Children that are learning to read and spell enjoy having manipulatives to take something that is abstract like a letter sound and make it more concrete. The girls and I have been reviewing Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com and just2ducks LLC.
Can Do Cubes are hardwood, 26 mm, laser engraved cubes used to compliment any phonics program. They can be used with children ages 3 and up. The starter set includes:
1 tray of stage one cubes
1 tray of stage two cubes
Handbooks for stage one and stage two
CD with templates and worksheets
There are 27 stage one cubes showing one spelling of the 44 different sounds that make up the English language. There are 8 different 6 sided cubes. The tray contains 6 number one cubes with t,p,s,n,i,a, 3 number 3 cubes with c,c,ck,e,h,r, 3 number 3 cubes with m,d,g,o,u,l, 3 number 4 cubes with f,b,ai,j,oa,ie, 3 number 5 cubes with ee,or,z,w,ng,nk, 3 number 6 cubes with v,oo,y,x,ch,sh, 3 number 7 cubes with th,qu,ou,oi,ue,er, and 3 number 8 cubes with ar,ve,se,ce,ge, and y.
There are 32 stage 2 cubes. These cubes show the variations of the 44 different spelling sounds, capital letters, double letters, punctuation, and split digraph cubes. The 20 blocks containing the spelling variations have one sound per block. For example, the block with the sound of /l/ has el,al,l,il,ll,and le. The block with the sound of /e/ has e and ea and the rest of the sides are blank. There are 5 blocks with the capital letters and one block with all the letters in lowercase and capital. Two of the blocks have double letters ss,nn,mm,ll,rr,zz,ff,gg,bb,ff,tt,and pp. Two blocks have punctuation marks and two blocks are connected with string to use for split vowel digraphs a-e, e-e, i-e, o-e, and u-e.
The charts are wall sized and have an overview of the alphabetic code, word lists for stage one and two cubes. The DVD gives an overview of synthetic phonics and how to use the cubes. It also has pronunciation guidance. The CD Rom has several worksheets to use alongside the cubes and suggestions for games you can play with the cubes.
I have used the cubes in a variety of ways. My 7 year old has used the cubes to build her spelling words from Jolly Grammar rather then writing them on paper.
We have played word games with the cubes by throwing them down and seeing what types of words we can build with them.
And Emmie (5) has used the cubes and the worksheets on the CD.
Can Do Cubes are very sturdy, quality blocks. The children have enjoyed using them, especially Lily who would much rather build then write. I love the versatility of the blocks and that you can use them with a wide variety of ages. You can use them with any phonics curriculum you already have, use them with the worksheets on the CD, or use them alongside other products from jollyliteracy.com .
Because the blocks are 6 sided with different letters on each side, it can take a little while to find the letter you are looking for. Using them with my younger daughter was a little easier because I gave her the number one blocks first and then the number two when she needed them so she wouldn't have to search around. The spelling words were a little more difficult because she had to find which block she needed and then turn it to find the correct letter. Over a longer period of time when you get each block and it's letters memorized may make it easier.
To see what my Crew Mates had to say, stop by the Crew Blog!