Each child learns to read at their own pace. But there are lots of activities you can do with them to help them along that journey. If reading is something that is fun, children will automatically want to read. So rather than just drilling them with pages of word lists, here are some easy to do, fun games and activities to make the process enjoyable.
1. I Spy with my Little Eye
This is one game that is so versatile and can be used to teach all sorts of concepts like colours, shapes, and letter sounds.
The person has to think of an object and then say, “I spy with my little eye, something starting with the letter sound ‘___’ (children who are learning the phonic way, will say the letter sound and not the letter name). And the others have to guess what it is.
e.g. (I see a flower) I say, “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with the letter sound ‘ffff’.” The others have to look around and guess different objects starting with ‘ffff’, till someone finally says “flower”. Then that person gets a chance to have a go.
2. Letter Hop
If you have foam alphabets, arrange them as a path (or you can just write the letters on paper and arrange them around the room, along a path). Say different letter sounds and your child must hop along the path till they reach the correct letter. (You can also do this game with different words that your child is learning.)
3. Car Words
Write all the different letters on small pieces of paper. On an A4 sheet of paper, draw three small boxes (the same size as your papers with the letters) and below that a track where a small toy car can move. Make a word (simple consonant-vowel-consonant words e.g. bug, cat, fit, etc.) Ask the child to say the letter as they move the car under it. And when they reach the end, they should say the word.
4. Balloon Words
Blow some balloons and write some words on them (words your child is learning to read – For 3 year old children, you can just stick the letters. For 4 year olds you can stick simple consonant-vowel-consonant words (e.g. fun, rug, sat). For 5 year olds you can stick sight words (e.g. with, is, see, this) or 4 letter words (e.g. ship, chat, moon) and for 6 year olds tougher words like (money, shine, trick). Hang the balloons around the room.
Let the child stand in the middle of the room. Play some music and let them dance. When you stop the music, call out a word and they must run to the balloon which has that word. Repeat this till the child is familiar with all the words. (If you don’t have balloons, you can just write the words on paper and stick them around the room.)
5. Rhyming Words Jump
Write many rhyming words on pieces of paper. Let the child help you arrange the words on the floor in columns (with all the same rhyming words in one column). Say the end sound of the rhyming words (e.g. ‘ug’). The children must find that column and jump on each word, reading the words as they do.
6. Match the Pictures to the Words Worksheets
These are simple worksheets you can make anywhere you are. I used to do this with my children, especially when I was out and needed them to be quiet and occupied! Divide the paper into two coumns. On one side write simple words one below the other (e.g. cat, sit, dog, tap, fan). On the other side of the paper, draw pictures of the words. (You don’t have to be super artistic to do this – even stick figures will do. It just has to communicate the word.) Your child will be most excited to do this, and after that you can give them crayons to colour the pictures.
7. Sentence Drawing
This is for children who have begun to read simple sentences. Write a simple sentence on a paper. The child must read the sentence and then draw the picture. Some easy sentences for them to read and draw are:
- The jug is big
- The boy is sad.
- The fan is on.
- The pig is in the box.
- The car is on the mat.
You can also do this activity as a ‘Match the pictures to the sentence’, where you draw the pictures on one side and the sentences on the other.
8. Reading Family and Friends Sentences
Another fun activity for children who have begun to read. Children love learning to read the names of their family members and friends. (Even though they may not be able to read the full name, they will be able to see the first letter and guess the rest of the name.) Write funny sentences about each person and get the child to read it. There will be lots of giggles!
Some ideas for sentences:
- Mama sat on top of the car.
- Rahul is not a sad boy.
- Dada had a fat rat.
- Grandpa is in the big ship.
- Nana can sing a song.
- Paul digs for an ant.
9. Jumbled Sentences
Write some sentences on paper, and cut out the individual words. Jumble each sentence up and ask your child to try and arrange it in the correct order. Do this for all the sentences.
Afterwards, your child can mix and match and try and make their own sentences with the words.
Hope your child enjoys some of these activities and games. Let your child go at his or her own pace. If there’s something they are finding difficult, lower the level, or just change the activity. Reading should never be a pressure for the child. The point of these activities are really to make it fun for them. Keep encouraging your child through this journey.