Children’s reading games
These children's reading games can turn your child into a lifelong reader.
Reading is one of the most basic and important skills for your children to have – but motivating them to read can sometimes be a challenge. Libraries have summer reading programs; organizations like Pizza Hut have reading rewards; most schools have incentives to help get children to read. But when it comes down to it, a parent's involvement can mean the difference between a child who loves to read and a child who sees it as an unwelcome obligation. Children's reading games can help at each stage of learning to read, and can help make reading fun for your child.
Games for learning to read
Click over to DLTK-Kids, and print out some of their blank bingo cards.
When your child is learning the alphabet, fill the bingo cards with letters. As you call out each letter, have your child cover the appropriate one. If you're working on learning sounds, call out a word, and have your child cover the letter that starts that word.
Sight words can also be practiced using Bingo. The School Bell has lists of the most common sight words, known as Dolch Sight Words, and has handy printable bingo cards using those words.
Build a word
Developing rhyming skills and learning common word endings can increase your child's reading fluency. This game will help develop these skills.
Using index cards, write common word endings: -at, -op, -an, -ake, -ike, etc. Then, write letters on another set of cards. Have your child "build" words by pairing a beginning letter with a word ending. See how many words you can make with the same ending by simply switching out the first letter.
Another way to work on rhyming is to play memory. Instead of matching the same word, though, your child will match rhyming words. Make a set of 24 to 30 word cards, making sure that each card has a rhyme. Lay the cards out in even rows, facedown. You and your child take turns turning over two cards, trying to make a pair by finding a rhyme.
Build a sentence
Once your child has learned some basic sight words, and can read short-vowel words, you can start some more involved games like this one. Use index cards to print the sight words your child knows and some basic short-vowel words: hat, cat, up, on, hill, mat, cup, mug, jug, tub, man, dog, etc. Then take turns building a sentence with the word cards. Challenge each other to build the longest sentence that still makes sense. As your child progresses to more advanced reading stages, add longer and more difficult words to your deck of word cards.
Another way to work on this skill is by purchasing some word refrigerator magnets at a book or educational store. Then you and your child can leave messages for each other to read on the fridge.
Activities for readers
Your work is not done once your child learns to read. Some children will have a natural love for reading – you might even have to send them out the door for some fresh air and exercise. Other children will be more reluctant to spend their free time reading. These activities can help keep them interested.
Talk to your child and find out a subject he is interested in learning more about. Let your child do the talking. You may think the Civil War is fascinating, but he might think it's a big snooze, and if he's bored with the subject, he won't want to read. Once you've decided on a topic to start with, head to your local library. Spend some time helping your child get acquainted with the different sections of the library: fiction, non-fiction, and reference. Ask a librarian to show him how to use the library computer to search the catalog.
Check out a variety of materials on your subject: novels or picture books, nonfiction, magazines, etc. Take the books home and place them in a basket in the room where you spend the most time. Your child's natural curiosity should help him pick up the books now and then. It doesn't matter if he reads every book, or even every page of a book – the important thing is that he's reading. It helps to limit television and computer time, too, so that he is more likely to choose to read.
One way to motivate your child to spend time reading is to use rewards. What does your child value? Music CDs or downloads? Extra computer or TV time? An outing with just Mom or just Dad? Make up coupons that you can award to your child after set amounts of reading time. It's better to use minutes read rather than pages read - that way a slower reader isn't penalized. Hand out the coupons as your child reaches each goal. Hand out plenty of praise and compliments, too.
Is there a field trip or activity that your child would really love to do? That can be a great motivation for reading. Promise your child a trip to that museum, science center, or amusement park after he does a specific amount of reading on that topic. If it's a natural history museum, have him pick up some engaging kids' history books. For a trip to the science center, help him choose an area of science and do some reading. Amusement parks might seem more frivolous, but he could research the history of roller coasters or read up on the latest amusement park rides.
Using some of these children's reading words can help keep your child reading and enjoying books. Remember, the more you encourage your child and work with him and her, the more likely you are to have an accomplished reader on your hands.