Lesson plan

Read with Beads

Build words with this fun lesson for emergent readers. Using beads and pipe cleaners, your students will enjoy working with manipulatives to create three- and four-letter words!
Need extra help for EL students? Try theHands On ReadingAnd So Many Sounds in a CVC WordPre-lessons.
EL Adjustments
GradeSubjectView aligned standards
Need extra help for EL students? Try theHands On ReadingAnd So Many Sounds in a CVC WordPre-lessons.

Students will be able to isolate a three-letter word into its three sounds and write three-letter CVC words.

The adjustment to the whole group lesson is a modification to differentiate for children who are English learners.
EL adjustments
(5 minutes)
  • Draw three squares (or circles, depending on the shape of your beads) on the board and write the letters "B," "A," and "T" in the shapes to form the word Bat.
  • Tell students that the word is BatAnd that there are three sounds in the word.
  • Cover up all letters except B and say the sound for B. Explain that this is the initial, or beginning sound of the word and it is a consonant. Remind students what consonants are.
  • Do the same with the two remaining letters. Tell students that AIs the medial vowel sound and that TIs the final consonant sound.
(5 minutes)
  • Say each sound again slowly, isolating each sound.
  • As you say each sound, slide a bead onto your pipe cleaner, but keep the beads separated as you place them on the pipe cleaner.
  • Repeat saying each sound, having the students say them with you and pointing to the beads that represent the sound.
  • Explain that you are going to slide the beads together to form a word.
  • As you slide the beads together, say the word slowly, blending the sounds.
  • Once the beads are in place, say the word as you would normally speak it.
(10 minutes)
  • Repeat the previous procedure for the word Rat, and have the students do the activity with you.
  • As you do the word, have the students place the beads on their own pipe cleaners.
  • Once the students have their three beads on the pipe cleaners, repeat the activity using other three-letter words.
  • Next, have students pair with a partner and share words with three sounds while using their bead slides.
(5 minutes)
  • Have students share some of the words they came up with during the partnered activity with the whole class.
  • Correct students who may have mistaken a word with more than three sounds by adding beads to your pipe cleaner slide as you say the word slowly.


  • Pre-make bead slides for your students, or use larger beads with bigger holes. If your students struggle with isolating sounds, write the letters directly on the beads and limit the words used during practise.


  • Instruct your students to form bead slides for words containing more than three sounds. Give them additional beads to practise this challenge. Encourage your students to use the bead slides for segmenting syllables in multisyllable words.
(5 minutes)
  • Walk around the room and observe students in their pairs.
  • Instruct your students to write the words they formed in a writing journal or on a dry-erase board.
(10 minutes)
  • Go around the class and have each student give a CVC word and isolate the sounds.

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