Recess - Tip Sheet

Cover page for the book titled "Recess" showing a group of children hanging from a blue climbing pole


Recess - Teacher Tip Sheet

Blue Series - Book 5 - Recess

Grapheme/Phoneme Correspondence

Tips and Activities to Try

Introduced in This Book

  • consonant digraph <wh>/wh/ (e.g., when)
  • <c>/s/

Previously Introduced


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


  • 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>)

Orthographic Conventions/Patterns and Generalisations

  • <c> as /s/ (when followed by <e>, <i> or <y>)

Key Concepts to Understand

  • with the exception of how, <wh> is used for question words that cannot be answered with a “yes” or “no” (interesting fact: who used to be spelled hwo and pronounced with an initial /h/)
  • <wh> words often suggest a sense of blowing or movement (e.g., whack, whistle, whip, whine)
  • <c> when pronounced as /s/ is often referred to as “soft <c>”
  • in complete English words, <c> is usually pronounced as /s/ when followed by an <e>, <i>, or <y> (e.g., cello is an Italian loan word and soccer was slang created by abbreviating: Football Association → Assoc. → soccer)

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.:

  • whisk, whip, whiff, whizz, wheel, wham, whack, cell, cent, dance, chance, since

Provide students with the following (unsorted) words:

<c> /s/

<c> /k/

cell, acid, cent, dance, cider, cinch, chance, cement, fence, since, wince, prince

call, cabin, cup, cut, cub, cusp, cot, cash, cast, cost, comic, combo


Ask students to sort the following words based on these two categories. Have them investigate when <c> is soft vs when <c> is hard. Prompt: “Circle the grapheme that comes after the <c>.”


Here are phrases that can be used for reading and/or dictation practice. These phrases can be combined to create sentences.

Noun Phrase

Verb Phrase

Prepositional Phrase

Clay and Chance

whacked the ball

by the wheel and the fence

May and Fay

whisked the eggs

at the dance


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


Tips and Activities to Try

  • compound words (2 bases combined)

Key Concepts to Understand

  • compound words contain two or more bases (e.g., sandpit, softball)

Activities to Try

  • Give students a list of bases that can be combined to make new words.
  • play & day, soft & ball, sand & box, in & to, up & hill, him & self

Note: It is important to ask students to cover the suffix with their finger in order to focus on the base when consonant clusters are in final position and have an attached suffix. When reading drifting, ask students to cover the <-ing> and read drift, ask them to release their finger and reread the entire word with the <-ing>, drifting.

Comprehension Corner - Recess

Vocabulary Development

  • What activities did the children do at recess?
  • Is there another word for whack? What does it mean to whack something? 

Making Connections

  • What is your favourite activity to do at recess?


  • Do you think children in other countries get recess?
  • How does recess help you to focus at school?


  • What is your favourite page in this book? Why?


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