“Honey, time to practice reading!” “Honey, let’s play a game!” Which would get a better response in your family? Reading games are a great way to make learning fun. Here are seven games to help your pre-readers and early readers gain confidence, improve their reading skills and prepare for school.
Leap frog fridge phonics
This alphabet toy can be mounted on your refrigerator along with the accompanying letter magnets. When the individual letters are placed in the slot, the toy sings the name of the letter and the sound it makes. As many Amazon reviewers attest, this educational toddler toy also keeps your little one busy while you’re making dinner!
There’s a reason why nursery rhymes have been around for hundreds of years. Rhyming is a fun and effective way to help preschoolers prepare for reading. Ask your child to think of as many words as they can that rhyme with “ox” or “at” or “ad.” Rhyming helps develop phonemic awareness – the understanding that words are comprised of sounds. Studies by Bryant, Bradley, McLean, and Crossland (1989) showed a very strong correlation between the ability to rhyme at age three and reading and spelling performance at age six.
Arrange magnetic refrigerator magnets on a cookie sheet, or add some fun to bath time with foam letters that stick on the bathroom tiles. Giving kids the ability to manipulate letters and form words will also help them with phonemic awareness. Spell out the word “box,” then ask your child “If this spells box, how would you spell fox?” Give your young reader additional spelling challenges as his or her skills progress.
Play with your food
Give your child some cooked spaghetti noodles (preferably with no sauce) to form into letters, or alphabet cookies to spell out their name and other simple words. Have your children use “inventive spelling” to make words with their edible letters. It gives a whole new meaning to eating your words!
When you’re driving in the car, or out at the grocery store, give your children some word sleuthing challenges, like “I spy the words Main Street” or “I spy the word fiber on this cereal box.” This will give them the opportunity to use their new reading skills to hone in on the right word.
Hangman is a great game for new readers. Depending on the age of your child, you might want to fill in a few letters first and give clues along the way. You could even make the sound of the missing letters to help your young reader fill in the blanks.
Help improve your child’s spelling and vocabulary with word-search games. Just google “word search” along with your child’s grade level, and you will find free word searches to download and print. These are particularly handy if you’re going on a road trip and need some additional road trip games.
ABC Song for children
Rock out to this version of the Alphabet Song with your kids.