Few academic topics are more critical to your child’s future than the ability to read. Although afternoon book reading and evening storytelling are wonderful foundations, reading games give you the opportunity to reinforce reading skills and focus on certain concepts while your child is learning to read. These games can continue well after he has learned to read to encourage a love of words.
Early on in a reader’s development, games should focus on the ingredients of a word–letters. Games such as memory help a child learn to recognize a letter as he turns it over. Encourage a child to repeat the name of letter as he turns it over. Make it more difficult by requiring him to match capital letters with lowercase ones or letters with a picture whose first sound uses that letter.
You can encourage any age or reader development level to increase vocabulary skills through reading games. You can play a flash card game or a memory game that encourages a child to match one word with a synonym, such as “dog” and “puppy.” This game may use pictures or written words. You can also test kids about antonyms and homonyms through this type of game. Upgrade and change as children grow and develop.
Advanced readers will enjoy being tested on their grammatical knowledge. Through a matching game, readers can match a specific word with its type, such as a “noun” or “verb.” You can play this game with spelling words or vocabulary words that your kids are tested on each week. Write out a sentence, and ask your little readers to mark all the nouns or verbs. As they learn more, have them label each word in the sentence, including adjectives and adverbs. See who can do this fastest.
On the Go
Many of these games can be played in the car, on a plane or in a train. If your kids are getting antsy, pull a reading game out of your hat. Call out a letter, and see who can find a word with that letter. Call out a word, and see who can find a word that rhymes with it. This works well for simple words such as “pat,” as rhyming words can be “cat,” “hat,” “flat” or “sat.”
Mad lib games allow children to come up with their own words. Unlike matching or guessing games, mad libs have no right or wrong answers. Let your kids get silly and have fun with their reading games. Give children a long word or phrase, and see how many words they can make out of that phrase.
- reading image by Renata Osinska from Fotolia.com