Posted in Reading

4th Step to Reading: CVC Words and Word Families


How to Teach Rhyming Words, Word Families and CVC Words

The word phonogram comes from Greek and is translated as the “written symbol for a sound.” Phonograms are the building block to almost all English words, the vast majority of words follow the regular phonogram sounds. You can introduce children to the majority of words that don’t follow regular phonogram sounds, by teaching sight words. 

CVC stands for Consonant/Vowel/Consonant. These words will be super easy for kids to read once they have learned their letter sounds. You can even get a child who knows their CVC words to begin reading books. Check out the Unabashed List of Easy to Read Children’s books. Teach a child that the letters A, E, I, O, and U are vowels. Teach the short and long sounds of these letters. Children will learn to distinguish the long and short sounds with CVC and CVCe words in the next step of reading. CVC stands for Consonant/Vowel/Consonant and CVCe words are words where the letter ‘e’ at the end make the vowel in the middle make a long sound (say its name).The FREE CVC to CVCe packet aids in teaching children the long vowel sounds.

CVC Word Family Game

Pre-K students playing word family game

You can make your own cards (like I did in the image above), or print out our word family flash-cards. This game is easy to play, fun, and engaging for students. I had the children in my classroom work in groups of 2. One student will read the word outload and the other would match the words to the correct word family.

This game is fun for students who love to rhyme. It is also helpful to pair a stronger reading student with a less advanced reading students. They learn to work as a team and often children explain things to each other in a way that adults cannot. The less advanced reading student learns from the strong reader.


Word Family Truffula Trees – Inspired by Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

After reading the Lorax, the Pre-Kindergarten class created their own truffula trees. We turned our art project into a fun word family game.

Dr. Seuss Word Family Trufulla Tree

Use these flashcards and worksheets to assist you while teaching reading lessons. Don’t forget to make it FUN!


word families
Purchase these Word Family Flash Cards to build reading confidence. Includes over 400 easy to learn words. CVC, CVCe, flashcards.
ap word family

Consonant Vowel Consonant (CVC) Words + Intro to CVCe

CVC to CVCe word writing worksheet
CVC to CVCe comparison

50 page word building worksheet packet – coming soon


Posted in Arts and Crafts, Books and Reading, learning colors

12 Books About Colors for Children

Learn to identify colors with these books.

We’ve created a list of 12 colorful children’s books that teach color theory in an entertaining way. These books will help children identify colors and mix colors. All books are chosen by Unabashed Kid’s Editors and are affiliate linked to To purchase books from this list just click on the book cover or title, to shop directly on Amazon.

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

In this story Dog starts off the day with one black spot on his ear. But it seems that wherever he goes, he runs, rolls, and trots right into more colors. As he wanders around town, Dog collects spots made of red jam, blue paint, pink ice cream, and more.

dog's colorful day
a color of his own

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

All of the animals have colors of their own except for the chameleon. He is yellow like a lemon, even black and orange striped like a tiger! Then one day a chameleon has an idea to remain one color forever by staying on the greenest leaf he can find. But in the autumn, the leaf changes from green to yellow to red . . . and so does the chameleon.

This book is perfect for teaching children to identify all of the colors around us. As a bonus the book also teaches a great lesson about friendship, as the chameleon meets another chameleon to travel with him.

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

Duncan’s crayons go on strike. They write letters to express their grievances. What can Duncan possibly do to appease all of the crayons and get them back to doing what they do best? Coloring.

A fun activity for 1st to 3rd graders is to have them write their own letter’s from Duncan or the crayons perspective. This is a great letter writing exercise.

the day the crayons quit
the day the crayons came home

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

Every kid has probably lost a crayon or entire box of crayons at school or on a road trip. In this story Duncan finds out what happens to lost crayons.

How Do Dinosaurs Learn Their Colors? by Jane Yolen

Board book to help dinosaur loving toddlers learn their colors. Jane Yolen’s Dinosaur series is super fun and creative. Children find answers to some of the most creative questions.

how do dinosaurs learn their colors

Color by Ruth Heller

This book is for upper elementary kids. A perfect walk through of how artwork is created on paper. Great for an elementary art classroom.


Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

Little Blue and Little Yellow are best friends, kept separate. When they finally find each other, they give each other such a big hug that they turn green!

This is an amazing picture book for children as it shows them color mixing instead of telling them. The book has very few words, but tells a wonderful story through images.

little blue and little yellow
monsters love colors

Monsters Love Colors by Mike Austin

Did you know that monsters love to scribble, mix, dance, and wiggle?! Why? Because monsters love to make new colors! Children will have a blast reading this story.

Color Dance by Ann Jonas

The girl in red, the girl in yellow, the girl in blue, and the boy in black and white are all set to stir up the rainbow. This super creative story will aid in teaching color mixing.

color dance
mix it up

Mix it Up by Herve Tullet

As the title suggest, the readers will learn to mix colors. Very simple writing with color splattered mixtures. This book gets to the point and is a great reference for learning about color mixing.

White Rabbits Color by Alan Baker

Children will enjoy learning about colors with White Rabbit.

Mouse paint

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

This playful introduction to colors will appeal to any curious preschooler. One day three white mice discover three jars of paint–red, blue, and yellow. But what happens when they splash in the colors, mixing the red and blue?

Take a look inside “Red, Blue, and Green! What color is on my plate?

Best color book for toddlers.
k to "1 2 3! What can I eat?" and "ABC Name My Food!", "Red, Blue, and Green! What colors are on my plate?" is a food-themed book for young readers.
Best color book for toddlers.
k to "1 2 3! What can I eat?" and "ABC Name My Food!", "Red, Blue, and Green! What colors are on my plate?" is a food-themed book for young readers.
Best color book for toddlers.
k to "1 2 3! What can I eat?" and "ABC Name My Food!", "Red, Blue, and Green! What colors are on my plate?" is a food-themed book for young readers.
Best color book for toddlers.
k to "1 2 3! What can I eat?" and "ABC Name My Food!", "Red, Blue, and Green! What colors are on my plate?" is a food-themed book for young readers.
Best color book for toddlers.
k to "1 2 3! What can I eat?" and "ABC Name My Food!", "Red, Blue, and Green! What colors are on my plate?" is a food-themed book for young readers.

A color and food recognition book for toddlers.

The companion book to “1 2 3! What can I eat?” and “ABC Name My Food!”, “Red, Blue, and Green! What colors are on my plate?” is a food-themed book for young readers.

Children look through over 20 brightly colored “real images” of foods and name the color of each food. Fruits, vegetables, carbs, meats, and cheeses make up a beautiful rainbow-colored plate. A perfect book to introduce picky eaters to new foods. Come along for the journey and discover new delicious foods.

Available for $3.99 USD on Amazon

Posted in Reading

3rd Step to Reading: Blending Letter Sounds

Teach Children How to Identify the First, Middle, and Last Sounds in 3 Letter Words.

Blending may be the hardest step, but once we get over this hill, it will be much easier for children to learn how to read words. This is the step where you should introduce vowels and consonants, don’t worry too much if children don’t pick up on those 2 words (vowel/consonant matchups). This step will be repeated once a child has developed their reading skills a little more. 

In the worksheets below children will be asked to identify the first sound in a word, the middle sound, and the last sound. These are great word decoding exercises and build confidence before students are asked to read CVC or CVCe words. We offer free interactive phonics videos at

For more phonics worksheets purchase a workbook from the Unabashed Kids Welcome to Elementary School series. Welcome to Elementary School series focuses on Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade level work. The books are split by grade and subject (math, phonics, science, and finance). These books include up to 200 pages of comprehensive worksheets.

Beginning Sound Worksheets

Beginning Sound worksheets
Purchase this 10 page worksheet pack from Teachers Pay Teachers.

Welcome to Kindergarten! 180 Page Workbook

Welcome to Kindergarten Workbook

Ending Sound Worksheets

Posted in Books and Reading

Start The School Year Off Right, With These Books!

Is your little one nervous about going to school for the first time? OR Are you a teacher looking for a book to help introduce a positive classroom dynamic? Starting fresh in a new environment, meeting a teacher and new classmates can seem overwhelming to children. This list of books will help students feel more comfortable about the new school year. Scroll down and choose a book to help start the school year off right.

List of books to read on the first day of school (Elementary / Primary School)

The Night Before First Grade! Written by Natasha Wing – Available on Amazon

It is the night before the first grade! Penny is excited to start the year with her best friend right beside her in the same classroom. This humorous take on Clement C. Moore’s classic tale will help children through their back-to-school jitters.

The night before first grade book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"A Letter From Your Teacher" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

A Letter From Your Teacher- on the first day of school. Written by Shannon Olsen – Available on Amazon

This heartwarming picture book helps teachers welcome their students on the first day of school. Through a letter written from the teacher’s point of view, students are given the message that their new teacher is someone they will get to form a special bond with.

Our Classroom is a Family by Shannon Olsen – Available on Amazon

“Family isn’t always your relatives. It’s the ones who accept you for who you are. The ones who would do anything to see you smile, and who love you no matter what.”

Teachers build a sense of community within their classrooms, creating a home away from home where they make their students feel safe. Reading “Our class is a family” on the first day of school, sets the ton for the inclusiveness that will be carried out throughout the school year.

"Our Class is a Family" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"Unique Start from 6 Feet Apart" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

A Unique Start from 6 Feet Apart by Emily Oquendo – Available on Amazon

Students returning to school in fall 2021, will experience a school year different than any precious years. These students will wear mask, social distance, and be taught plenty of hygiene methods to prevent virus spreading in schools.

If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff – Available on Amazon

“If you take a mouse to school, he’ll ask you for your lunch box. When you give him your lunch box, he’ll want a sandwich to go in it. Then he’ll need a notebook and some pencils. He’ll probably want to share your backpack, too.”

"If you take a mouse to school" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"The Day You Begin" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

The Day You Begin by Jaqueline Woodson – Available on Amazon

This book is perfect for upper primary school students, grades 3 to 5. There will always be a new kid in school, no matter what grade level. This story will help students understand that we are all different, but it is ok to embrace our differences.

“There will be a times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”

“There will be many reasons to feel different. Maybe it’s how you look or talk, or where you’re from; maybe it’s what you eat, or something just as random. It’s not easy to take those first steps into a place where nobody really knows you yet, but somehow you do it.”

Ellie the Elephant Makes New Friends at School by Agnes Green – Available on Amazon

“I woke up this morning, as happy as could be, excited for the day ahead, dressing hurriedly, I raced downstairs and kissed my mom, on my first day of school.”

"Ellie the Elephant Makes New Friends at school" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.
"I got the School Spirit" book is on the Unabashed Kids back to school list.

I Got the School Spirit by Connie Schofield-Morrison – Available on Amazon

A celebration of the first day of school. This beautifully illustrated book will get students ready to learn all school year.

Are there any “back to school” books left off this list? Use the comment section to share some of your favorite back to school books for elementary kids.

The best homeschool workbook for kindergarten and first grade.
Posted in Reading

2nd Step to Reading: Letter Sounds and Names

Master Phonics with these Letter Sound Activities

Unabashed Kids offers FREE Alphabet Flashcards but please make it fun. Do not just drill letters into a child’s mind, this will just build resentment to written language. There are plenty ways to make learning letter sounds fun. Try playing sound games (with or without flashcards) and sing songs (ABC song, Apples and Bananas, BINGO) and teach a child to recognize their name. Children will love learning to recognize and spell their names. It is unique to them and will make them feel special. Most children may be familiar with the song “BINGO was his name-o”, changing this song a little can make it an engaging letter sound recognition game. Use consonant sounds to replace the B and have the children tell you the new dog’s name. The Unabashed Kids BINGO Song Board teaches letter recognition, letter sounds, rhyming, and most importantly it teaches children that words are different if letters change. 


Letter Name and Sound Activities

Playdoh letter J

There are plenty of fun ways to get children to learn their letters. The pre-kindergarten class enjoyed making playdoh letters, finding things around the room that start with specific letters, and Q-tip letter tracing with paint. The more a child is exposed to letters and letter sounds the more they will learn. Below is a short list of letter learning activities.

  • Playdoh Letter Molding
  • Q-tip letter tracing
  • I Spy – Beginning Sounds
  • I Spy – Ending Sounds
  • Name a Friend who begins with (Letter)
  • BINGO Song Letter Rhyming

Straight Forward Letter Sound Practice (Video)

You know a child has mastered their letter sounds if they can name each letter and give its sound (out of ABC order). To test if my preschoolers know their letters and sounds, I start from the letter Z go backward to B, saving the vowels for last. After mastering the letter sounds, introduce syllables. Continuously emphasize to children that letters stand alone but when put together, they make words. 

Teach Syllables by Clapping

Build concepts of words and syllables. Try syllable games like clapping our syllables in words. This is a great activity to do with a class of students, by having them clap the syllables in their names. Clapping the syllables in the months of the year is also a fun circle time activity. Students will quickly begin to learn how to split words into syllables.


FREE Alphabet Flashcards, Letter Sound Game, & Letter Matching Worksheet.

Download our FREE letter learning materials. If you are interested in more fun learning materials like the ones below, consider purchasing Welcome to Kindergarten – an academic preparation workbook that covers beginning reading skills, counting, addition, math, pencil skills, matching and more.

FREE Alphabet Flashcards
ABC Flashcards
ABC Flashcards
FREE Interactive Song Board BINGO was his Name-O
BINGO song board
FREE 3-Page Letter Matching packet
Letter matching worksheet
Letter Matching worksheet
Posted in Reading

Teach Kids to Read in 5 Easy Steps!

Scroll down to view the first step to learning how to read and click each step to find the skill set your child needs to master.

  1. Develop Pre-Reading Skills First (matching, direction, rhyming, and concepts of print)
  2. Learn Letter Sounds and Names
  3. Blend Letter Sounds together
  4. Reading CVC words and Word Families
  5. Understanding Vowels (Reading Tricky and Long vowel sounds)

Step 1: Develop these Pre-reading Skills First.

What are pre-reading skills? Pre-reading skills are the skills needed before a child can begin to learn how to read. A simplified list of pre-reading skills: matching, direction, motor skills, concepts of print, language skills, and rhyming. Of course, we must develop oral forms of language with newborns and toddlers. Pre-reading skills can also help develop oral language skills.  The 3 FREE worksheet packets below will help develop pre-reading skills and comprehension.


  1. Matching 
    • Young children should learn to match shapes, patterns, letters, and then words. Part of what we do when reading is matching. That is why many adult readers can understand or read material with large amounts of errors.
  2. Concepts of Print
    • It is fine to make up stories at bedtime but reading an actual book helps to emphasize the concept of print. Letters make words when they come together and words make sentences when they are put together. Sentences are put together to make a story. 
    • Teach children how to hold a book properly. Tell them that words and symbols mean something. See if they recognize logos. When reading books to children point out the front cover, back cover, title, author, and illustrator. Teach them how to differentiate the front cover from the back cover of a book.
    • To teach about author and illustrator, say “Eric Carle is the author. What does an author do?” Teach the response “an author writes the words.” Do the same when it comes to the illustrator.
  3. Motor Skills
    • A motor skill is the ability to cause a predetermined movement outcome. Motor learning helps children perform the necessary tasks through practice. Infants love to imitate. Turning the pages of a board book is a great way to build fine motor skills. Every home and every classroom should have a small library. Please buy books for your infant. Soft feel and board books are designed especially for the infant to toddler age group. Use our affiliate link to discover infant and toddler books on amazon
  4. Develop Direction and Sequencing Skills
    • From the beginning of this article, you can already tell that reading books is much more than just knowing the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes. Some adults make the mistake of teaching children sounds, blends, and memorization of words without developing basic skills. Understanding direction and sequencing is a skill that is often skipped when teaching a child how to read. Direction: we read left to right and top to bottom. Sequencing: what comes first, second, third or first, middle, last. 
    • Children must be able to recall what they have read. Children who learn how to sound out words but never learn how to recall events of a story will struggle with reading comprehension.
    • Early intervention can prevent comprehension issues. Build these pre-literacy skills at the toddler stage. This can be done by reading books to little ones and asking questions about the story as you read. To take it a step further, you can ask a child to re-tell the story in the proper order. Do the same with a child’s day, have them retell what they did during the day, in the proper order. A teacher can create a daily schedule and end the preschool day with an afternoon circle time where students tell their favorite part of the day. Ask questions like “What did you do before, we played outside?” This builds sequencing skills. Check out our Unabashed Kids sequencing worksheets for kids age 2 and above.
  5. Develop Rhyming and Language Skills
    • Children may know how to speak their native language but may not recognize some phonemes (sounds) that make up the English vocabulary. Silly songs and rhymes can help draw their attention to these phonemes. Check out the activities below to help build phonemic awareness in toddlers.

Posted in Activity

10 Super Simple Playdoh Activities

Learn and Play with Clay

Playing with play dough, theraputty, or clay is more than just a fun, creative, and relaxing sensory activity. Squishing, pinching, rolling, squeezing, smashing, making shapes, pretend food, and animals with these materials are all great for building muscles in the hands. Theraputty is exceptionally great because it comes in various resistances. Playing with clay is an amazing fine motor activity for children. You can choose to use only your hands, household items, or purchase playdoh toys on amazon. Children will have fun learning and playing with clay using these 10 super simple playdoh activities.

1.) Hide small objects like coins, beads, or tiny stones for your child to hide and bury and then pull out. Please be careful with young children to ensure they do not eat small objects. 

2.) Roll the clay out into a really long log or snake then twist and turn the snake to form letters, shapes, or numbers. 

3.) Roll clay into a string, cut it into small pieces with a scissor. This is a great activity for kids just learning to use scissors.


4.) Pinch off small pieces with just the thumb and index finger to make “confetti”.

5.) Use stamps, puzzle pieces, or letter magnets to press into the putty to also work on educational components. You can even use cups, bowls, spoons, or other household items to make shapes.

6.) Make a rainbow and learn about colors with play dough.

7.) Learn about the weather by making rain and sunshine out of clay.

playdoh sun

8.) Bug-themed fun! Create bugs that children read about all the time. Butterflies, ladybugs, and caterpillars are easy to make with play dough. See our list of 10 Fun Bug and Insect-themed books.

playdoh caterpillar
butterfly playdoh

9.) Read “The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza” then make your clay pizza or other food. 

10.) Practice letter recognition by rolling clay into letters. You make an example and then have the children try.

Unabashed Kids is an affiliate for Amazon. That means that if you use the links found on the blog to make a purchase, we receive a small percentage of the purchase price. It never changes the price you pay and we select every item mentioned on the blog!

Posted in Books and Reading

Plant and Flower Books – Unabashed Kids List

Storytime provides a great opportunity to teach new lessons to children. This list of 12 books about plants and flowers is a wonderful addition to a plant life cycle lesson for children. At the bottom of this post you can take a look at our plant themed lesson plans which include with FREE worksheets.​

12 Books about Flower and Plant Growth


When you purchase any of the 12 books about flower and plant growth, using links on our website, Unabashed Kids may receive a small commission (at no added cost to you). Your support helps us continue to discover and share incredible kids’ books!

Posted in Books and Reading

Summer Reading list for Kindergarteners

Summer learning should be a fun addition to your child’s daily summer break routine. Did you know that children can lose up to three months of crucial reading skills over the summer?

Summer is a wonderful time for children to explore the world around them, and what better way to do so than through the pages of a great book? Whether your child is a budding reader or just beginning to discover the joy of books, we have compiled a list of ten fantastic summer reading books that are perfect for kindergarteners. From silly stories to fascinating facts, these books are sure to spark your child’s imagination and keep them entertained all summer long. So grab a book, find a shady spot, and let the reading adventures begin!

10 Books to Explore with Your Kids This Summer

Summer reading is a great way to keep your children learning and ready to progress academically. 
Below is a summer reading list for kindergarteners that features fun stories for beginning readers.


Have fun exploring these 10 books and more during the summer. To make reading exciting, have fun and interactive story-times. Ask questions and let children talk about what they have read. Include dramatic play activities like recreating scenes from the book or dressing up like a character. 

When you purchase books using links on our website, Unabashed Kids may receive a small commission (at no added cost to you). Your support helps us continue to discover and share incredible kids’ books!

Stay Updated with Unabashed Kids

If your child likes art, take a look at our craft ideas that go along with books.

Posted in Activity

Learning the Parts of a Plant

Parts of a Plant: Lesson Plan and Worksheets for Kids

This article will provide a FREE lesson plan for teachers along with worksheets for kids who are learning the parts of plants.

What are the different parts of a plant?

Teaching Instructions:

​For this activity, you can bring plant to class or even ask your students to bring in a flower to show the class. If you have access to open grass, pick a daisy to show the class. Ask the students questions about the parts of a plant. Is it a flower, tree, or vegetable plant? Where are the different parts of the plants located? Point out the different parts of the plant as the students talk about them. Show the children the stem, roots (if they are any visible), leaves on the plant, petals (flower plants), and/or fruit or vegetable bearings from the plant.

Have students define the vocabulary words listed below. Ask students for definitions before defining the words for them. This gets them thinking and allows you to see how much they already know.

Read a plant book to the children and have them complete a worksheet based on their knowledge level. View worksheets below and check out our unabashed list of books about plants.


plant Vocabulary:

Toddler to Kindergarten

  • Seed
  • Soil
  • Plant
  • Grow
  • Sprout
  • Root
  • Stem
  • leaf

First Grade to 3rd Grade

  • All Toddler to Kindergarten Vocab
  • Flower Buds
  • Seedling
  • Petals
  • living and non-living
  • Germination
  • photosynthesis

Learn about the parts of a plant infographic


Plant and Flower Books – Unabashed Kids List

Storytime provides a great opportunity to teach new lessons to children. This list of 12 books about plants and flowers is a wonderful addition to a plant life cycle lesson for children. At the bottom of this post you can take…