Let's Stretch It Out

We have a printable resource that can support part of your reading program. 

It is not a reading program itself, but can help your students when they come to unknown words in text they are reading. We always recommend using a range of resources to teach reading, these prompts could be just a small part. 

Stretchy Snake can remind your students to:
  • say the letter-sounds 
  • carefully listen 
when they come to an unknown word in a text. 

But what else could the concept of a stretchy snake help you with in the classroom? Really, stretching something out is simply,
  • providing processing time
  • isolating individual components
  • providing opportunity for something to be identified (e.g. seeing c-a-t in its parts allows it to be more carefully differentiated from c-a-n)

Reading non-phonetically regular words

When you model reading and how to attempt big words you may say to your students something like let's slow down like stretchy snake and say all the letters and chunks in this word slowly to see if we can identify the word. You know some of  the sounds from our phonics lessons.

Here in an Australian indigenous story - When the Snake Bites the Sun, the word 'suddenly' could be slowed down s-u-dd-en-ly as you read! 

Attempting to Write 

As students try to write words, suggest they be like Stretchy Snake - with head, middle and 'tail'. What can they hear at the beginning of the word they are trying to write (as they say it slowly c-a-t), what can they hear next, what is at the end?

During Phonics Activities

As students are completing phonics work, segmenting sounds - tell them that as they stretch the word, they can reveal all of its letters!

Stretch a Sentence

Play a class game. Give them a word to start - e.g. cat. Guide them in adding one new word at a time to build a long sentence. Each child in the group can add the next word. Record it on a board or chart to model writing. 

Stretch Words Actively

Play an action game - let your students stretch physically! Tell them to start curled up on the ground and then stand up slowing stretching out like a long stretchy snake coming out of a basket, until their fingertips are reaching for the ceiling. As they stretch, ask them to vocalize a word being segmented into its parts.

This post gives you just a few extra ideas for using our Stretchy Snake prompt stick. There are probably hundreds more. Model for your students how learners:
  • can take a concept from one learning area and associate it with another
  • can be creative and flexible
  • have fun
  • know that there is often no 'right way' to do something and we need to combine ideas 
  • transfer strategies and content from one subject area to another - that we can link ideas 
We are very confident that when you are flexible with resources like this you will witness some amazing magical things in your classroom - perhaps your students will devise ways of applying a 'stretchy snake' analogy to something else - let the sparks fly!