Learn to Read 2: Lots More Activities!

Here are more great ways to teach your child to read!  Be sure to read through the “Sandpaper Letters” post first, as it includes some basic concepts you’ll need to know.

Reading Along

This is something to occasionally do as you go along… get out an early reader book, and point to each word as you pronounce it, and let the child say it with / after you.  This teaches them about left-to-right reading, starting at the top and moving down, and the concept that each grouping of letter is a word.

“Pretend” Reading

Kids will often memorize a favorite book, and will “read” it to you.  Encourage this!  This is actually a step toward reading – they understand the story unfolds as you turn through the pages and has an order.

Starting / Ending Sounds

Occasionally bring up a word – perhaps something you are talking about or standing near – and say, “what sound does this start with?”  For example, if you point to your cat and ask for the starting sound, the answer would be “K K K”.

Later (once they are really comfortable with letter sounds and starting sounds) – do the same thing for ending sounds.  So, “what sound does Dog end with” would be answered with a “G G G”.

Picture Matching

For these activities you will need a number of pictures of common items.  You can use flashcards for this purpose, or make your own by pasting magazine cutouts on index cards.

Starting sounds:  say the name of the item on the picture, and ask for the starting sound.  This is similar to the above activity, so for example “cat” would be  a “K K K” sound.

Matching:  once your student is generally accurate with the starting sounds – set out 2 pictures and give them a sandpaper letter which is the starting sound for one of them.  For example, you might set out pictures of a dog and a cat, and a letter “D”.  You would ask them to match the letter to the picture.  So, they should make the “D D D”  sound, then say “dog” and “cat”, and match the “D” with the picture of the dog.

Advanced matching:  when they are proficient at matching a letter to a picture – set out multiple pictures and the same number of letters, one letter for each selected picture.  They should match up all the letters with the pictures.  So for example, you might set out pictures of a bird, cat, dog and snake and the letters “B”, “C”, “D” and “S”.

Ending sounds:  once they are comfortable with starting sounds, you can move to similar activities for ending sounds.

Moveable Alphabet

Once they have the starting and ending sound concepts down – move to small words with the sandpaper letters or alphabet refrigerator magnets.  Demonstrate how changing the sounds changes the word.  So, you might start with the “AT” sound.  Set up the letters A and T as “AT” and make sure they are comfortable pronouncing it.  Then, get out a selection of letters which can be used to make words with AT.  They put each letter at the beginning of the AT, one at a time, and pronounce the word.  So – you might set out B, C and H.  They would then spell out and sound out BAT, CAT and HAT.

Easy Readers

Once they are comfortable with setting up simple words – it’s time to move to some simple books!  I’ve found many of the phonics readers frustrating for the first-time reader due to inclusion of bigger words.  We start with the Starfall Learn to Read set:

And now… celebrate!  Your little one is reading!

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