When two vowels go walking…

When two vowels go walking …

It is more than a little helpful to have a handy set of flash cards ready to prompt younger learners and give them reading cues. When learning about “vowel pairs”, for example, cue cards like these are colourful and attractive:

As the time-honoured reading prompt goes: “When two vowels go walking, the first does the talking …” Then, feeling smug with your handy flash cards, you help the child out with the picture provided: “oa” makes “coat.”

To my surprise, the most effective set of flash cards that I have used with my Gr. 1 student is one that she created herself. When I uttered the phrase “when two vowels go walking …” she immediately drew some minuscule legs on a couple of little vowels:


Note that the first attempt had a minor error: the order of the vowels. I urged her to reconsider: the first does the talking. She re-arranged accordingly and proceeded to create different vowel pairs “meeting” each other. The following results were stupendous:


The student rapidly became familiar with which vowels formed which pairs. The truth is, the effectiveness of these homemade flash cards should not have come as a surprise to me. Involving the child in the learning process is essential to developing their ability to retain the concepts and apply them.




Spring at Little House


Spring has officially sprung here at Little House, and we are celebrating the changing of the seasons with a new writing contest! This new contest will not only challenge our students’ imaginations but also their poetry skills. In order to be in the running for the mystery prize, the students must write an acrostic poem centered around spring time.

Acrostics are a fun poetic form that anyone can write by following just a few simple guidelines. To begin, an acrostic poem is a poem in which the first letters of each line spell out a word or phrase. For our acrostic, we will be spelling out the word “SPRING”. Usually, the first letter of each line is capitalized, as this makes it easier to see the word spelled vertically down the page. The nice thing about acrostic poems is that they don’t need to rhyme, and they don’t have to follow a specific rhythm.

Students are encouraged to participate in the contest by brainstorming about what they think of when they think of spring, and creating a descriptive acrostic poem!


Little House Introduces Multi-Sensory Tutoring for French


Little House offers multi-sensory tutoring for students in French Immersion and students who are starting to learn French as a second language.

Little House provides multi-sensory training for phonics in French, inspired by the Orton-Gillingham and the Borel-Maisonny phonetic and gestural methodology. In addition to the visual and auditory memory, each sound is associated with a specific gesture that will help memorization, but also act as a link between the sound and its graphic representation.

Learning two languages can be very challenging. Our private or group tutoring classes will ensure success and confidence.

Fractions: Numerators and Denominators

Fractions: Numerators and Denominators
When students are first learning fractions, it can be tricky for them to remember the difference between the numerator and the denominator. I start by explaining that a fraction is a part of a whole- like a piece of a pie. Each fraction has two parts: the top number and the bottom number. The bottom number represents how many pieces the pie was cut in to, and the top number represents how many of those pieces of pie are left. I like to have my student write a fraction, and then draw that fraction as a piece or pieces of pie to incorporate multi-sensory learning.
Once they understand this concept, I use a pneumonic device and a drawing to help them remember that the top number is called the numerator, and the bottom number is called the denominator. I tell them, “the numerator is number one, and the denominator is downstairs!”




Learning how to count syllables and break down words can be a helpful tool for students who have a basic understanding of how to read sight words and shorter, more simple vocabulary, but who are ready to make the jump into reading and writing more complex words. Breaking down longer words like “extravagant” can be useful when taught in bunches. Ex-tra-va-gant can be taught in sync with words with the same suffix, like “brill-i-ant”, “im-por-tant”, and “dis-tant”. Setting these up on a page so that a student can join the first part of the word with its suffix helps to solidify the practice of breaking up words into more manageable parts.



Valentine’s Day Origins

Valentine’s Day Origins

Saint Valentine.jpg

Millions of people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th, but few know the origins of its significance. Valentine’s Day, in our part of the world, is largely celebrated as a romantic holiday shared with a significant other or a partner, as a time to commemorate love for each other, although there are many exceptions to this generality. Many know of Valentine Day’s relations to Pagan, Roman, and Christian traditions, but the origins of the holiday itself has a rather muddled story, even among 3rd century historians.

As there are many hypothesises as to where Valentine’s Day originated from, the most well-known among the general public is centred around Saint Valentine, who saw injustice in a law that prohibited soldiers from marrying their partners. Valentine thought that this law was unjust and spoke out against it, resulting in the projection of his actions as a romantic gesture of passion.

This is merely one of the stories that is known and rarely told, but many others are not verbalized—I suggest you to examine and question the origins of other holidays that you celebrate, and to think analytically about why it is that you celebrate them—perhaps as an additional homework assignment to stretch your investigative brain muscles!



History.com Staff. (2009). History of Valentine’s Day. A + E Networks.



Siepel, A. (2011). The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day. NPR.



Brunner, B. (2004). Valentine’s Day History. InfoPlease.


Homophones < Tic Tac Toe

Homophones < Tic Tac Toe


When my younger students have a hard time staying motivated with their Language Arts learning, I play Tic Tac Toe with them. When learning feels like playing games, students are more likely to stay engaged. For example, we recently read a book that taught us about homophones. Homophones are words that sound the same, but have different origins and meanings, such as root and route, tail and tale, and see and sea. I line a piece of paper with a tic tac toe board, fill in the squares with different homophone words, and ask the student to read each word, explain its meaning, and name its homophone and its respective meaning. We use different colours and alternate crossing out words, until one of us wins by creating a row or column. In addition, I slip this sheet into a plastic folder so I can re-use it again—repetition from the book reading, tic tac toe, and review help with comprehension!