How-To: Help Your Child Get Ready to Read Through Games, is a four-part series of “how-to” videos for parents, and early child care providers and educators that shows you different games you can play with your children to help them get ready to read in kindergarten. Each of the videos models a different technique that will increase your children’s early literacy skills through fun and games. For more information on how to help prepare your child for reading, or to find more fun ideas and games, check out the Stern Center’s Building Blocks for Literacy online program for parents and educators.
This week’s How-To focuses on the sounds of letters. This is important because the ability to think about the individual sounds in a word is one of the strongest indicators of future reading success. Below are two games you can play with your child that will keep them entertained while at the same time helping them practice their letter sounds.
GAME 1: TURN CHORES INTO PLAY
To practice letter sounds weave sound games into everyday activities liking picking up toys. First, find the mess. Then look around at all the toys and tell your child, “I see something in this room that needs to be picked and it starts with the letter B.” Then make the noise a B makes and again say B. Your child will run around finding all the balls, books, baby dolls and bulldozers they can to put away. Move on to the next letter until all the toys are picked up. Watch Thomas and Annabelle clean up the playroom in the video below.
Note: Based on their letter names, some letter sounds are easier to learn. See below for a list of the easiest to most difficult letter sounds to learn.
Easiest: b, d, j, k, p, t, v, z
A little harder: f, l, m, n, r, s
More difficult: h, q, w, x, y, c, g
For the letter c, teach your child the sound c makes in “cat.” For the letter g, teach your child the sound g makes in “good.” For the vowel letters, first teach your child the short vowel sounds as follows: the sound of a in “apple”, the sound of e in “ed”, the sound of i in “itch”, the sound of o in “octopus”, and the sound of u in “up”. (SHAPE P20: Pre-K Summer Literacy Program University of Montana, Phyllis J. Washington College of Education and Human Sciences)
GAME 2: WHAT IF EVERYTHING STARTED WITH MY SOUND?
What if every word started with the same letter as your child’s first name? Mommy starts with the mmm sound. What if everything started with that sound? We would drive in a mar and read mooks before bed. Watch as Thomas and his mom play restaurant, using the mmm sound. They substitute initial sounds for common menu items so pizza becomes mizza.