Easy Peasy Letter & Sight Word Jewels

I love making special gems and jewels to help motivate my students to learn critical skills like letters, letter sounds and sight words (see method here).  But my original method was way too time consuming.  I needed easy peasy.

 I had a bag of those big sparkly jewels (from Michael’s Craft Store).  Perfect!

IMG_0186Yes!  Super easy!  Just write the letters or sight words on the back with a sharpie.

IMG_0167Oh. my. word.  The children were stoked!

IMG_0169We had some old plastic hinged boxes in our resource room.  I let the children stick on little gems to decorate the top.   I purchased these self-adhesive little gems here.


Motivation Magic!  One of my students knew just 3 letters — half her name.  She was not motivated.  So . . . . I brought out the Magic Letter Jewels.   Goodness me!  She was bedazzled.

By the time we left today – she had mastered 10 letters.  She is obsessed about having a box full of jewels.  She even told me a story about her Magic Jewel Box.  The boys were just as excited to have a box of jewels.   And here’s the deal.  They can not take home their box until the letters/sounds/ or sight words are mastered.

My Method:

Individualization:  I customize the jewels to fit each student’s needs.

  • Level One Mastering Letter Recognition – I put a letter jewel into the box once it has been mastered.

If the child knows all the letters then ~

  • Level TwoMastering Letter Sounds – I put a letter jewel into the box once the child knows the letter sound.

If the child knows all the letters and letter sounds then ~

  • Level ThreeSight Words – I put a sight word jewel into the box once the child recognize the sight word.

If the child knows all the letters, letter sounds and beginning sight words then ~

  • Level Four –  Child’s Choice – For children who have mastered the beginning sight words. I let the child pick a favorite word for me to write on the back of the jewel.  We build a dynamic vocabulary.

IMG_0181I write the children’s names on the side of the box so I can easily see which box to grab.

Storage – You can use a box like this, muslin bags, or manilla envelopes.

Box source (20 boxes for $13.75): here

Muslin/Burlap bag source: here

IMG_0172Learning is a beautiful thing.

Did you enjoy this post?
Then stick around!

Join the Fairy Dust community and get email updates, tips, tutorials, and instant access to the Fairy Dust Teaching Library - FREE!


  1. Heather says:

    Pure genius! Thanks!

    • Sally says:

      Yay! My most creative ideas come out of necessity!!

  2. Bobbie says:

    What a clever idea. Thank you for sharing with us. My pre-schoolers will love this idea.

    • Sally says:

      I am so glad you can use the idea! It is a great motivator for memorizing.

  3. Lynn says:

    What a fabulous way to motivate kiddos! They all adore gems and will be much more excited to learn letters/words using these than boring flash cards or something!
    Thanks for another terrific idea 🙂

    • Sally says:

      Thank you Lynn!

  4. theresa says:

    Are the jewels carried over year to year or do you make new for each student to keep?

  5. Constance says:

    I think this idea will be magical with my class of visually impaired students. Please let me know the size and location of your jewels. I can only find small ones on line Thanks for your wisdom and help, Constance

  6. Alisha says:

    Hi Sally,

    I am so inspired by this brilliant idea you came up with! I use these jewels for behavior management. When students reach the top of my clip chart (Outstanding Student) they get a sticker on their “Hall of Fame” name card. When they have 5 stickers, they get a jewel. They go NUTS!!!!

    I never thought of using these jewels for curriculum. I love the intrinsic motivation you have created the personalized jewel boxes.

    Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

    • Sally says:

      It is amazing how the little things mean so much to them.

  7. Erica says:

    How big are your jewel boxes? The link has several different sizes and I was hoping to find some big enough for sight words, but not too big to store in student seat sacks! Thanks!

    • Sally says:

      The boxes I have are about 3 inches by 4 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 high. Not huge but big enough for a good number of jewels.

  8. jessica says:

    I love this idea! It’s all sorts of fun progressive. The program I work at doesn’t focus on children needing to know letters at the preschool age but it would be really cool for the older kiddos. Super fun!

  9. Mimi says:

    Oh my gosh, I cannot wait to start this idea with my classroom. You are my absolute hero. I adore everything you do and try to use as much as I can in my own kindergarten classroom. Thank you so much, my magical Teacher Fairy!!!!!

  10. Nina says:

    Amazing as usual, Sally! I think you talked about this idea a while back, and I completely forgot about it (that, and they moved my grade level like they do every year!) so I’m hoping to use it this coming year. You rock!

  11. Tami says:

    I an so excited to do this with my kids!! Thank you for sharing. I just love all your classes!!

  12. Adel says:

    What a great idea Sally! I especially love the different levels 🙂 I can’t wait to try this out with my kiddos! I think I will make another set for a fun game of memory.

  13. jansellers1@hotmail.co.uk says:

    A lovely idea. Think I will use next year with my new class.

    • jan says:

      Love this idea

  14. Jo Tappenden says:

    I love this idea! Just think how pretty these boxes will look against the window once they start to get filled!


  15. Gail says:

    Love this idea and a good idea always gets my brain thinking of more ideas. What about a level that would reward children for using their dynamic words appropriately, (maybe with sequins), either in writing/dictation or conversation???

  16. Blanka says:

    Very creative. Thank you.

  17. Jenine says:

    Brilliant idea! I can’t wait to introduce it to my students!

  18. Sharon Orner says:

    Hi, Sally!
    I am wondering what I did wrong. I ordered the jewels that you indicated from Oriental Trading. They are self-adhesive. Because of this, I can’t write the letter on each jewel. If I leave on the self-adhesive covering, it has a waxy coating that makes it so that the permanent marker will not adhere. I tried taking off the paper, but that left me with a gooey mess. The jewels are also quite small, so it is hard to write on them. (I was so excited that I bought 2 bags of these jewels.) I also bought the burlap bags because I thought that they would store easier. The bags I got are beautiful, but I don’t know how to label them with the kids’ names. The burlap makes it so the writing just makes an unreadable mess. I was so excited to try these, but seem to be running into a road block at every turn. Please advise.

    • Sally says:

      Hi Sharon!

      Here’s the breakdown – I purchased the big jewels from my local Michaels – not Oriental Trading. I did buy the little self-adhesive jewels from Oriental Trading for my boxes. There is a lot of information in this post! With the bags – I purchase tags and tie them on. You could easily make tags. If you make them – you can laminate them. Just tie on. Hope that helps!! It is worth the road blocks!

  19. Linda says:

    Hi Sally!

    When do you actually give the jewels to the students? When they complete a letter activity or do you wait until they remember the letter name/sound after the next assessment?


    • Sally says:

      I wait until they remember the letter name/sound.

  20. Nancy says:

    Did you once post a cute story about a sight word princess/fairy?

    • Sally says:

      Yes – and I will see if I can dig that up!

  21. Gretchen says:

    Hi Sally,

    In one of the newsletters that you send out, this activity was in it, but there was lovely story about a fairy that delivered the jewels. I cannot find that post though. Can you help?!

  22. Bridget says:

    You are SO great! I wish you were my teacher growing up!

  23. Jo Ann Laible says:


    It was so great to reconnect with you and your mom last week!
    I now am enjoying your Fairy Dust emails—hmmm, could it be
    nearly 30 years since I was teaching in a classroom??? Your ideas
    ALMOST make me want to start again!!

  24. Sue says:

    I have been using jewels like yours for loose parts experiences and lately they have been part of our sorting time during open ended math time. My K4 students love them.

  25. Michelle says:

    I am so excited to try this! And thank you for the story to go with the activity.

    • Sally says:

      I am so glad you love it like I do. It truly is magical and the children adore it!

  26. Aanchal says:

    Hi Sally,

    Love this idea! What an inspiring way to introduce and practice Literacy.
    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Sally says:

      You are so welcome! I know you will delight in watching your students become dazzled!

  27. Shelly says:

    It’s a great way for the younger children to learn colours.

    Thanks for the ideas they are great.

    • Sally says:

      I think the colors and sparkles really help the children stay engaged. It’s bedazzling!

  28. Melodie says:

    What an awesome idea! Thanks Sally.

  29. Maria says:

    Nothing like gems and jewels to jumpstart interest and enthusiasm. Such a great idea. Love it!!!

  30. Sarah smith says:

    My kids love sparkles!!

  31. Laxmi says:


    • Sally says:

      And so effective!

  32. Becky Kurtz says:

    What a delightful idea! Using something the children love to help master a skill! I love that! Thank you for your ideas!

  33. Crystal Young says:

    This is brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing this idea.

  34. Brenta Clem says:

    What a beautiful and stimulating idea for all children! For more advanced children, I can only imagine the magical ways you could construct words from jewels and the introduction of sentences. I have used rocks purchased at the dollar store and introduced letters of the alphabet. The children enjoy the feel of the soft rocks in their hands as they use them in various ways.

  35. Sally says:

    Another wonderful idea, Brenta. The children also love the dazzle of the jewels!


  1. Easy Peasy Letter & Sight Word Jewels

    I love making special gems and jewels to help motivate my students to learn critical skills like letters,

  2. Jewel Sight Words, Part 2

    There are so many things you can do with Sight Word/Alphabet Jewels . I wanted to share a bit of my process.

Please Leave a Comment