I found this activity on my new favorite teacher blog, Mrs. T's First Grade Class. She posts lots of great, and cheap, ideas, many of which can be adapted to the single-child homeschooling format. Go check her out! Beware, though, you may find yourself pinning every other post of hers.
It's important to do lots of practice identifying syllables, because in doing so you're helping your child hone her auditory processing skills. Auditory processing is a key element to becoming a proficient reader. AP practice includes things like rhyming (did you know all the Mother Goose nursery rhymes help build that section of your child's brain?!), identifying the beginning and ending sounds in words, syllables, differentiating between voiced and unvoiced consonants ('f' and 'v', 'd' and 't' - go ahead, say the sounds, your mouth makes the same shape, just one is voiced and the other isn't. Cool, huh?)
Another plus to this activity is that the child creates a pictograph at the end. Sophie immediately identified it as a pictograph when questioned, because we've been talking about them all week.
Lesson: Syllable Sort
Objective: Child will identify syllables in words, and practice her auditory processing skills.
Materials: Printout (found here). Glue. Scissors.
1. Spend some time practicing finding the syllables in words. As you will see from the video below, this was difficult for Sophie. We spent a lot of time 'playing' with words. A great way to do this with a beginner is to have them put their hand under their chin and slowly say the word. Count the number of times your chin drops. That's how many syllables are in the word. Also, you can 'clap' out the syllables.
2. Instruct child to cut out the pictures in the printout. Have her identify each one, find the number of syllables for it, and glue it in the corresponding column.
3. The completed product. I let Sophie identify the pictures, and didn't correct her when she 'incorrectly' identified the picture, as long as it made sense. After all, if a wolf looks like a coyote to a desert child, who am I to argue?