Reading PK-3

Systems Change



Providing physical representations of concepts helps activate mental processes. Learners understand concepts more deeply through hands-on experimentation and exploration with manipulatives.

Use It in the Classroom

Watch how this teacher incorporates rhyme and tangibles to support the development of Phonological Awareness. As learners practice manipulating sounds to rhyme words, they use their Working Memory and apply their Alphabet Knowledge.

  • Literacy manipulatives can be used to build Morphological Awareness and Phonological Awareness through the tactile interactions of manipulating sounds and letters in words. For example, words with letter cubes or building sentences with word cards promotes letter-sound association and a greater understanding of Syntax.
  • Design It into Your Product

    Videos are chosen as examples of strategies in action. These choices are not endorsements of the products or evidence of use of research to develop the feature.

    Learn how a developer created an interactive word game that builds foundational reading skills. Seeing and hearing parts of words supports Alphabet Knowledge, Phonological Awareness, Morphological Awareness, Decoding, and Sight Recognition.

  • Developers can create word-building digital manipulatives inspired by physical manipulatives such as Reading Rods, Bananagrams, and Hink Pink to help learners connect different combinations of letters to build words of varying complexity. Adding in color-coding can facilitate stronger pattern connections for early literacy skills such as Alphabet Knowledge and Decoding.
  • Resources

    Below are additional examples, research, and professional development. These resources are possible representations of this strategy, not endorsements.