As I mentioned in my Jolly Literacy Grammar and Phonics Review, my not-so-littles are starting kindergarten here soon. To go along with our other Jolly Literacy kindergarten materials, we also received a set of Can Do Cubes from jollyliteracy.com (just2ducks LLC) for review.
Can Do Cubes Review
The idea of using wooden blocks for phonics/letter recognition is not a new concept for us, and actually, just prior to receiving the blocks I had just watched a video on Simply Charlotte Mason about practical, simple ways to teach young children to read. Using different tools (thinking outside of flashcards) is something I struggled with in the beginning of our homeschooling. In the video, she shares some great ideas about how to use toys, like wooden blocks, in everyday learning.
Included in our set for review was:
- 1 tray of Stage 1 cubes
- 1 tray of Stage 2 cubes
- Handbook for Stage 1
- Handbook for Stage 2
- DVD (with interactive “sounding out” of letter/sound correlations)
- Phonics chart
- Word chart
- Access to all current and future template/worksheets available on the website
What are Can Do Cubes?
Stage 1: the simple alphabetic code
Stage 1 is all about speaking and listening skills, pre-reading activities, focusing on the sound of each letter/blend (/s/) – not the name “s”, memorizing letter shapes and sounds, and learning to correctly hold a pencil.
Stage 2: enjoying synthetic phonics: a multi-sensory approach
Stage 2 is much more advanced. Split digraphs, vowels and consonants, capital letters and punctuation, and other concepts are explored.
Here’s a neat video about the cubes…
How we are using Can Do Cubes
The Can Do Cubes have been a delightful edition to our quasi-daily routine learning time. I’ve been using the Bob books to help the littles take that first step in word recognition for a while. I took what we were already doing and just added the Cubes to it. For example, after reading one of the books, I’d have the kids pick a word or two and spell it out using the cubes. Sometimes just two words is all they feel like doing. And other times they wanted to spell out the entire book! It just depends on the day.
In other less structured ways we’ve also been using the cubes to spell our names, colors, and so on. There really is no limit to what you can do with them. Because neither of my kindergartners are writing yet, this has been an excellent way for them to spell things out without the use of a writing utensil. They already know their letters and sounds, so this has been the perfect next step for them.
I appreciate the quality of the blocks too. I believe that as long as we take good care of them, we’ll be able to use them for many years to come.