Thursday, December 13, 2012

Gluten Free 101

So you just found out you need to maintain a gluten free diet. Now what? What can I eat? What should I eat? The truth is that the healthiest route is to avoid GF specialty items. Baked goods made with GF flours tend to be less healthy than the wheat versions. You are better off without all of those refined white flours. To make GF baked food taste good you usually need any number of starches, like tapioca starch, which is really nutritionally void. However, when you have had your fill of fresh vegetables, quinoa, brown rice, and grilled chicken breasts, and are ready for a burger on a bun or some pizza, you need to know what is good and what is not.

When there are 12 different GF bread mixes, which one is good? In this post I will share with you what my family has found to be "the best" after 10 years of trial and error and eating gluten free.

First, I found there were lots of great "from scratch" recipes. I did that for awhile but found I needed to keep about a dozen different flours and starches on hand for every different recipe. That became cost prohibitive and a pain in the neck. I narrowed it down to a few favorite mixes. I've included a link to the product website with each photo. Most company websites have a way to find which stores in your area sell the product.

Breads and baked goods

Gluten Free Pantry
 First, the bread. We tried several Gf bread mixes. I tried some that were "healthier", had more whole grains, but they just were not as good. Ten years later, the best bread is The Gluten Free Pantry Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix. Throw it in the bread maker and in a few hours you have a beautiful loaf that even non-gluten free people cannot resist. In older blog posts I show how I make a little healthier Brown Bread with some add-ins.

It also makes a great pizza crust. We use this method of making pizza when we cook pizza in the dutch oven on camping trips.

In another post I show how to use one box of this bread mix to make bread for Three Meals, including hamburger buns.

Keeping a few boxes of this on hand will do more than provide bread for sandwiches.

If you don't want to make your own sandwich bread and/or hamburger buns, our favorites are Canyon Bakehouse Mountain white bread, and Canyon Bakehouse hamburger buns. Grilled cheese sandwiches on this bread is a frequent lunch at our house.

While you can make great pizza crust with the bread mix, for a nice thin crust pizza we really like Namaste brand pizza crust mix. This is what we usually use for our weekly Saturday night pizza.

Namaste Food

 We usually make fresh pizza, but I always have a few Udi's pizza crusts in the freezer for when I need to throw together a quick meal at the last minute that the kids will eat. These are really yummy! A little tomato sauce and cheese and you are all set! You can also brush on a little olive oil and seasonings for a nice crisp flat bread (They served it like that as an appetizer at Disneyland and now we do it at home!)

Another staple at my house is Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix. This does contain almond flour and milk, so if you are avoiding either of those this won't work for you. The almond flour adds a nice texture along with some protein and fiber that is lacking in most GF flours. I share my favorite scone recipe in my Staples for a Gluten Free Kitchen post.

These make great pancakes. I have also found that I can use this mix, cup for cup, to replace "regular" flour in most "regular" recipes for things like muffins, quick breads, and cookies. Just keep in mind that this mix already has baking soda in it, so you can leave it out of the recipe.

For the BEST chocolate chip cookies follow the same recipe you always have on the back of the chocolate chip bag, using Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix instead of the flour and baking soda. They are so yummy! For the best cookies use the Ghirardelli brand dark chocolate chips because they are all natural (most brand have artificial vanilla, "vanillin", which is just gross. Do some research and you'll agree.)


 Pamela's Gluten-Free Bread Mix also makes great bread and rolls. I really like the bagel recipe on the back. Both of the Pamela's mixes can be purchased in large bags to save some money.

I keep all of my flours and mixes in the refrigerator to extend shelf life.
 For the best brownies, you must try the Pamela's Chocolate Brownie Mix. You can bring these to a pot luck and never mention that they are GF and your friends will be asking you for the recipe.

What about chocolate cake? King Arthur Flour recently came out with a line of gluten free mixes. The quality is excellent! You can make a moist and delicious chocolate cake using the King Arthur gluten free chocolate cake mix. To do any chocolate cake justice you must frost it with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING

King Arthur Gluten Free


You don't have to live without pasta!! I absolutely love the Tinkyada brand pasta. They come in every pasta shape, including lasagna. They are made from brown rice, rice bran and water, so they are actually whole grain and healthy. I found all of the other pasta brands I tried were too mushy. These you can cook and eat al dente:


One of the hardest things about eating gluten free is when you are on the go. It is hard to stop and grab a quick bite to eat. Fortunately, that saves you from most drive throughs. I'm glad to say that I've never taken my kids to McDonalds. We do enjoy some hand scooped milk shakes and french fries from a dedicated frier at Carl's Jr. now and then, I must admit. 

You can always have fruit and nuts. Those are pretty easy to keep on hand. I also like some beef jerky or cheese sticks when I need some protein. These are some favorite GF snacks to have on the go:

The think thin high protein bars are gluten free. My favorite is the crunchy peanut butter!
Think Thin

Glutino makes great GF pretzels (and if you are lucky you can find the chocolate covered ones for a treat!)


We all like the Crunchmaster brand crackers, especially the Multi-Grain varieties. They taste very buttery to me, though they have no butter in them. The kids like them and they have whole grain in them, enough said.

Finally, don't forget to pick up some Bob's Red Mill ground flax meal. I throw a tablespoon or more into just about everything I bake for a little extra fiber, nutrients and healthy fats. The kids have never complained and I don't even hide that I do it
Now tell me, what is your favorite gluten free specialty food?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Growing Readers: Kindergarten Sight Words Reading Books

Once you get started in teaching your child sight words as outlined in Kindergarten Sight Words and Early Reading Skills, you are ready to begin reading!

After your child can has been introduced to the sight words from list 1 (he does not need to know them well, just an introduction to them is enough), he is ready for his first emergent-reader book. Your child will begin by reading books with sight words that you have introduced to him, and the Guided Reading Level A. In a Level A book you will notice that the book is sight word based, has a repeated pattern, and one line of text consistently placed in upper left to reinforce directionality (reading from left to right). By using leveled reading books you are able to help your child grow as a reader in a developmentally appropriate way. In Kindergarten your child will move through levels A-D.
Typically, children go through specific stages of development as they progress from nonreaders to fluent readers. In leveled reading, books are written to various levels of difficulty, gradually introducing developing readers to new challenges.
There are many sources for downloading and printing guided reading books that are leveled this way. I have a few books that I have written which can be downloaded.

Start by downloading the free book, Fruit which uses sight words from list 1.

Guided reading is a process of "guiding" your child through a book and gradually giving them more and more independence as they grow as a reader. Keep in mind what your child is learning and becoming proficient in at this level:
  • 1 to 1 correspondence
  • Directional movement
  • An introduction of sight words
  • Using initial letter

Pages one and two of the book, Fruit:

Reading the new book

This set of directions to introduce and read a new book can be used for all of the Kindergarten Guided Reading levels A-D.

  1. Predictions: Show your child the front of the book and tell them the title.  Ask your child, "What do you think this book will be about? What different kinds of fruit might we see in this book?"
  2. Picture walk: Ask your child to open the book and look through the pages and tell you what are in the pictures. If your child does not know what some of the pictures are you can tell them. Talk about the pictures in the book. You can ask things like, "Which fruit is your favorite" to help get them to make a connection with the book.
  3. Locate known words: Turn to a page in the book and ask you child to find a word that he knows (on of the sight words you have introduced). Do this with one or two words in the book, no more.
  4. Find an unknown word: Cover up the words with your hand and point to a picture and ask, "Say the word 'strawberry' with me. What letter would you expect to see at the beginning of the word strawberry?" Say the word slowly and emphasize the initial sound if you need to. If they can't tell them then you simply tell them. Next remove your hand and ask them to show you the word strawberry, and show you the "S" at the beginning of the word. Do this with one or two words in the book, no more.
  5. Read the first page of the book, modeling pointing to each word as you say it (1 to 1 correspondence), moving left to right. After the first page tell them, "You read the rest."
  6. Guide and assist as needed. If they have trouble with 1 to 1 correspondence then help them. If they say the wrong words (they say "I see the strawberry." instead of "Here is the strawberry." tell them "Something didn't look right, let's try that again. Draw their attention to the first word, "here" and read it with them.
You can easily make you own little books using the sight words your child knows and/or is learning. Use the sight word sentences as a place to start. You want to start with books at level A and B:

  • Sight word based
  • Repeated pattern throughout the book
  • Supporting pictures
  • Level A has one line of text on each page
  • Level B has two lines of text on each page so that your child can practice "return sweep" to go back to the left of the line below when they get to the end of the line.

Take the book Fruit as an example. Below is the text (and supporting photo)
Here is the strawberry. (strawberry)
Here is the banana. (banana)
Here is the pineapple. (pineapple)
Here is the watermelon. (watermelon)
Here is the apple. (apple)

Make a book about your family:
I see Mom. (photo of Mom)
I see Dad. (photo of Dad)
I see Jackson. (photo of Jackson)
I see Emma. (photo of Emma)
I see Fluffy. (photo of fluffy)

You can print photos from your computer, or you can have your child draw the pictures. When you print the text, remember to leave extra space between the words to help your child see the individual words. When typing double space between words.

Use stickers to make a book. If you have a sheet of farm stickers make a book about the farm. You can your child can have lots of fun making and illustrating books together, and it will only cost you the paper that you use!

If you want to look at buying books to print or purchase here are a few more places to look for books  at levels A-D (in most places you will find free samples and free trials):
The Ready to Read program fits in nicely with the Growing Readers program if you are looking for more downloads to purchase. Ready2Read

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Homeschooler -

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Growing Readers: Kindergarten Sight Word Sentences

After being introduced to the first 5 sight words your child can read a simple sentence.

These lessons will teach the following Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten:
Print Concepts1. Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
a. Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
b. Recognize that spoken words are represented in written languageby specific sequences of letters.
c. Understand that words are separated by spaces in print 
Phonics and Word Recognition3. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text.
c. Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).

Practice reading Sight Word Sentences

Reading the sentence with give them the chance to practice 1 to 1 correspondence, directional movement, the sight words and using initial letter. Write or print out the sentence below, and include a picture of a cat. Leave big spaces between the words, double space if you type it. This helps your early reader to distinguish between separate words. Strips of card stock work well:

1 to 1 correspondence: This is learning that you say one word for each word on the page. As your child is learning this they can point to each word as they say it. Their finger should be right below the word, not covering it. Model for them how to read the sentence putting your finger under each word as they say it. If they need help you can point and say the words while holding their finger, or having them rest their hand on top of yours. Be clear and concise.

1 to 1 correspondence

Directional movement: You move from left to right across the page. When you get to the end of the line you move to the left of the line below and start over. You can teach and model this right along with the 1 to 1 correspondence.
Sight words: Ask your child to point to any sight words they see in the sentence. A simple "frame" made out of card stock or a 3 X 5 card with the center cut out makes a fun way to find and show a known word.

Show me a word you know
Using initial letter: This sentence has all sight words you are teaching your child except for the word "cat". Ask your child, "What letter would you expect to see at the beginning of the word, 'cat'?" Simply correct them if they are wrong and tell them, "Cat begins with the letter 'C'. Let's find the word 'cat'." Show them the word cat, and find the c at the beginning. Say the word cat together and hear the c at the beginning of the word.
This is something that is new to most parents, not decoding the entire word to begin with. Look at all of the things your child is paying attention to and learning: 1 to 1, left to right, and sight words. If you try to teach too much at once it all gets lost. Soon your child will move to decoding across the whole word. One step at a time!

Cut up sentence
Depending on how your child does reading the sentence you may just want to get it out and read it a few days in a row before moving on to the next step of cutting up the sentence.
Once your child can easily read the sentence you can cut the sentence apart and have your child put it back together. First mix up the words and have her read them individually, like flash cards.

Cut up sentence
Then she can put the sentence back together. Follow these steps:

  1. Ask her to tell you her sentence that she is going to make. "Here is a cat."
  2. "What is the first word in your sentence?" and have her find it for you.
  3. "What is the next word in your sentence?" Continue to the end of the sentence.
  4. "Show me the capital letter at the beginning of the sentence."
  5. "Show me the period at the end of your sentence."
  6. Finally ask her to read and "check" her sentence.
Using the words first, next, end, word, capital, period,  all help your child to learn the parts of a sentence and how words work.

She can write her story on a new piece of paper and illustrate it to practice writing. Another option is to paste the words into a blank book and have the child draw an illustration. Every time you do a sentence you can add it to the book and soon your child will have her own book that she can read.

As your child learns more words you can begin to write more sentences for your child to read. You can write the sentences on strips of card stock that can be handled and cut up.  You can make up your own sentences or copy the ones below.

Sentences for lists 1 through 2

Sentences for lists 1-3

Sentences for lists 1-4
Download these sentences and more for FREE!

or here

Print them on card stock and cut them into strips with one sentence on each strip. Once you have read the sentence together a few times you can cut the sentence apart and have your child put it back together.  Talk about the capital at the beginning of the sentence and the punctuation at the end.

From The Moffatt Girls You can download a great free resource: Read it, Trace it, Paste it! These worksheets reinforce all of the most common sight words from this 40 word list.

Have fun reading your sentences and watching your reader grow!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fun with social studies: The Vikings!

Social studies can be painfully dull if it involves reading a chapter from the textbook and answering questions on a worksheet. We do our best to have fun with learning around here. This is what happened when we studied The Vikings.

At the beginning of the year I purchased a download of Great Empires from Home School in the Woods. The Viking Empire is one of those covered in that activity guide.
Curly's description. 
The boys wrote descriptions of the Viking Longboats (this is an activity from the Great Empires unit).

Scootch's description (sorry the last line it cut off, and it does include the word pillaging!

 A trip to the library provided us with some books about Vikings.

We found several videos about Vikings and Viking Longships on Discovery Education (we have a subscription from our homeschool charter school).

Scootch decided to build a Viking Longship out of CitiBlocks.

 Even Little Miss wanted to get in on the action, "Take a picture of me and my blocks!"

The more we can do hands on projects to go with the lessons the more fun we have, and the more we learn! Now, on to medieval history, knights, castles, and feudalism!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Growing Readers: Early Alphabet Learning and the Name Game

Is your preschool aged child ready to start learning the letters of the alphabet? If so, where do you begin? What is the right order to teach the letters? Do you begin with the letter A and go in ABC order?   Should we do a letter of the week program?  My answer is to begin with what you know!

There is some research, shared on Reading Rockets, where they concluded that there is no perfect order for letter instruction: "It may be reasonable to begin with a "personally relevant" letter (first letter of the name)." Start with what you know,  your child's first name.

Learning to identify letters of the alphabet is a beginning step in teaching phonics and reading. However, before your child is ready to learn phonics she first needs to learn some phonemic awareness. Beginning with your child's first name, and the letters in it, you can introduce your child to not only letter identification but also phonemic awareness, phonics, letter formation (writing), and early reading skills while playing "The Name Game".

There are several levels of phonemic awareness:

  1. Rhythm and rhyme
  2. Parts of a word
  3. Sequence of sounds
  4. Separation of sounds
  5. Manipulation of sounds

The Name Game teaches:

  • letter versus word (early reading skills)
  • capital verses lower case letters (alphabet)
  • letter identification (alphabet)
  • letter/sound connection (phonics)
  • letter formation (writing)
  • first letter and last letter (early reading skills)
  • counting (math)
  • reading left to right (early reading skills)
  • syllables (phonemic awareness)
The name game is not accomplished in one sitting. It is a collection  of activities that you do with your child over days, weeks, even months. You will do the activities multiple times. Do one or two activities at a time, based on your child's interest and what they are ready to learn. Below is a list of ideas, you may come up with more! Once your child knows all of the letters in her own name you can do the name game activities with other names that are important to your child like brothers and sisters, cousins and friends. Kids like to know how to read and write each other's names.

Write or print your child's name clearly on a piece of card stock. If you are typing and printing it think about how you want the letters (particularly the letters a and g) to look. Comic Sans MS and Chalkboard are good fonts that look like "printing" and do not have a type set a and g. Here's my example:

Letter Identification:

Tell your child, "This is your name. Your name starts with the letter J". Point to the letter J. Jackson begins with the letter "J".  "J is for Jackson."
Point to each letter as you say them J-A-C-K-S-O-N, then sweep your finger under the whole word and say, "Jackson".
Do this in other places you see his name as well.
Look for the first letter of his name in other places. Soon he may begin to notice the letter J. "Look!" he may point out on a sign, "I see J is for Jackson!"
Look for and point out his first letter in books.
Continue for the rest of the letters in his name.

Capital versus lower case letters:

Point out that the first letter of his name is a capital or big letter, and the rest of the letters are lower case or little letters.

Syllables and phonemic awareness:

Practice clapping your child's name, with one clap for each syllable. "Let's clap your name: Jack/son. Your name has two claps."

Letter versus word; Reading left to right; Counting:

Write or type the name again on card stock but leave double spaces between letters. Show them the name. Tell them that their name is a word and it is made up of letters. Tell them,"I'm going to cut up the word into letters. Lets's say the letters as I cut them."
Cut apart the name while saying the letters one by one.
"Now it is not a word anymore, it is not a name any more, it is just a bunch of letters."
"Let's count the letters from your name" Together count the letters.
"We can put the letters back together in the right order to make your name."
Work together to put the letters in order to make the name, using the first name card as a model. 
"What letter comes FIRST in your name?"
"What letter comes NEXT in your name?"
Continue until you get to, "What is the LAST letter in your name?"
You are modeling that the oder of the letters matters in a word. That a word it put together from left to right.
When it is all finished, "Now it is a word again! Let's check it. Is it right?"Say the name slowly while running your finger underneath to check it. Have him check it the same way.
Now you are modeling reading left to right.

Keep this "name puzzle" that you have made in a baggie and he can practice putting his name together. Watch him and make sure he is always starting with the FIRST letter in his name and building from left to right. Correct him if he starts from the end or the middle, or starts building from right to left.

As he becomes more independent in putting it together continue to talk while he does this, talking about the FIRST letter, NEXT letter, LAST letter, pointing out letter names and capitals etc.  Talk about direction, how you have to start here and the next letter has to go here etc.  Now it is a word again.  Check it? Is it right?  Say it slowly while running finger underneath to check it.  Have Jackson check it the same way.

Letter/sound connection:

As you continue to work with his name and as he is getting to know the names of the letters talk about the different letters and the sounds that go with them.
"What sounds do you hear first in Jackson?"
Model the /j/ sound and have him make the /j/ sound.
"What letter makes the /j/ sound?"
"Jackson begins with the letter J."
Find other words that begin with the same letter. You can collect some pictures and glue them on a paper for a J collection.
Find the letter here on
You can continue and do a letter of the week using each letter in his name. Some good letter downloads at:
No Time For Flash Cards

Don't miss the great ideas here! The A-Z of Learning Letters

Letter formation:

Model writing your child's name. See if they can tell you which letter to write FIRST, NEXT, and LAST.
Model correct letter formation. Correct letter formation is really important. It is much easier to teach correct letter formation in the beginning than to un-learn incorrect letter formation and re-teach correct formation.

I like the way they teach letter in the Handwriting Without Tears curriculum. Download the letter formation charts from HWT and learn the correct letter formation for yourself (you may be forming some letters "wrong").
One thing to know is that HWT only introduces capital letters in their Pre-K material, so you will need to get K material to cover both capital and lower case letters. While my goal is to avoid workbooks as much as possible and provide more hands on learning, if you are going to use a workbook for hand writing and/or letter formation the HWT materials is what I would recommend.

If you have access to a chalkboard this is an excellent method. (Even if you don't, watch the video to see some good modeling of letter writing.) Watch the video on the HWT website that shows how to teach your child to write their name using the "wet-dry-try" method: Video Lessons: Writing Name Using Wet-Dry-Try


Help your child build their name using magnetic letters, or other letter manipulatives.
Form the letters of their name out of play dough.
Practice writing in a variety of mediums:

  • sidewalk chalk
  • chalk on black construction paper
  • paint letters with water
  • markers
  • crayons
  • dry erase

You can continue with similar activities with the names of friends and family, even pets! It is a great way to introduce sound/letter correspondence, letter formation and letter identification in a way that is meaningful to your child. It is much form meaningful to know that M is for Mommy than M is for Monkey.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Growing Readers: Kindergarten Sight Words and Early Reading Skills

You can teach your Kindergarten student to read without buying a lot of expensive books and curriculum, and without sitting down doing boring worksheet pages. This article will show you some easy, inexpensive, interactive ways to engage your child in reading using hands on activities. These activities will fit right into Workboxes if you use them!

The suggestions here are based on the Balanced Literacy approach to teaching reading and writing, described in more detail at Growing Readers: Sight Words or Phonics? How about a balanced approach.

Most Kindergarten aged children are what we call "emergent readers". Your child should be able to identify most of the letters of the alphabet, capital and lower case (they do not need to know them all, about 2/3 is fine). They should also know at least half of the letter sounds. is a great, free resource, for learning the letters and letter sounds. If they know those things and are of Kindergarten age then are ready to learn these emergent reader skills (Think your preschool aged child is ready? Read this first):
  • 1 to 1 correspondence
  • Directional movement
  • An introduction of sight words
  • Using initial letter
The information in this article outlines what your Kindergartener needs to learn by the end of the school year. This is not to be taught in a few weeks, but over the course of the year.

These lessons will teach the following Common Core State Standards for Kindergarten:


Print Concepts
1. Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
a. Follow words from left to right, top to bottom, and page by page.
b. Recognize that spoken words are represented in written languageby specific sequences of letters.
c. Understand that words are separated by spaces in print 
Phonics and Word Recognition
3. Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words both in isolation and in text.
c. Read common high-frequency words by sight (e.g., the, of, to, you, she, my, is, are, do, does).
Sight words are words that readers need to be able to read on “sight”.  These are the words seen most frequently when we read.  They are often called high frequency words, or frequency words. Your child needs to learn to read these words quickly, without stopping to sound them out.
This is a complete systematic introduction of 40 of the first high frequency or sight words for early readers:  

This sight word program consists of 8 lists with 5 words on each list.  Write or print the words on individual cards. Beginning with list number one, the child is expected to memorize to read and write the five words on the list.  You can use these lists for your Kindergarten spelling program. When they can do that successfully, then they move onto list number 2.  By the end of the program they will know 40 sight words.

The idea with this program is to teach your young child reading without sitting at a desk, or using a workbook. You want your child moving and engaged in hands on learning. You don't need to do every activity with every word or list. Find what works best for you and your child. Do a variety of activities to keep them interested. Here are some activities you can do with the sight words for practice:
My Pile Your Pile:  Mix up the cards and hold them in your hand so that your child can’t see them.  Take the cards out one at a time.  If your child can read the word quickly, then they get the card in their pile.  If they can’t read it quickly them you read the word and get to keep the card in your pile.  See who got the most cards in their pile!
Sorting Words:  Sort the flash cards in different ways.  For example, sort them by the number of letters in them, by alphabetical order or by different vowel sounds.
BOOM: Flash card practice can get really old after awhile, so we play the boom game.  I put four or five boom cards in our sight word stack.  When I show a card with BOOM on it, they yell BOOM!  It holds their attention much better because they are anticipating the BOOM!
Word Puzzles: Give your child the letters to make a word, mix them up and ask your child to make the word. You can write the word on card stock and cut  the letters apart. You can use magnetic letters on a magnet board, letter tiles, whatever you like. When your child builds the word make sure they build it from left to right. If they are building the word "the" they MUST put the "T" in place first, followed by the "H" and then the "E". This helps to reinforce moving left to right across a word.
Word puzzle for "the"

Start with the first letter.

Next find the next letter.

Now find the last letter.

Check your work. Read the word you made.

Stamp the Words: Using alphabet rubber stamps have your child stamp out each word.
Practice Sight words using the Read! Build! Write! mats.

Sight Word Parking Lot
Word Clothes Line: Your child can clip letter cards to a line to build sight words.
Purchase sight word manipulatives: There are lots of great sight word and sentence building activities available to purchase. Keep in mind that your child will be able to use these for a few years. As their skills grow they can do more complex sentences and stories with the magnets or tiles. Most are under $20.
Magnetic sentence builder

Word Tiles

Word Wall: Find a place on the wall where you can list words that your child can read and write. As your child learns a new word, add it to the list. Don't forget to add other words they know like their name. You can list them under an existing alphabet banner. You can purchase versions as well for around $10-$20 (or google word wall images and find something you want to re-create!)
Word Wall

Writing:  Have your child practice writing the words. Use a variety of mediums like pencil and paper, dry erase, chalk board, or sidewalk chalk. a cup of water and a wet paint brush works great outside. Use your imagination and get way from the desk. You can practice correct letter formation at the same time.

More Resources:

Reading the Alphabet is an amazing FREE program!

You Can Read!  From 1+1+1=1
A sight word program with lots of free printables available.

Word Play has links to lots of ideas  Visit 1+1+1=1 to see more word play ideas!
Word Play 125 Square

More multi-sensory ideas for teaching sight words at Make, Take, and Teach:

How do I start?
You can start by making your own word lists by copying them by hand  or typing them onto the computer. You can write them on blank 3 X 5 index cards. You can purchase sight word or high frequency word flash cards in many places. You can also download the classroom pack I created here: Kindergarten Sight Words Classroom Pack

An updated version is available here: 

Next you will be ready for Kindergarten Sight Word Sentences.