The Child1st SnapWords® System

The SnapWords System Infographic

What is the SnapWords® System?

The SnapWords® System was designed to reach the approximately 60% of students who are failing to thrive under traditional systems of teaching reading. Because children are neurodiverse, they don't all take in, process, and remember new information in the same ways. In fact, the 60% process in ways we tend to view as non-traditional. It is our desire to provide resources that honor their natural wiring so that all our children have equal access to success in learning. 

The SnapWords® System inextricably binds sight word acquisition with explicit phonics instruction.

The SnapWords® System inextricably binds sight word acquisition with explicit phonics instruction so children learn from the beginning the sounds (phonemes) and spellings (graphemes) that are found in their high frequency list of words, and also gain an extensive vocabulary of words that are related to their sight words list by sounds/spelling patterns.

The SnapWords® System explicitly teaches essential reading skills within a comprehensive system that is neurodiverse in order to meet the needs of children across the Learning Spectrum. Within the System, elements are leveled by difficulty with each level building on the previous one, no skill is taught in isolation, and essential skills are taught explicitly and systematically. We created a corresponding, comprehensive list of phonics/sound spellings also leveled by difficulty. All abstract concepts are embedded in right-brained elements that ease learning for the 60%.

As each Level of SnapWords® is taught, SnapWords® Mini-Lessons teach word recognition, the related phonics concepts, spelling, writing, decoding unknown words, and comprehension. Students practice their new skills in context by reading correlated decodable children's readers. They follow reading practice with game-based activities that provide an opportunity for them to deepen their learning and become fluent with their new skills.

What follows is a breakdown of the System, the students we are reaching, how the System works, and why it works.


Who Is It For?

The Learning Spectrum

This section shines a light on some of the ways in which children take in, process, use, and remember what they learn. 

For left-brain dominant processors:

For right-brain dominant processors:

who work well with abstract symbols for which symbols are meaningless
who think in words who think in pictures
who can learn and use steps in a procedure who need the goal and create a procedure for themselves
who are sequential processors who are global processors
who learn from part to whole who learn from whole to part
whom images are superfluous who must have images to learn
who benefit from drill and repetition who learn visually, all at once, and permanently
who view their work as an end in itself who need relevance and a link to their life
who can remember isolated data who need a meaningful link to known data – a context
who can articulate their thoughts verbally who understand but struggle to verbalize

How Does it Work?

There are four primary components of the SnapWords® System.


SnapWords® are a collection of over 640 curated high frequency words that comprise over 90% of words found in children’s text. The plain font words are redesigned to accommodate visual and kinesthetic learners who need to capture the whole word in visual memory at first glance before breaking words apart into phonemes and graphemes.

A body movement that reflects the meaning of the word enhances memory and recall for Kinesthetic learners. Finally, sentences containing the SnapWords® enhance comprehension and correct usage.

SnapWords® are available in 11 Lists of words, 5 difficulty Levels in each List, for a total of 55 Levels.


SnapWords® Mini-Lessons

The two volume set of Mini-Lessons provides adults with a comprehensive lesson for teaching each of the words. Lessons are simple but comprehensive and accommodate the neurodiversity of learners in any classroom.

  • Word recognition
  • Body motion that reflects meaning of word
  • Visual imprinting of the word - sending the whole word into visual memory
  • Linking sound to spelling as students write the word
  • Phonics concept(s) in word
  • Words that share the same sound spellings
  • Create sentences or phrases using the word


    Easy-for-Me™ Decodable Sight Words & Phonics Readers

    Easy-for-Me™ decodable readers are perfectly correlated to SnapWords® and SnapWords® Mini-Lessons. Each set of books are linked to a SnapWords® List and sight words and phonics skills are reviewed before children read the each book. Teaching guides are provided inside each decodable book including comprehension questions.

    • Sound Spellings (phonics skills)
    • SnapWords®
    • Decoding
    • Text preview
    • Read for fluency and comprehension
    • Answer the comprehension questions


      Beyond Sight Words Activities

      Deepen the learning with hands-on, ready-to-use tactile games and activities that require no lesson prep. Beyond Sight Words Activities are downloadable, printable activities that reinforce the reading skills you are teaching. They are leveled by skill to correlate perfectly with the previous resources.

      Skills included:

      • Word recognition games
      • Comprehension activities
      • Phonemic awareness tactile activities
      • Making words to practice sound spellings (phonemes/graphemes)
      • Making phrases and sentences
      • Phonics - tactile activities
      • Writing practice with visual prompts
      • Reading Assessments and tracking sheets
      • Plain word wall words

      Uses for Beyond Sight Words Activities

      • Small group
      • Individual
      • Whole class
      • Partner
      • Homework
      • Early finishers

      Benefits and Features

      • Minimal prep
      • No training required
      • Fully multisensory
      • Comprehensive and systematic
      • Supports differentiated instruction
      • Great for independent learning


        Why Does it Work?

        The elements that make this system work for the 60% include the following:

        We teach whole words and supply the meaning, the context and the relevance from the beginning. We provide the "why" for the work.
        We use body motions to draw in the kinesthetic kids who learn with their bodies.
        We practice visual imprinting that taps into the amazing and permanent visual memory capacity of visual learners (who are often also kinesthetic).
        We identify sounds in the words, learn their symbols, and write while we say each sound for the tactile learners.
        When we teach phonics concepts, we focus on the sounds we hear rather than memorizing phonics rules and spellings which tends to not be satisfactory for the 60% of children.
        We always teach a word with its phonemes and graphemes along with a group of other words that share the same elements in order to meet the need for learning and remembering through patterns.
        We closely link each new concept to a previous one in order to provide the necessary connections between details within the whole. The 60% prefer to see the interconnectedness of details and remember relationships very well.
        We complete the circle of teaching new concepts, writing them, and reading them in order to provide the "why" and the relevance for the new material.

        How Do I Teach the SnapWords® System?

        1. Select a level for your child or group of children
        2. Display those 10-12 words in a pocket chart
        3. Follow SnapWords® Mini-Lessons as you teach each word
        4. As soon as children recognize the image side, turn the cards over
        5. Use the related Children’s Readers to practice new concepts
        6. Provide students with the tactile activities from Beyond Sight Words Activities
        7. Display the new words on the word wall
        8. Select a new Level to teach and repeat.



        “These cards have been so helpful for my students. So many times they "blank" on a sight word and often a simple cue from me about the picture, or part of the sentence, is all they need to recall the word "independently". I now have Lists A-D, as my students are making such wonderful progress.”

        Joanne E.

        "This is a wonderful addition to my classroom as it will help everyone, especially the visual learners."

        Rebecca M.


        These cards are a wonderful addition to our literacy program! Thank you for designing child friendly learning materials that engage and stick!

        Alex P.