Mix & Fix: A Letter & Word Activity

by | Literacy Activities

“Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words!” – Betty Smith

I’m not quite sure when the shift happened but at some point my tiny baby boy became a toddler and then a preschooler before my very own eyes. It’s amazing that I am now spending time teaching my own child to recognize letters and words (with help from his wonderful preschool teachers). I have spent a majority of my adulthood teaching children to read, but the magnitude of that responsibility has just recently dawned on me as I see my little nugget in the early stages of learning to read!

Now that we are in a groove after the transition to two kiddos, we are trying to incorporate more learning opportunities and less tv time. While Caroline naps, Coleman and I try to do at least one fun activity together. The literacy activities we do are effective, engaging and EASY! I usually only do activities (not just educational but anything that involves my kids) that are easy set up, clean up and cost effective!

Mix & Fix

This is my favorite literacy activity to do with Coleman because it is quick, easy, and provides a lot of opportunity for learning! I first used  “Mix It, Fix It” when I was teaching and using The Next Steps Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson. To use this activity with Coleman, I modified it so that he could be successful and challenged all at the same time! Letter and word work for students is powerful when it connects to something they already know. For preschoolers, recognizing the letters in their name is a great place to start. During the activity, Coleman worked hard on recognizing and naming the letters in his name. He was able to self-correct by the end of the few minutes and recognized the “M” was upside down and fixed it without any prompting from me! The next step will be to take away the written model and work on spelling his name with just he given letters.

name recognition activity


To do mix it fix it, I wrote Coleman’s name in all caps on white paper with a scented marker (anything to make it fun!). Next, we placed all the letters in a mixing bowl and mixed them up with the spatula. Once they were mixed up, he picked out the letters began to “match” the letters to the ones I wrote on the paper. Finally, he pulled the letters down to check to make sure they matched.


Extend the Activity

Other ways you could extend the learning for this activity is to use sight words, allow the child to choose which words they want to spell and add pictures to increase vocabulary!

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preschool letter idea


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