Suggested Reading Activities for Learning at Home
There are plenty of activities that help strengthen reading
skills and prime young children's brains for understanding the
importance of the printed word. Here are some ideas.
Shhhh! This simple game of silence helps strengthen
young children's listening skills. Choose a time, such as 20 or
30 seconds, and tell your children to close their eyes for that
time interval - no talking, just listening. Then ask the kids
what they heard. A car swooshing down the street? A child
playing outside? A bird chirping?
Letter Bingo & Letter Sounds Bingo Make your own bingo
cards featuring letters of the alphabet. For letter recognition,
use as many letters on the cards that you want to reinforce that
day. For letter sounds, begin with common consonants (such as b,
t, m, s, r), but don't use so many that children are overwhelmed.
Call out the letters or letter sounds (example, "buh" is for bat)
and have children cover the corresponding letter with a cheerio,
a coin, or whatever else fits. Alternatively, make letter tiles
by writing letters on squares of cardboard, and have children
place the tiles on their bingo boards.
Letter Hunt Send kids on a hunt for letters - around
the house. Books don't count, but letters on cans of food,
pictures on the wall, the stove, and so forth, do count. Ask them
to find a specific number of one letter. For example, "find 3
Alphabet Scrapbook Use a Hilroy notebook (or similar)
and label each page with a letter of the alphabet. Kids need to
find pictures of objects that begin with each letter in
magazines, store flyers, and so forth. Kids can cut out the
pictures and paste them on the correct letter page.
Kindergarten to Grade 1:
Favorite Recipe Re-write a
simple recipe for a favorite food that you cook with your
children. Use simple terms, but don't worry if some of the words
are challenging to read. ("Sugar", for example, simply can't be
simplified!). The idea is that you will revisit this recipe often
and kids will learn to read the sight words over time. As you
make the food, ask your child to read you the ingredients and
instructions, offering help as needed. Eventually, he or she will
learn it by heart. This exercise not only helps kids learn to
read specific words and sight words, it demonstrates to them that
reading is useful.
For example, my daughter loved to help me make pancakes - and
loved to eat the finished product, too! We used this recipe:
How to Make Pancakes
1-1/2 cups flour
1 big spoon baking powder
1 big spoon sugar
1/2 little spoon salt
1-1/2 cups milk
2 big spoons oil
...where "big spoons" are tablespoons and "little spoons" are
teaspoons. We'd measure the dry ingredients and mix them in a
medium bowl, and measure the wet ingredients into a big bowl and
mix. Then we'd drop the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients,
mix them gently (just until moistened - no over-mixing), and
voila! Pancake batter. This was the most re-visited recipe, and
the pancakes turn out fantastic.
Mail Time Write a letter to your child every day, and
place it in the mailbox or in a special "mail time" box. Keep the
words simple and legible.