Word Doctor

One-syllable words are coming into the “word hospital” in pieces and they need to be “nursed” back to health by teams of young readers. Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons are just the right tool for building words.

  • 1.

    Prepare for this learning activity by creating word cards with single syllable words written on them, following the CVC, CCVC, or CVCC pattern (C=consonant, V=vowel). Small groups of students can work together on this using index cards and Crayola Markers.

  • 2.

    Set the tone by describing for children the playful idea of pretending that the classroom is a word hospital and they are all word doctors. As letters come into the hospital, the children must put them together to form words.

  • 3.

    Choose a team of students to act as the emergency room staff. This team will need Crayola Dry-Erase Crayons and 3 or 4 dry-erase boards. Provide a stack of index cards with single syllable words written on them (CVC or CVCC). The emergency room staff writes one letter on each dry-erase board then passes the boards along to a team of word doctors.

  • 4.

    The word doctors are prepared with dry-erase crayons and a dry-erase board. Their jobs are to put the word(s) back together again by sounding out each part and blending the letter-sounds together. The healthy, put-back-together-again word is recorded on the dry-erase board for approval by the emergency room staff before the next “word patient” comes in.


  • LA: Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
  • LA: Demonstrate understanding of spoken words, syllables, and sounds (phonemes).
  • LA: Know and apply grade-level phonics and word analysis skills in decoding words.
  • LA: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade level topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
  • VA: Students will initiate making works of art and design by experimenting, imagining and identifying content.


  • Students can enjoy this learning activity for a set amount of time or for a set amount of words. Several teams can be working in different parts of the room.
  • Include words with digraphs, blends and silent e.
  • Suggest that each doctor pronounce just one letter/sound in isolation then have the team try to say them blended closer and closer together until they can hear the word.
  • Ask questions about the words they build. What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word? What sound do you hear at the end of the word? What sound do you hear in the middle of the word?