How to Memorably Teach the Days of the Week
Sarah Major, M.Ed. is passionate about working in harmony with a child's immaculate design to support their learning strengths. As a Title 1 Program Director and Designer, Sarah earned awards for creating her own multisensory educational resources that have now been sold in all 50 states and over 150 countries. Sarah’s materials use images and other memory hooks that are most effective when teaching new concepts.
Our SnapWords® Numbers, Colors, Days, Months & Seasons Teaching Cards include months of the year, seasons, and the words “week,” “month,” and “year.” It is our experience that using images and other memory hooks is more effective than anything when teaching new material to children since it allows them to remember and not struggle.
Fun ideas for teaching the days of the week to your students
1. Display the SnapWords® cards in a column, in order, starting with Sunday.
2. Tell the children what the words are and let them look at the images and comment on what they see.
3. Point to each word and tell the children what it says.
4. Next, ask the children if they see anything that is exactly the same about all the words. If they notice that all the words end in DAY, be excited for them!
5. Write DAY on your whiteboard or chart paper and point out that the D says “[sound of D without the ‘uh’ on the end – in other words, don’t say ‘duh’ for the sound of D]” and that AY together say the name of the letter A – or long A. The word has three letters but only two sounds.
How to teach each day of the week
Tell your students that the pictures for each word will contain clues to help them remember what the word is. For instance, in “Sunday,” the huge SUN will be the clue for the word. Point to the sun as you say “sun,” and to the word DAY as you say “day.” Read the sentence to the children from the back of the card and talk about what the lady is doing on Sunday. Notice that she is wearing sunglasses because of the bright sun! Ask the children to write the word SUNDAY. They can embellish their word by putting a big yellow sun behind the U to draw attention to it.
The picture shows a box ON the lady’s porch with a cute little dog inside. Read the sentence from the back: “ON Monday, I found a puppy ON my porch.” Ask the children to notice that the word ON is inside the word Monday, even though it is not pronounced the same. Point out that the O in ON is the hole in the box where the puppy is. Notice also that the M in Monday is a planter with dirt in it, holding a lovely blooming rose. Ask the children to write MONDAY and say that they can draw a box around the ON if they would like.
I like to focus on the tricky parts of words when creating the image so that the children’s eyes will be drawn to the letters that might normally give them trouble when writing or reading the word.
This day will be a fun one. For one thing, you cannot sound out this word, so you might as well make the learning of it memorable! Notice that there are twos in the picture. Two of everything. The word sounds like it could be spelling TWOs Day, so that is the theme of the image. Share with the children that you cannot sound out Tuesday! If we tried, it would sound like “Tt – uh – eh – ss – day.” So tell them that in order to help ourselves remember how to spell this tricky word, we are going to draw two “somethings” inside the U. In the case of the SnapWord®, point out that TWO ladybugs are crawling on the U and that the girl who is the T has her arm around the U as well. Notice what is on the ES! Two green snakes!
Pointing out the details in the picture will help children remember its spelling later! A good practice anytime you are teaching/learning a new SnapWord® is to have the children really study the picture and then close their eyes to SEE it in their imagination. With their eyes closed, ask them to talk about what they see in their minds. If you do this regularly, it will strengthen the students’ reliance on their amazing visual capacities on remembering whole words!
Each Tuesday, reinforce the word by doing fun things. For example, if you are teaching in a school, on Tuesdays, let the children line up in twos to go to lunch or recess. On Tuesdays, have them write the word and embellish it, and keep this up until the children are solid with reading and writing the word.
Study the picture for Wednesday. Of course, the children will need to be taught that to “wed” means to marry, so that is the reason for the bride! When you write the word on your whiteboard, divide it into three syllables. Point out that in the picture of Wednesday, three lovely flowerpots are showing you where the syllables are. Each flowerpot is just behind the vowel in the syllable.
Teach the children that every syllable has to have a vowel in it and identify which vowels are used in this word. Practice saying the word the way it sounds: WED – NES – DAY. We normally say it like this: WENS-DAY. Ask the children which letter sounds we leave out when we pronounce the word that way. As they write the word on their whiteboards, point out that each syllable has the same number of letters: three. For this word, the silly way to pronounce the word will be a strong cue for remembering how to spell it.
When teaching Thursday, you will want to highlight the sound spelling UR. Tell the children Bossy R never likes the vowel to talk, so in this word as in many others in which Bossy R appears, the vowel appears to be silent and only the RRRR sound of the R is heard. In order to help the children remember that you spell Thursday with a UR (not an ER, or IR, or OR) we filled the U up with water. This is what the couple will use to water their little fir trees.
When you have written Thursday on your board, write the word FUR right under the UR spelling so that the UR in both words are lined up. This, of course, refers to the fur on an animal, while the fir trees sound the same but are spelled differently. Help the children remember the difference by pointing out that in FIR, the I looks like the trunk of a fir tree, while the U in FUR looks like the nose of a dog that is looking right at you.
This word is fun because it is pretty straightforward. The lady in the picture has her frying pan and she is saying, “On Friday I like to fry food!” Write both FRI and FRY on your whiteboard and point out that in FRIDAY, the I is the woman with her mouth open, talking.
In FRY, the final Y is pretending to be a long I! Depending on your students and their skill level, you might want to show them that in one-syllable words that end in Y, the Y always mimics the long I sound, while in words ending in Y with more than one syllable, the Y mimics the long E sound. As always, have the children study the picture then close their eyes to imprint the image on their brains. Have them practice writing Friday.
Ah, this word is a great one to teach at this point because you can point out the UR and relate it to the UR in Thursday! The picture is very helpful because a dog sat on SAT, and the U in UR is filled with water just as in THURSDAY.
Briefly point out that Saturday also has three syllables, and each syllable has a vowel. Memory hooks for this word are the image of the water in the U as well as the sentence that accompanies it. “On Saturday, my puppy sat while I worked.”