Top 5 Reading Games for Young Children

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Children love to play games. Learning to read should begin and continue to include games to encourage a child’s enthusiasm for the reading process and build connections between what they know and learn.
1. Label it! – The best way to develop and retain new vocabulary is to have a meaningful relationship with it. Once your child knows the sounds of words this is a great game to play to learn and retain sight words.
Develop one word labels for an area of your house with a common theme such as “things around the kitchen”.
Tape each label within a theme on an incorrect item.
Have your child become a detective a re-arrange each label on the correct item.
Have them predict how long it will take them and time them using a timer or watch.
Repeat and have them beat their last score.

2. Draw it! – Children love to create artwork. Why not add words to a masterpiece?
Have your child draw a picture.
Ask them to describe what they drew pointing to each item and action.
Enunciate each word they share and have them tell you the first letter in each word.
Label the picture with the first letter of each word discussed.
Ask them to share what the first letter in each word stands for and complete each word on their drawing.
Hang the picture on display and have your child share the words as well as the picture.
Tell a story about the masterpiece scene using the vocabulary words depicted.
Have your child tell their own story using as many of the words labeled as they can.

3. Act it! – Children have an overwhelming amount of energy. Why not combine what they love to do with reading?
Tell your child you are going to play a game where you must act out actions.
Ask your child if they did any of these commonly used actions such as run, jump, walk, hop, skip, sleep, etc but show them instead of saying them. For example ask, “Did you (and run in place) today?”
Write out each of the actions suggested by your child on separate small pieces of paper.
Show your child each verb after they share it, and complete that given action.
Fold up each piece of paper and place them in a cup, hat, or bowl.
Take turns selecting an action paper, completing it, and guessing it.

4. Sing it! – Everyone wants to be a rock star! A song does not need to make sense to anyone but your child.
Select words that your child is learning, knows, or revolve around a theme of interest. If your child does not know how to read any words select words from the Dolch Sight Word Vocabulary list as a starting point.
Review each word first. Identify first letter sounds, last letter sounds, words with the same beginning letter sound, and a potential theme for a song using them.
Review a commonly known song beat such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or a more popular song by Justin Beiber such as Baby,Baby, Baby.
Have your child replace their list of words into the song’s beat. You will need to use your creativity here and your child will love you for it!
Write out your child’s song.
Have your child practice it with and without you.
Have your child read their song pointing to each word as they sing if possible.
Have your child dress up and perform for you and possibly other family members and friends.

5. Create it! Children have amazing ideas for games. Using new words on game cards, borrowing pieces of games to create a new game, or developing a completely new game is a great way to help your child learn and retain reading skills.
Have your child list what they love about games.
Select the same skills of a familiar game with a new reading twist.

6. Memory – Help your child think of words they want to learn. Create cards by cutting an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper into 9 sections. Write each word twice on as many cards as your child has the patience to help create. Place each card face down and mix them up on a table. Have your child select 2 cards to see if they can find a pair. Play until all pairs have been found. Review each pair of words. Play again!

7. Simon Says – Help your child create word cards listing a body part on each. Have them select a card from a hat, shoe, box, bowl and tell you what Simon Says by reading the body part they helped create.

8. BINGO – Create a minimum of 2 game cards from words your child is learning. Label 5 pieces of small paper with one B, one I, one N, one G, and one O. Include the same new word on each lettered BINGO paper. Repeat with all new words. Put all pieces of paper in a hat, shoe, or bowl. Cut up BINGO markers from small squares big enough to cover one square on a BINGO card. Take turns picking out each game piece from the hat, shoe, or bowl and marking your BING0 card until one player gets BINGO.

9. Candy Land Alternative – Take out your Candy Land boards. Have your child use their labels from the BINGO game and tape the words they created onto the other side of each Candy Land card (NOT the color side). Play the game having your child read each word before they add it to the used pile and move their game piece. Alternatively, you can add target words to each specific color and only mark each BINGO card with the given matching color. For example, each BLUE card, the dial BLUE spot, and the BLUE board color spots can be labeled with the word THEY. This repetition can help your child retain this commonly used sight word.

Please share these engaging reading games and feel free to add your NEW ideas to this blog!