I try very hard to get creative when teaching my own children to read. When I say hard, I mean, how can I teach them to read in minimal time with maximum results?

I’m a busy mom and honestly, I don’t know any mom that says she’s not busy. Busy with work, busy cleaning, busy cooking, busy blogging, busy with 10 loads of laundry, busy being a chauffeur, busy keeping all of the kids in one piece!

For goodness sake, we are just trying to survive and keep our children alive and now they have to read?

That is why I have come up with NAPKIN READING…

NAPKING READING you ask? Yes! Every morning, I write little love notes to each of my children. Then after my little personal note, I teach them a quick lesson. With a child that is just starting to read, you will want them to read their special napkin in the morning, before you put it in their lunch box, so you can guide them if they have any difficulties.

WHY HIGH FREQUENCY WORDS? You will notice that my mini NAPKIN lessons combine the feature your child is learning as well as a few high frequency words. In order to read, your child must be fluent with his/her high frequency words. High frequency words are extremely important because they tend to be irregular and are not able to be sounded out or because they appear so frequently in text that your child should know the word automatically. These words make up 50%-60% of your child’s reading. If your child is fluent and automatic with high frequency words, he/she will be less frustrate while learning to read.

Example for a child learning short vowels:

High Frequency Words: I, love, you, the, is

Feature: Short ă words: cat, fat


I love you.

The cat is fat.



Example for a child learning blends:

High Frequency Words: have, happy, day

Feature: L Blend vs non-blends: plan vs pan; slip vs sip, blop vs bop


Have a happy day!

plan    pan

slip      sip

blop    bop



Example for a child learning digraphs:

High Frequency Words: I, love, you, have, school

Feature: digraph SH vs S vs H (it’s ok to use nonsense words) ship, sip, hit, shop, sop, hop, shot, sot, hot


I love you. Have fun at school!

ship     sip   hit

shop    sop  hop

shot     sot   hot



Example for a child learning long vowel ā:

High Frequency Words: have, happy, day, today, love

Feature: short ă vs long ā: can, cane, bat, bate, mat, mate, fat, fate


Have a happy day today!

can         cane

bat         bate

mat        mate

fat          fate



The feature words and examples are provided in each chapter of Teach Your Child To Read In Less Than 10 Minutes A Day! Stretch & Catch Words. By Amanda McNamara Lowe


When a child is first learning to spell, they use “kid spelling” to write down every sound that they hear in a word. For example, my five year old was recently given a spelling test at school and this is what it looked like:

  1. jet
  2. sip (ship)
  3. bet
  4. got
  5. jrum (drum)
  6. bup   (bump)
  7. muh (much)
  8. wis   (wish)
  9. map
  10. hop
  11. plan
  12. cap

When I get to see a child’s authentic spelling, it tells me a lot about that child. So of course, when it’s my own child, I get very excited to see what they can do. If I were to analyze her test, or any other child’s test, I first start with what she knows.

What is known: beginning and ending consonants, short vowels, blends

What is unknown: nothing

What is the child using but confusing: affricates (jr=dr), preconsonantal nasals (m=mp), digraphs (sh, ch)

“Kid Spelling” should inform a teacher of what the child knows, what is completely unknown to the child, and what the child is using but confusing. The teacher then automatically knows that this child’s instructional level of learning is where he/she is “using but confusing” his/her sounds. Of course, because I’m the “spelling mom” I review my child’s work immediately with her and show her what sounds she “used but confused”.

For the next few weeks, while she is taking a bath, we review digraphs, preconsonantal nasals and affricates for her to write on the wall with soap suds. This is her very favorite place to learn how to spell. I like to usually teach my children in places that appear to be a more fun environment to learn; on a walk, in the car, in the bath, in the shower…anywhere that doesn’t “look” like I’m teaching them.

Now when my third and fifth grader come home with misspelled words, I look at it quite differently. If they misspell any word, I automatically write the correct spelling of that word above the misspelled word and review it with them.

WHY? I don’t truly believe in kid spelling. In order to know how to spell a word correctly, a child must understand the pattern within that word. After that child encounters that one word spelled the same each time, it will become imprinted in their brain. An imprint is a fancy way of saying memorize. Therefore, a child has imprinted the word into the brain to make it permanent.

BUT WHY? What if a child continues to spell the word, bear like, “bare” and this child writes this word over and over? The incorrect spelling is now imprinted in this child’s brain.

Think how hard it would be to unlearn something that is permanent in your brain.

So the next time your child uses “kid spelling,” simply write the correct spelling above the misspelled word and review it with them.

According to the, “Recall or retrieval of memory refers to the subsequent re-accessing of events or information from the past, which have been previously encoded and stored in the brain. In common parlance, it is known as remembering.”