Is your child learning to read? These simple activities are perfect for home reading practice because they boost skills in five areas that are necessary for literacy development: Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. And Bonus: These activities are easy to manage for parents, and FUN for kids!
- S-t-r-e-tch Words to Build Phonemic Awareness
PHONEMIC AWARENESS: The ability to hear individual sounds in a word. This is extremely important for reading and spelling.
Next time you’re riding in the car or waiting in line, ask your child to say the individual sounds they hear in a word. Example ship =/sh/ /i/ /p/ OR you can say the sounds in a word and your child can tell you the whole word.
More ideas: Take turns naming rhyming words, or ask your child to name the beginning, middle or ending sound in a word. Or ask your child to change the beginning sound. For example, say cat. Change the /c/ to /b/.
2. Build Words to Practice Phonics Skills
PHONICS: When students use phonics skills they identify the letters in words, say the sounds they represent, then blend the sounds together to read a word. This is important because it helps students figure out how to read words they don’t know.
Here’s an activity to help children practice identifying sound spellings and blending to read words: Write the letters of a word on individual sticky notes. Ask your child to put the sticky notes together, blend each sound, then read the word fast. (You can also use letter magnets if you have them.) Challenge them to build their own words to read.
Example: b a t = b a t
*You can also scramble the letters and arrange them to make a word.
3. Read & Re-read words
FLUENCY: The ability to read smoothly with appropriate expression. This is important because it helps students better understand what they read.
Reading the same text multiple times helps students fine-tune their fluency skills.
Work as a family to pick a fun poem or a song and practice reading and re-reading it until you can perform it for the family.
More ideas: Practice reading a text using different voices. Example: Read in a high-pitched voice, read like a baby, read like an opera singer, read like a turtle, etc.
Or write a list of common words in a row. Drive a toy car down the row of words, reading each word as you pass it. See how fast you can go!
4. Listen to Read Alouds
READING COMPREHENSION is understanding what we read. Reading texts aloud to children is one of the best ways to help them practice their reading comprehension skills. They practice the skill of visualizing while they read, learn about many topics to expand their background knowledge and vocabulary, and best of all, create fun and positive experiences around reading!
Create a simple routine. Read to your child for a few minutes before bed, have an older sibling read aloud over breakfast, listen to audiobooks in the car, etc. Pick books that relate to your child’s interests. Any type of text works. Just have fun!
5. Have Fun With Words
VOCABULARY: Understanding and using a variety of different words is important for reading comprehension and oral language development.
Challenge your family to expand their vocabularies by finding and sharing an interesting new Word of the Day. You could take turns teaching your word to the rest of the family at dinnertime.
Play simple word games that reinforce word meanings.
Example: Synonym matching. Write several pairs of synonyms on small pieces of paper, turn the pairs so the synonym side is facing down. (So you can’t see the words.) Take turns flipping over cards until you find two cards that share the same meaning.