My oldest daughter began expressing a desire to read when she turned four. At that point she knew her letters and a few letter sounds, but was nowhere near being able to read. Over the past year, I’ve found quite a few easy (and fun!) activities that you can do to encourage early reading skills. In honor of National Read A Book Day I have some tips to help your kids learn to read.
One of the first things your child will need to accomplish in order to read is mastering letter sounds. One way to do this is by having them match letters to objects. I love attaching printouts of objects to our white board and letting my daughter match magnetic letters to them. You can also modify this activity for children that don’t know all of their letter sounds. Simply ask them what the object is and when they say it, let them know what letter the object starts with. I do this for my youngest daughter and then she will find the letter and match it from there.
Another early skill to accomplish is writing their letters. A fun way to do this is by printing the outline of words and letting them trace them with different colors. You can start with single letters and then move on to their name or words. This can help them learn to quickly recognize letters, their name and sight words.
As you move on to word formation, you can set up activities that allow them to match and build words. One easy way to do this is by providing flashcards and a moving alphabet. I often give them alphabet lacing beads because I love how it doubles as a fine motor activity!
Another simple word building activity can be created by saying short words out loud to your child. After you say the word, spell it letter by letter while they “build” the word. We love using our Snap n Learn Elephants for this activity, as my daughter views it more like a game and play.
Once your child knows their letter sounds and understands word building, there are a ton of different activities that you can use for word blending and early reading. I often match our AlphaBee set to free “mystery CVC word” printables that I find on Pinterest. These printables have a set amount of letter blanks for each word. Once my daughter identifies the object, we work together to sound out and match the letter blocks to the spaces.
When my daughter first expressed her desire to read, I had no idea where to start. By slowly introducing easy activities like the ones above, we’ve been able to build her skills little by little in a fun and playful way. Now, a year later, she’s so excited to be starting her first early reader and phonics books!