CDSD Grade 1 Family Letter

Reading, Writing, Listening, & Speaking

Unit 1: Getting Started

Key Learning:

Good readers use strategies to understand fiction and nonfiction texts.

Good writers use complete sentences to express their thoughts.


Help your child learn how to:
  • use complete sentences to share experiences, idea, feelings, and opinions clearly.


  • Initiate conversations with your child.
  • Encourage asking questions to find out more information.
  • Promote active listening and attention.
  • Re-phrase student's sentence structure or grammar by repeating sentences properly.


Help your child learn how to:
  • identify the first sound in a spoken word.
  • identify when two words rhyme.
  • after hearing two words, put them together to say a compound word (sail + boat = sailboat).
  • after hearing a compound word, break it apart to say two separate words. (sailboat = sail & boat).
  • after hearing a compound word, change part of the word to make a new word. (change sail in sailboat to row. What's the word? rowboat)
  • After hearing a word, add another word to make a compound word. (Add sail to the beginning of boat and what do you get? sailboat)
  • After hearing a compound word, take one of the parts away. (Take away boat from sail boat and what do you get? sail)
  • Identify the number of words in a sentence.


  • Read books that have many rhyming words in them. Ask your child to repeat the words that rhyme.
  • Create silly rhymes based on categories. (Category: Family Members Dad: "Not blom, but..." Child: "Mom")
  • Read nursery rhymes to your child.
  • Say a sentence and have your child drop a coin into a cup for every word she hears. Then have her count the coins to see how many words are in the sentence.
Learn to Count Number of Words in a Sentence


Help your child learn how to:
  • when shown a vowel, make the short vowel sound (a in cat, e in hen, i in pig, o in box, u in hug).
  • when a short vowel sound is made, write the correct vowel.
  • when shown one of the following letters, make the letter sound: t, m, s, b, c, f. r, h, n, j, p, l, g, d, v, & w
  • when one of the following letter sounds is made, write the correct letter: t, m, s, b, c, f. r, h, n, j, p, l, g, d, v, & w
  • read and write short vowel words with t, m, s, b, c, f. r, h, n, j, p, l, g, d, v, & w (e.g., cab, met, Tim, sob, cut)
  • write the following letters with correct formation: A, a, T, t, M, m, S, s, B, b, C, c, F, f, R, r, H, h, N, n, J, j, P, p, L, l, G, g, D, d, V, v, I, i, W, & w.


  • Make a several three letter short a words out of magnetic letters or letter tiles. Point to each letter and make its sound and then read the whole word. Make some more three letter words. Point to each letter and have your child say each sound with you. Then, read the whole word with your child. Make several more three letter words. Have your child point to each letter and say its sound. Then, have your child read the whole word.
  • Use magnetic letters or letter tiles to make three letter short a words.
  • Have your child build the words with magnetic letters or letter tiles.
  • Write each word on a different sticky note. Stick the words on the walls in your child's bedroom. Give your child a flashlight and turn off the lights. Say a word or make and have your child shine the light on the word. Let your child tell you a word to find.
  • Put some sugar, sand, shaving cream on a cookie sheet or plate. Have your child use his finger to "write" the words. Have him name each letter while he "writes" the word.
  • Give your child a cup of water and a paint brush. Have your child use the water and paintbrush to write each word on the sidewalk. He should say each letter as he writes the word.
Learn to read short a words. CVC Words such as cat hat cap rat map ran mat
Continuous Word Blending Routine
How to teach successive blending


Help your child learn how to:
  • categorize books as fiction (made up) or nonfiction (real).
  • explain the differences between fiction and nonfiction books.


  • Read to your child daily.
  • When you go to the library, talk about the fiction section and the nonfiction sections.
  • In library, search for a fiction and nonfiction book on the same topic (Cat in the Hat and How to Care for Your Cat).
  • When reading to your child, identify if the book is fiction or nonfiction and explain why.
  • Give your child some books and have her sort them into fiction and nonfiction.
  • Have your child organize the books on her bookshelf by grouping all the fiction books together and the nonfiction books together.


During this unit your child will be exposed to the following types of texts:

  • Realistic Fiction (Example: Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats)
  • Fantasy (Example: The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss)
  • Fable (Example: The Tortoise and the Hare by Jerry Pinkney)
  • Fairy Tale or Folktale (Example: Cinderella by Marcia Brown and The Little Red Hen by Lucinda McQueen)
  • Personal Narrative (Example: The Short Cut, by Donald Crews)


  • Take your child to the library and check out books from the types listed above.
  • Use the list above when selecting books for your child to read and books for you to read to your child.


Help your child learn how to:
  • identify where a sentence begins by pointing to the capital letter.
  • identify where a sentence ends by pointing to the period, question mark, or exclamation point.
  • with help from an adult, write a complete sentence that begins with a capital letter and ends with a period.


  • When reading together, point out where sentences begin and end.
  • When reading together, have your child point to the beginning and ending of sentences.
  • Using sidewalk chalk, have your child write sentences.
  • Write each word of a short sentence on an index card. Place the cards in order on the table in front of your child. Read the sentence to your child as you point to each word. Mix up the cards. Have your child put the sentence back together. Read the sentence together.


  • consonant: a letter that is not a vowel
  • conversation: a talk between two or more people
  • exclamation point: a stop sign at the end of a sentence that is used to show a strong feeling
  • fiction: a made up story; sometimes it seems like it could really happen
  • nonfiction: a text that shares facts about a topic
  • period: a stop sign at the end of a telling sentence
  • question: to ask something
  • question mark: a stop sign at the end of an asking question
  • sentence: a group of words that tell a complete thought or idea
  • short vowel: one of the vowel sounds a vowel can make



Reading Rockets

This is a great resource where parents can find information in helping their children become successful readers, writers, and thinkers.


This is a website where first grade children can practice early reading skills.


Endless Alphabet

Skill: Print Awareness, Phonics, Spelling, Vocabulary

Device: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Price: $4.99 - $6.99

Letters transform into living toys that voice their names. Children learn that one letter works with others to build words and sentences.

Alpha Writer

Skill: Phonics, Spelling

Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Price: $4.99

Alpha Writer is a app that helps teach children letter sounds and how to form words by combining different letter sounds. Children physically manipulate letters onscreen. They will hear the sound of each letter as they touch it, and can position letters in any order they please to form words.

Bob Books Reading Magic #1

Skill: Phonics, Spelling

Device: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Price: $3.99

Bob Books Reading Magic #1 will teach children early phonics skills. Children learn the sounds letters make and how to combine them to make short words. Children will drag letters for the given words to the proper place below the picture, while the app sounds out the letters to read the word aloud.

Elkonin Boxes

Skill: Phonemic Awareness (hearing sounds in words)

Device: iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Price: $0.99

Elkonin boxes helps beginning readers practice an important foundational skill: the ability to segment and blend sounds that make up words.

Writing Wizard

Skill: Phonics, Handwriting

Device: Android, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch

Price: $4.99

Writing Wizard helps children practice tracing letters, numbers, and words while learning letter names and letter sounds.


Rhyme Time - Hooked on Phonics: Learn to Read
Phonics - Short /ă/ Sound
Short Vowel Letter a/English4abc/Phonics song
Aa | ABC Alphabet | Fun Phonics | How to Read | Made by Kids vs Phonics
Learn to Read | Phonics for Kids | The Alphabet from A - Z
Learn to Read | Rhyming Words for Kids | CAT & HAT
Three Letter Blending A | Short Vowels,Beginning Readers, Pre-Readers Phonics Lesson
Reading machine, middle a, CVC words, blending 3 letter words, lowercase, phonics.
Learn to Read | One Syllable Words | Red Level
Phonics | Learn to Read | Spell the Word 'Man'
Learn to Read | Vowels | Letter 'I'
3 Letter Blending Short Vowel I Words- Beginning Readers, Pre-Readers Phonics Lessons
Practice Blending Sounds for Reading- CVC Words
Word Families 1 | The Cat Sat | Phonics | Little Fox | Animated Stories for Kids
Word Families 2 | Sam Has Ham | Phonics | Little Fox | Animated Stories for Kids
Word Families 5 | We Tap on a Map | Phonics | Little Fox | Animated Stories for Kids
Word Families 3 | Dan Ran | Phonics | Little Fox | Animated Stories for Kids
Word Families 4 | Dad Is Mad | Phonics | Little Fox | Animated Stories for Kids
Fiction or Nonfiction
Nonfiction vs. Fiction
Nonfiction vs Fiction UPDATED
The Sentence Song | English Songs | Scratch Garden
Sentence Song (US Version)
Punctuation in English | Punctuation At The End Of A Sentence| 1st Grade
Short /ĭ/ Sound - Phonics by TurtleDiary
Short Vowel Letter i/English4abc/Phonics song
i | ABC Alphabet | Fun Phonics | How to Read | Made by Kids vs Phonics