As the letter sounds are learned in phonics, make a habit of writing each letter on an index card. Use large, block letters that are easy to read. Remember that kids who are beginning to read can tire easily of focusing on small words, so when you make the words their size, you’re eliminating the likeliness of physical eye strain. Conversely, you could use a pencil to make a dotted line for the child to trace over in marker, for writing practice.
Games to Teach Reading
Build-A-Word Workshop: Have several cards of each letter learned on hand and set a timer for 60 seconds. Have the child (or children) race to see who can build the most words. After the game, write a list of all the words they built (or record the number of words) Challenge them to beat their own high scores.
Milk Carton Blocks: When new letter sounds or blends are learned, add more index cards to the stack and play again. Kindergarten learning games are fun! Try using empty milk cartons to make bigger letters for kids who have trouble manipulating the index cards. You can have 3-4 letters on each milk carton, since they can be turned around.
More Language Skills Games
Scavenger Hunt: Write several nouns on sentence strips and place them in a manila envelope. Challenge kids to a scavenger hunt, removing up to three words and searching for their physical form. Be sure that the words you write are things that can be found, or declare that trade-ups are allowed, so that the child who reads the word can still win the game.
Active Kindergarten Reading Games
Musical Motions: Write the words for verbs like run, jump, howl, stomp, shake, jiggle, sway and bounce in large print on sheets of white copy paper. Place them on chairs or on the floor and turn on the music. When the music stops, instead of sitting, kids are to perform the action written on the card. Another version of this game has children imitating the animal whose name is written on the card. For very early readers, they could simply read the word aloud.
Playing games to teach kindergarten reading helps kids retain the natural love of learning, while continuing to meet state or school board standards. Instead of using the boring workbook activities that are designed to keep a room full of kids sitting still; try playing active games for teaching reading. Challenge yourself to think of a game that replaces every single lesson. More important, have fun.
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