Our literacy experts suggest five activities to help with early reading that are fun and not overwhelming to parents. These are games that can be played for a couple of minutes here or a couple of minutes there, don’t take a lot of explaining, and leave children asking for more.
These five games are all about raising your child’s Phonological Awareness or helping them understand that words are made up of smaller parts. Words are made up of syllables, syllables are made up of letters, letters have individual sounds.
Please note, your kids do not have to know that this is what they are learning, it will automatically happen while you are playing the following games.
Clean It Up!
When it is time to pick up all the toys that have been scattered about you can make it fun and educational. Tell your child that you see something that needs to be picked up and it starts with the letter B, /b/ (make the sound a b makes), B. Your child can then start by picking up the ball or the bulldozer or the book. Keep going until the room is clean.
This game helps children think about the individual sounds in words, by isolating initial sounds.
What if the Whole World Started with My Sound?
“My name, Daddy, starts with D, /d/ (make the d sound), D. What if everything started with that sound? You name would be Doseph. We would be sitting in the ditchen…” This game will help your child think about individual sounds in words. The ability to distinguish different sounds in words is one of the strongest indicators of future reading success.
“I Spy” with a Twist
Play “I Spy” with your child by giving a rhyme as a hint: “I spy something in this room that rhymes with ____.”
“I Spy” with a Twist helps teach your child about rhyming. Knowing that words sound alike and being able to make their own rhymes helps children manipulate sounds, and learn new words to read and spell.
Clap It Out!
Have children clap out the beats in their names (three claps for Sa-man-tha, two for Pe-ter). Or jump, karate chop, rubber stamp or lay out objects, like rocks or raisins, for each beat in a word. Whose name is the longest in the family? The shortest?
This game introduces children to syllables. Being aware of syllables helps them learn new vocabulary, sound out words and makes it easier to spell when the time comes.
Guess My Word
Have children practice putting word parts together. Tell them you are going to the “li-brar-y.” Let me figure out the word by putting the sounds together. You may have to help by saying the syllables a bit faster and faster until they understand how to combine the sounds together.
For more information on early literacy skills or for more games, visit our Building Blocks course page.