Reading readiness with early learning games

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Fun and educational reading readiness games can help to inspire and encourage young readers.
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Parenting Tips: Creative Games and Activities for Young Readers

Learning to read is one of the most monumental milestones for young children, and their parents. Nothing compares to the expression of pride and confidence that brightens a child's face as he or she sounds out a challenging word, and suddenly identifies and recognizes that word. Children experience joy and delight as words and stories begin to emerge from the jumble of letters on the page.  

However, it's not uncommon for children to experience frustration and obstacles as they learn letters, then begin to read words and complete sentences. Parents and caregivers can help to encourage and inspire children to become strong readers by offering fun and educational reading readiness games.

Some of the most popular early learning reading games and toys sold by educational retailers include wooden letter blocks, colorful letter magnets, alphabet bingo, boggle, bananagrams, letter lace and trace cards, alphabet puzzles, alphabet and word/picture matching games, and activity packets containing word searches, soft alphabet toys, or missing letter games. Many magazines for children feature puzzles, word games and other games that build reading readiness.

Parents don't need to buy expensive games or toys just to encourage children to read. There are plenty of simple and wonderful games and activities that are easy to create at home with common household items. Here are three great examples of fun, entertaining and educational early learning reading games that will inspire your young reader.

1)   Reading Treasure Hunt:  A Game to Improve Sight Reading

There is no question about it, kids love treasure hunts. So why not incorporate sight reading skills into fun and exciting treasure hunt games?  Write the names of your child's favorite toys, books or stuffed animals on index cards, then hide these toys around the house. Present your child with the index cards, and have him read the cards aloud, one at a time, to learn which of his toys have been hidden. When he reads the card correctly, he may go and hunt for that hidden toy, while you give him hints as to whether he is “hot” or “cold” in proximity. 

2)   Pancake Words: A Game to Improve Sight Reading

Children love pretend play, especially when it involves pretend cooking or favorite foods. Pretend play and food combine to make great reading readiness games!

Cut 50 to 100 pancake sized circles out of beige colored construction paper. Using a magic marker, write the most common sight words, or other words that your child is struggling with, on these paper paper pancakes. Place the pretend pancakes in a frying pan, a few at a time, and give your child a spatula to play with. The objective of the game is to “flip” the word pancake with the spatula just as soon as he/she can read the word aloud. Encourage your child to hurry up and read the word so he can flip that pancake before it burns!

3)   Picture/Word Matching Game:  Improve Comprehension, Word Identification and Memory Skills

Cut out pictures from magazines – for example, a photograph of a dog, a picture of a house, a car, a flower, a cat, a shoe. Next, use magic marker to write the words describing these pictures. On a table or flat surface, display the cut out photos and index words. Have your child work to match the correct photo to the correct word. For an even greater memory challenge and higher level early learning game, turn the card and photos face down. Let your child turn over two cards (one of each – word and picture) with each turn, to see if he/she can make a match.

Looking for more creative ideas for early learning activities and reading readiness games? PBS kids has an online site called Between the Lions that features a selection of educational reading games, stories and videos for children, parents and educators.

Resources: Reading Readiness
Making Words for Reading Readiness

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