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Sunday, March 2, 2014

OREO Words

         We LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Oreo Words in my class.  Oreo Words are 2 letter words that we memorize by spending 1-2 minutes a day with our Oreo Words book. I first heard about Oreo Words at a Dr. Jean conference and they are more effective than anything else I have seen at giving young kids a genuine excitement about their emerging ability to read.  When I taught Kindergarten, I introduced Oreo Words as soon as school started.  In Pre-K, we start learning Oreo Words in January.  Below is a page from our Oreo Word book.  We usually begin with 5 or 6 words (such as no, go, at, it, my) and add a few new words every week or two (the book has 24 words eventually!!!).
         Oreo Words can be read using real Oreos or just with our hands.  I usually introduce the words with real Oreos.  I give each child an Oreo (that I twist open as I hand it to the child).  The child opens the Oreo and holds a side in each hand.  We then say the first letter together as they lick the left inside of the Oreo.  We say the second letter as they lick the right side and then they put the Oreo together and say the word.  I might then say "Let's try that again" or I often use the word in a sentence "It is a beautiful day." or I ask a child to do it alone. When the children are really comfortable with a word such as "at" I will say "put a b in front of it" and they will say "bat."  They also think that is really cool.  After we have gone through all the words the kids eat the Oreos.

We only use real Oreos about once every couple weeks (often when we introduce new words).  On the other days, we practice with our hands (we don't lick our hands - we just wave them in front of our mouth!).
"i" "t"

       It is amazing how quickly the kids learn the words this way.  However, what makes Oreo Words SO cool is that the kids find them everywhere. They find them in our Morning Message and on bulletin boards and in books and on signs and .…They LOVE finding Oreo Words!  I make a big deal when they point out Oreo Words and the kids' parents naturally get excited when the kids point out Oreo Words.  It's hard not to be happy when your 4 or 5 year old child is so delighted to find "m-e, me" in ACME Market. 
      After we have been doing our Oreo Words for a few weeks (for just a minute or two a day) I bring out the Melissa and Doug hangman game.  
I introduce the game to the whole class and then put it out for free play.  I have the child who will be thinking of a word  move away from the kids they are playing with and write the Oreo Word they are thinking of on a small post-it that they put on the back of the board.  They then draw 2 lines on the bottom and  then the others guess letters.  The kids love playing this game and it is great because they are getting writing practice (writing the word on a post-it), fine motor skill practice (turning the letters and body parts), taking turns and following rules practice and great reasoning skills practice (some have already figured out which vowels are most likely to be used).  I love that all these complex skills can be practiced without adult supervision and that the kids get so much pleasure out of playing the game.
writing an Oreo Word on a post-it
           I love Oreo Words even thought I don't think that it is appropriate to push young children to read.  As I told our parents in a newsletter:

What I love about Oreo words is they give kids a great deal of confidence to explore text and words. Please congratulate your child when they notice Oreo words, either alone or in bigger words.  Of course, Oreo words, like all learning in Pre-K, should be fun so please let the kids introduce them to you.


  1. This is the first time I've heard about Oreo words, but I LOVE this idea! Thanks for sharing it!
    I'm going to have to check out the Melissa & Doug Hangman game. I haven't seen that one either.
    This is why I love reading blogs by fellow teachers...we can learn so much from each other:)
    Connie Anderson
    Welcome To First Grade Room 5

  2. I love it as well! My kiddos are always up for some food analogies-especially if they get to taste-test too! :) Thank you for sharing this idea-I will bookmark it for my return to Kinder next year!


  3. I can see why your kids love this. Isn't it wonderful when they transfer what you're teaching them into their real lives?
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  4. OK, sooooo much fun! I've never heard of Oreo words before, but they make sense! And who doesn't love Dr. Jean? Thanks for sharing such a great explanation and for bringing this idea to life in your post.


  5. I absolutely love this idea, Lyn. I have two kids right now who are having a very hard time remembering any sight words. This might actually help!
    Thank you!
    Ruby Slippers Blog Designs

  6. Lyn I was kind of hesitant on teaching sight words to my prek's because I didn't want to stress them out. What a fun way to do it. Is this available on Jeans site? I would like to look into it for next years class. What a wonderful teacher you are.


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