Word Walls for rtlogotype
Introducing Search & Say Exercises

  • An exercise in attention to detail
  • A drill for naming the Jiffy Words

About the Search & Say exercise:

This exercises is called ‘Search & Say’ because the learner’s job is to:

  • Search for the target word on each line
  • Point to it
  • And say it.


The student simultaneously sees and says the word.

In this way, the sight and the name of the word begin to 'link up' in the brain.

So be sure that your student says the word on each line--this is a Rapid-Accurate Naming exercise.


Here is what the beginning of a Search & Say exercise looks like:

and         n         d

and       aa        dd

ddd      and      aaa

nnn      aaa      and

ddn      and      ann

EXAMPLE: Search & Say 'and'

First, Preparation:

Find a sentence in your student’s text which contains the word 'and.'

"Look Zach: 'We had peanut butter and jelly.' And."

Next, Showing the word in isolation:

Write 'and' clearly, in bold marker, on an index card.

Say "This is
and. Take a good look at and.”

Give familiar examples of the word 'and':

"Grandma and grandpa. Chocolate and vanilla.  And."

Then, Doing the exercise:

Now flip the index card over, and hold it below each line on the exercise page, as your student works down the page.


  • Find the word 'and.'
  • Put your finger under it (Point to it).
  • Say 'and.'
(After awhile, your student will find, point and say without any prompting from you.)
Remember, the child says only the target word on each line.


If the child is correct, say something like:

"Yes,"  "That’s it,"  “You found it,”  “Right,"  or  "Uh-huh."

If the child makes a mistake, say:

“Look again."

After the child finds, points to, and says the target word, move the index card down to the next line.
The index card helps to focus the child’s visual attention on the line of letters.

and        n        d

and      aa       dd

ddd     and     aaa

nnn      aaa      and

ddn      and      ann

and     dad      nan

aad      ann      and

dnn      and      add

aan      and      dnn

and      nad      dan

nad      and      dna

nda      dna      and


Re-read together, from the student’s text, the sentence containing the word 'and.'


The Search & Say exercise also helps your student to rehearse important visual and attention skills.

As the exercise goes on, the distracting items look more and more similar to the target word.

Toward the end of the exercise, usually one or more of the distracting items is a backward version of the target word.


When should I use Search & Say pages?

  • When students need to feel comfortable with the idea of reading.

  • When students need to pay closer attention to the page.

  • When students need to pay closer attention to details in a word.
Note: Students may need only a few Search & Say pages to learn the skills above.
If so, don’t make them do the whole set!
  • When students need to practice naming the Jiffy Word.


Search & Say pages alone will not teach the Jiffy Words.
Students need to practice these common words in a real context, such as a story.

Be sure to choose words that appear in material the student is currently reading.


Do have your student read, re-read, and re-re-read, familiar text.

It will be loaded with Jiffy Words.

Once your student can read a selection smoothly, seven times is not too many times to re-read it.


Here are The Jiffy Words Search & Say Exercises to download.

Short Cut Through the Treehouse ~ The Whole Treehouse

More on this topic: Search & Say Exercises