If you have 30 extra minutes to work on literacy what would you spend it doing? Simple ways parents can help their kids read.

help your child read

If you had 30 extra minutes to work on reading what would you spend it doing? I get asked this question a lot. 

After reading with them, to them, and listening to them read or tell you stories? Well that depends on the child but I will try to answer this question in a very general way to give all of you some ideas of what you can do to make a big impact with only a little time. These are my go to skills that are easy for parents to help children with and that make a big difference when kids get a little extra practice with them. Here are just a few ways parents can help their kids read.

 

Toddlers & Early Preschoolsensory alphabet activities

 

Play with letters. Incorporate them into your play with magnetic letters, letter stickers, and alphabet blocks. Make special note of letters that are meaningful like the first letter of their first name. As you play , abel the letters but leave drilling or quizzing to the teachers in their future, there is no room for drills or quizzes in play.

 

Here are some letter play ideas :

Stamp & Match
Salt Tray Letters
Alphabet Cookies
Shell Letters
Alphabet Sensory Tub
Alphabet Playdough
Touch & Feel Alphabet

 

Preschool & PreK

letter sounds

 Letter Sounds

This is the next step to playing with letters. Now your child knows almost all the letter names and hopefully many of the sounds as well. These games work on both these skills.

Here are some games and activities for letter sounds and recognition :

Flip Top Phonics
Letter Sound Pound
Unlock The Letter Sound
Princess Phonics
Letter Sound Match

 

PreK & Early School Agethe one thing you should do to help your kids learn to read

Starting to Read { simple words )

Play with rhyming. Rhyming is such an important phonics skill but what I love about it is that it’s packed with play. No parent or child wants to spend the small bit of time they have together fighting about learning. Rhyming games can fill that need for fun and for learning.

 

Here are some great rhyming games:

Rhyming Dominoes ( adjust the words to your child’s level)
Rhyming Tag
Rhyming Jars
Rhyming Peg Board
Find & Rhyme

 

Kindergarten

sight word activities

Learning to Read { reads a little but not fluently yet }

Sight Words

Make sight words fun. When I say sight words I am not just talking about true sight words that can’t be decoded by sounding out but also the high frequency words that your child will encounter over and over while reading. When they can read them quickly without decoding them it makes reading easier. They can spend the time sounding out the bigger harder words instead.

Here are some great sight word activities that are FUN and worthwhile. Instead of the words used in these activities substitute with the list of  sight words from your child’s teacher. If you don’t have one ask for the one they are using :

3D Word Search
Sight Word Dominoes
Outdoor Sight Word Game
Sight Word Jump & Grab ( Hands On As We Grow)
Sight Word Target Practice ( Toddler Approved)

School Age

vocabulary

Reading Independently { and fluently}

 Vocabulary. When children are learning to read much of the focus is on the mechanics of reading, the sounds the letters make and how they work together. Once they start to read we shift a lot of the focus to the meaning of the words and text they are reading. We focus on comprehension and one way that parents can really help with that is to work on boosting vocabulary ( another is simply asking your children “ What did you just read?” while reading together).  When we expose our children to a big buffet of words it makes reading easier because they recognize the words and can decode it more quickly as well as understand it’s meaning ( and thus the text) with more ease.

 

Here are some fun ways to work on vocabulary with your kids :

Tips for working on vocabulary with your kids
Word Window
Muffin Tim Word Game ( Growing Book by Book)
Word A Day Cards ( Teachmama.com )

 

These are just appetizers for literacy intended for those 30 extra minutes you may have. As parents I see our role as scaffolds to support our children at whatever level they are at. For more about literacy check out Raise A Reader on Scholastic Parents. Amy Mascott and I share tons of ideas to work on literacy with your children.

 

Letter Sounds Activity with Locks

letter sounds activityLetter recognition is important but more important is knowing what sounds letters make. This is a fun and easy to throw together letter sound activity that uses novelty to make learning fun. My daughter has known her letters for a while but at three there is zero rush for her to start reading. I am not following any program or book, I am following her lead. She has been testing out sounds, pretending to read books to me and her brother, and asking to spell words. When I see signs like these I try some playful ways to challenge her but if there is resistance , frustration or confusion I back off. As parents we want to challenge and support not push or drill. After the first time we played this letter sounds activity I was pretty sure we had a winner, after the 4th time I was certain.

Gather your materials. You will need some stickers of easily identifiable things, masking tape, locks with keys, and a marker.

learn to read activity

Start by adding the sticker to the locks. letter sounds

Next add masking tape to the keys and write the letter on.

Lock the locks and pop the keys in a container. letter sounds

Time to play. She explored all the locks at first and then dove in. letter sounds with locks and keys

The letter sounds weren’t too big a challenge but the fine motor control required was. letter sounds gameMatching up keys with locks and opening them uses other skills too like hand eye coordination and hand strength too.  It took her a few tries to get the first key in but after a while she was a pro. unlock letter sounds

She loved that she could do the activity with no help from me. My daughter is about as independent as they come. key letter sound  matchI let her go for it and then after she was done have her show me her work. She walked me through each pair telling me the letter and the sound on each lock and key. lock and key literacy activity for preschool and kindergarten

Then she closed them all up and played again and again.

Paint & Read { and sound it out }

learn to readTwo skills children need to master in their journey to independent reading are segmenting and blending sounds. Segmenting is breaking a word apart into individual sounds and blending is very simply the ability to combine the sounds together smoothly. When we tell a child to sound it out , this is really what we are asking them to do.  This activity was designed for my son who is a great reader but who will often read so quickly that if he encounters a word he doesn’t know he simply guesses and continues. If I ask him to sound the word out he will  still often guess and get frustrated at me for asking instead of slowing down and doing it even though he is perfectly capable of doing so.  I had to come up with a playful way that would force him to chill a little, slow it all down and focus on the sounds.  This activity can be adapted for any level even single sounds or sight words. We did a similar one for toddlers exploring letters here.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white paper, white wax crayon, dark water color ( container is you need one) , a little water and a paint brush. I also used a clipboard to keep the pages secure while painting. reading
  2. Start by writing out the words you want your child to stretch out. I used a book we’ve recently read to help me think of some words. Many of the words I chose were not a challenge to read , the challenge is to get him to slow down and stretch them out. For new readers you will want to do words like cat, dog, ball, map, off, snap etc…  but know that older children and more proficient readers can still work on this skill with more complex words. paint and read early literacy activity for kids
  3. Next I popped the black water color into the jar and added just a little water. To do this well you want a lot of color but not too much water .
  4. I invited my little reader and explained that he needed to paint over the words SLOWLY and read as he went, then to read the whole word normally. I had to emphasize that the goal was not to guess the word after painting over the first few letters, that the right way to do it was to carefully say each sound then put the word back together. paint and read learning to read activity for kids
  5. The activity was an instant hit. paint and read learning to read activity for kindergartenIt really did get him to slow it down and pay attention to all the sounds in the words instead of just guessing. I was happy to find a tool for him to keep working on these skills without making him feel like I was giving him a remedial task.  paint and readQuick activities likes this one can be thrown together easily with some really fantastic benefits to your child’s reading ability. paint and read early literacy lesson for kids

 

Reading Resources On Pinterest

learn to readOne of my greatest passions in life is to help children learn to read and develop a love of books. Now that I am out of the classroom and online one way I do that is to help other parents support their own children’s learning. Digging to find activities, ideas for struggling readers ,and just the right book has never been easier. I have found incredible reading resources via Pinterest and want to share them with you. These 6 boards have consistently useful pins for all things early literacy. Check them out !

 

1.Reading & Writing Readiness by us … but really it’s a community board made up of great bloggers and wonderful reading and writing ideas.

2.Reading Activities by The Educator’s Spin On It and check out their blog here.

3.Little Book Lovers by Zina Harrington and check out her blog here.

4.Struggling Readers by This Reading Mama and check out her blog here.

5.Literacy by Teachmama and check out her blog here.

6.Early Literacy by I Can Teach My Child and visit her blog here.

 

Do you have a favorite board on Pinterest ? Leave a link in comments so we can check it out!

50 Ways To Teach Your Child To Read

by Allison McDonald

Hello! If you are new here check out No Time For Flash Cards on Pinterest and join our Facebook community for more great ideas.

50 ways to teach your child to readLearning to read is not a crash course that kids take and are done with once they can read Dick and Jane without any help. Learning to read is developmental and starts when a newborn looks at you and hears you talking to them. Below are 50 pieces to the reading puzzle . 50 ways that you and your child can have fun knowing that they are working on early literacy development and learning to love books. This is not definitive checklist it’s a buffet of options to help support your child as they develop literacy skills and become independent readers. Find ideas that work for your family with your child and their current development. Click through the linked items for more details and how to do the activity with your child.

  1. Read to your child.
  2. Play rhyming games.
  3. Sing the alphabet song with them.
  4. Label things with their names from an early age.
  5. Go to the library even when they are at that loud voice only stage.
  6. Have non fiction books as well as fiction available .
  7. Tell stories.
  8. Have books all over your house.
  9. Teach the letter sounds by emphasizing the sounds in words they hear often from a young age.
  10. Provide fun and interesting books for them to read.
  11. Get a magazine subscription and read it together.
  12. Make play dough letters.
  13. Play the alphabet game on road trips.
  14. Read the mail together.
  15. Make a reading nook.
  16. Clap out syllables.
  17. Make letter crafts.
  18. Make reading play time .
  19. Notice letters in the environment.
  20. Learn about how books work and other concepts of print.
  21. Let them choose their own books at the library or bookstore.
  22. Leave them notes in their lunchboxes .
  23. Play with foam letters in the bath. Use bath toys to make up and tell stories.
  24. Make your own books.
  25. Play eye spy with letters and letter sounds. ” I spy something that starts with the letter B. Buh buh book!”
  26. Give your children books as gifts.
  27. Make up silly songs together.
  28. Ask them to read the pictures to you before they can read the words.
  29. Play library.
  30. Read the book then see the movie for a family treat.
  31. Play with word families.
  32. Read books with no words and share storytelling duties.
  33. Let them see you reading for fun.
  34. Read nursery rhymes.
  35. Explore and trace tactile letters.
  36. Play listening games.
  37. Retell and have your children retell stories after reading them.
  38. Ask your child questions about elements of the story as you read with them. This works on comprehension.
  39. Read books at lunchtime .
  40. Take books with you when you travel.
  41. Build with letter blocks or make your own.
  42. Do word searches.
  43. Play sight word games.
  44. Download an e-reader app on your smartphone and instead of handing them it to play a game make it a treat to use it to read.
  45. Read comics and graphic novels with them.
  46. Talk your your kids using regular words not “kiddie” words.
  47. Read them poetry.
  48. Get their bodies moving to learn letters.
  49. Read them their favorite book over and over and over even if it’s making you want to poke your eyes out.
  50. Make reading part of their bedtime routine from day one.
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