The Play Day - Tip Sheet

Cover page for the book title "The Play Day" showing a group of four children sitting on the grass smiling and holding colorful rings


The Play Day - Teacher Tip Sheet 

Blue Series - Book 4 - The Play Day

Grapheme Phoneme Correspondance

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • vowel digraph <ay>/ā/

Previously Introduced


  • all short vowel, <u>/o͝͝o/
  • <o>/ō/, <e>/ē/, <y>/ī/, <ee>/ē/


  • all single consonants and clusters
  • <ng>/ng/, <nk>/nk/
  • <s> /s/ and /z/


  • <th>/TH/ voiced, <th>/th/ unvoiced, <ck>/k/, <ff>/f/, <zz>/z/, <ss>/s/, <ll>/l/, <sh>/sh/, <ch>/ch/, <qu>/kw/, <-tch>/ch/, <-dge>/j/

Additional Concepts

  • <al> (<a> as short /ŏ/ before <l>)
  • <wa> (<a> as short /ŏ/ after <w>)

Key Concepts to Understand

  • <ay> is pronounced as /ā/ and can be found in final position of a base (Note: rayon, crayon and mayor do not fit this pattern)
  • there are many ways to spell /ā/ (e.g., <ay>, <a>, <ai>, <ea>, <a_e> etc.)
  • <ay> is a digraph, and students should understand <ay> as one unit (one tap when spelling, one Elkonin box, etc.)
  • the default spelling is <ay> when /ā/ is the final phoneme

Words and Phrases for Reading and Writing

Here is a list of words that can be used for phonemic awareness activities, reading, dictation, games cards, etc.:

  • spray, jay, okay, sway, tray, day, lay, clay, playing, stayed, straying, bay, hay

Here is a word chain you could complete with blending cards:

  • lay → flay → play → slay → spay → spray → pray → tray → ray → way → pay → jay → may → say → stay

Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice. These phrases can be combined to create sentences. A good opportunity arises to address syntax if the resulting sentence is not grammatically correct (e.g., (e.g., They all stays still by the tree. → They all stay still by the tree.)

Noun Phrase

Verb Phrase

Prepositional Phrase

they all

sprayed the trees

in May (explicitly explain that May is a proper noun and therefore uses a capital at the beginning)

the gray tray

stays still

at the play

my pal Jay

played with clay

on the way


was straying

by the tree


You can differentiate for your students by dropping some of the words in these phases (e.g., “played with clay” can just be “played”).

Punctuation/Text Features

Tips and Activities to Try

  • contraction “let’s”

Key Concepts to Understand

  • a contraction is a word or group of words resulting from shortening an original form
  • often an apostrophe replaces a vowel, but not always (e.g., throught the years, will not became wynnot, then wonnotwon’t)
  • teaching children the definition of contraction will deepen their understanding → “to shorten/make smaller”
  • you may want to begin with simple contractions where only a single vowel is replaced by the apostrophe (e.g., let’s, it’s, that’s, didn’t, there’s)
  • Scratch Garden’s video clearly illustrates this concept:
  • quickly introduce more complex contractions (e.g., don’t, we’ll, can’t) where more than one grapheme is replaced by an apostrophe so students have flexibility in their understanding

Activities to Try

  • Use grapheme cards, magnetic letters/tiles, and online blending boards to provide students with opportunities to physically replace graphemes with an apostrophe.

Comprehension Corner - The Play Day

Vocabulary Development

  • What activities did Tray and his friends create for their play day?

Making Connections

  • Have you had a play day? Where?
  • Which activities would you like to do?


  • What other games could the children play on this hot day?


  • Retell this story.


Tip Sheet written by Shari Kudsia and Helen Maclean - April 2023 - ©SyllaSense Inc.