chalk Word Jump Game 


  • a paved surface
  • chalk
  • a bouncy child who is learning phonics. 


  1.  Write a number of CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words jumping distance apart on the pavement. Be sure to include at least two words that begin with each onset you use. (An onset is the starting sound, such a c in cat or cup.) For extra challenge, try to include two words with each rime as well. (A rime is the ending sound of a word, such as at in cat, hat and mat.)
  2. Call your child over and ask him or her to jump on a particular word. You can do this by simply saying one of the written words, by giving a definition for the word (such as, “Jump on a word that means something you drink from,”), by offering a sound cue for the word (such as, “What goes meow?”) or by giving a rhyming word (such as, “Jump on a word that rhymes with up,”)
  3. Continue, using words that are within jumping distance, forward, back, sideways or diagonally.
  4. As you note your child fatiguing, wind the game down by asking your child to start at one end of the word path and to jump from word to word, reading each aloud. 

  • Decoding C-V-C words
  • Gross Motor
  • Motor Coordination/Motor Planning
  • Listening/Following Directions 

Quick Tips/Extensions

  • Get even more vestibular and proprioceptive action in by having your child do other things on or around target words – hop on, run around, skip to, slither by, gallop to, spin around, etc.
  • To help children gain confidence, begin by using only a half dozen or so words. Then, gradually increase the choices by writing more words.
  • Once your child has caught onto how to play, to encourage writing, have your child make another C-V-C word path for your child or you to jump on.
  • To encourage thinking skills, give your child a break from jumping and have the child offer definition, rhyming or other clues as cues for you to jump on particular words.
  • Encourage creativity and storytelling by using the word path to tell a story with your child. Have your child jump on a word and begin a story. For example, “I saw a big cat.” Then, jump on another word and add to the story yourself. “He was running all over my yard, went up to our picnic table and knocked over my cup.” Have your child add the next part, while jumping on another word. “The cat was being chased by a dog.”

What movement-based ways do you encourage early reading skills?
Do you have a frugal, fun and effective early learning activity to share? 
Please share your ideas or links.

This post is being shared at We Are THAT Family's Works for Me Wednesday because outdoor reading lessons that include heavy work really work for us and at Homeschool Creations Preschool Corner and 5K, too, where you will find many fabulous ideas for teaching little ones!

Chalk Image courtesy of Jacci Howard Bear


Nellie said...

what a fantastic idea! we'll be trying this soon!

Erin said...

What a great idea!! Getting moving AND learning to read sounds like a great combination!

Stefanie said...

Love it!!! Adding this to my pinterest.

Popping in from pre-k corner.

Martianne said...

Glad you liked it, all, and Giggle Girls, I really must get on Pinterest one of these days!


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