Friday, March 20, 2009


There's nothing quite like seeing a child's eyes light up with joy because he/she has finally read their first word. Having fun with language is the key you need to unlock the world of reading to your child. The following are tips for hooking kids on reading along with fun activities. Try them and see what works for you and your child.
1. Make reading a habit. Give your child lots of opportunities to read. Bring a book with you wherever you go. They can read in the car, or waiting in the doctor's office. Make a ritual of reading at bedtime.
2. Play a rhyming game with a puppet. Have the puppet say, "My name is Mark. Can you find words that rhyme with Mark?" If the answer is yes, jump up and down, and if the answer is no, squat down low. "Does park rhyme with Mark? Does ball rhyme with Mark?"
3. Trace and say letter sounds. Involving the senses of touch, sight, and speech is a powerful tool for learning letter sounds. Use a finger to trace a letter while saying the letter sound. Do this on a paper, in a sandbox, or on a plate filled with sugar.
4. Play sound matching games. Using a set of alphabet letters, have your child pick the letter that matches the sound you make. Start with five letters and add more letters when your child is ready. Visit for more phonics games.
5. Pick books that are the right difficulty level for your child. The aim is to give your child many successful reading experiences. Have fiction and non-fiction books available.
6. Have your child watch your lips to see how you make certain sounds. You can ask, "Can you see my tongue touch my teeth when I say (th)? Does it tickle your tongue?"
7. Play sight word concentration games. Make two sets of common sight words, and have them hunt for pairs. If they can read the word, it goes in their pile.
8. Point out words all around the town. (traffic signs, grocery signs, advertising signs)
9. Gently correct your young reader when the meaning of the story is lost..
10. Say silly tongue twisters, sing songs and say rhymes. This will help kids become sensitive to sounds in words.
11. While you read aloud, use musical instruments to create suspense, or a silly, happy or sad atmosphere. This can bring a story to life and keep your child engaged. You can even make simple shakers with beans or rice inside a can.
12. Create the atmosphere you find in the book. For example, use a poster board to build a rocket if the book is about outer space. When you read aloud, read with expression and proper phrasing.
13. Have the children act out what you read. If the character walks to the store, they should be able to walk in place as they reach a door and open it and grab some groceries. This should be fun and can help on those days it's raining out and their energy levels are high.
14. Use a prop bag to illustrate parts of the story. If you're reading, "Miss Spider's Tea Party," you might pull the following items out of the bag: rubber bugs, a tea cup, silk butterflies, or a handkerchief to wipe the spider's tears away.

15. Do a fun activity that relates to the book in some way. For instance, if the book is about a tall person, make your own stilts using metal cans. Punch two holes on either side of each can, near the bottom. Measure a piece of rope so it is the appropriate length for children. Thread one end of the rope into each hole and secure with a knot. To walk on stilts, children stand on the cans, holding the rope in their hands. (Verify that the edge of the can is not sharp, and add masking tape for extra protection.) If you read a book about lions or the circus, you can have your child jump through a hoop like a lion at the circus. This activity may be done indoors or outdoors. Add words of encouragement such as, "Come, my beautiful lions!" Continue raising the hoop, then alternate between high and low.
Keep reading fun! With activities like these you can inspire your child to practice every day. The more kids see and work with words, the more they are able to effortlessly decode them. Be patient and encourage them. This will give them the desire and confidence to continue to learn, and soon they will be hooked on reading.

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