BBC Schools : Words and Pictures
Common Sense says
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that since the site uses British spelling, kids may be a little confused by some of the words ("curb" vs. "kerb"). Also, the sentences are often read out loud and the British accents may sound unfamiliar at first. No ads.
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What's it about?
It's a great day for the beach and sandcastle fun with Colin the Clam. Seems he needs some help and you've been asked to assist! Look at the picture and fill in the missing sound-alike phonemes (like air, are, ear) in order to build the castle. Salty Sam wants you to work with him on writing postcards. You'll have to know how to spell in order to get the message right. In "Consonant Clusters," toss some sounds together in the virtual blender, mix them all up, and what do you have? If you've chosen the right sounds, you'll spell a cool word. Don't miss "Star Words," where you need to look at the shape of a word rather than how it is spelled. If you want to practice writing letter pairs, the magic pencil will show you how to shape them. The site also offers reading and writing activities you can print.
Is it any good?
The text is on this site is written for teachers and parents, not kids -- they'll need an adult on hand to explain (or bypass) terms like "phoneme" and "CVC" (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) and walk them through game instructions. The games themselves are age-appropriate, creative, and fun, and there's an excellent variety of activity types. Printable resources encourage kids to continue the lessons offline.
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