5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read More

5 Ways to Encourage Kids to Read More

You know that I am a passionate Literacy Advocate Warrior Woman, right? I’m passionate about finding ways to encourage kids to read more. And more. And more.

I passionately believe that reading has the power to change and enrich lives. At the moment, we’re all trying to stay home as much as possible, right? #thanksCOVID19
This means that I’m sick of hearing my own voice by the time I get to bedtime stories with my kids. The consequence of this is that my bedtime read alouds have become a bit, ahem, sub-par. Reading isn’t something that should just be saved for bedtime. It should be happening at different points throughout the day. The current situation did make me consider how we can inject more reading into our kid’s days in a stress-free and authentic way.

So here are my 5 ways to encourage kids to read more…

Plug into audiobooks or podcasts

This is my number 1 tip for when I’m sick of hearing my own voice. Audio books and podcasts are an awesome way to ensure that your child is hearing the written word spoken aloud. Furthermore, an important comprehension skill is being able to take what you are hearing and create images in your mind. Audio books and podcasts aid in the development of this skill.

We’ve been loving accessing BorrowBox through our local library’s website.

Here in Australia, we love the podcasts on offer from ABC4Kids. (I’m not sure if my overseas friends can access these. Sorry!)
We also like the Big Life Kids poddy and the Brains On! Science podcast.
The David Walliams Marvellous Musical Podcast is ace. There is also a (paid) Roald Dahl app that allows you to download his stories.

My 2 eldest kids listen to podcasts during their daily “Quiet Time.” This is when they play quietly in their rooms for 90 minutes or so. Sometimes we’ll play a podcast as we eat lunch or we’ll often listen to an audio book on the school run in the car (remember when we used to drive around?!)

Read recipes and get kids in the kitchen

Look, I know that having kids in the kitchen can be messy and stressful. But recipes are such an authentic way to engage readers in a procedural text. They are one of the most engaging and authentic ways to encourage kids to read more.
And you end up with something delicious to eat! Win!

Create a Book Nook

I’ve yet to meet a little friend who doesn’t love building cubbies and forts. If reading is feeling a bit stale and unloved at your place, rethink the location. Helping your little reader to create a book nook filled with cosy cushions and great reads can be a fun way to mix things up and encourage kids to read more.

I’m also a big fan of scattering books in different places across the home so that books, and reading, are always accessible.
If space permits, I’m also a huge advocate for displaying some books with front covers facing outwards. Books on a bookshelf with spines out can be quite uninviting to a child.

Be a Reading Role Model

In order to see reading as a valued pastime and valuable skill, children need to see the adults in their lives reading for pleasure and embracing books. This is awesome if you’re a book-loving adult. This is your carte blanche to read, read, read. If you’re not much of a reader, I’m going to ask you to fake it until you make it. The benefits for your child are far-reaching. This role also means that you can open up conversations with your children about the books they are reading, what they are enjoying and what they are not. Being able to talk about books is an important reading skill!

Read + Create

If you’ve hung around here for awhile, you’ll know that teaming reading with creating is my superpower. This allows children to go beyond the book and deepen their understandings of and links with a book.
Need some help with reading + creating?
If you sign up to my newsletter crew, you receive a free 30+ page READ + CREATE guide.

You might like to grab my free printable of how I set up a READ + CREATE experience with my kids.

Here are some READ + CREATE ideas from my blog:

Read a book about monsters and make some salt dough monsters

Read a book about superheroes and make some capes

Find more reading tips here.

 

 

Ideas for Learning from Home During Coronavirus

Ideas for Learning from Home During Coronavirus

Found yourself suddenly thrust into the role of homeschooler thanks to Coronavirus? Looking for some simple and fun learning ideas for learning from home? Let me see what I can do for you.

So here’s the thing.
As a teacher, I don’t expect you to replicate the classroom in your home during these strange and confusing times. I would hope that you’re all just loving hard on your littles but it’s a weird one to balance, isn’t it? I’m ALL FOR giving kids the space to get bored. But I also find it useful to have some ideas to fall back on when my kids apparently lose all ability to think up an activity for themselves and are climbing up the walls.

Trying to maintain normalcy in times that are wack seems near-impossible. So don’t go too hard on yourself if your *lessons* don’t turn out as planned. The ideas for learning from home outlined from here are all open-ended. Don’t be rigid and go with the flow. You never know where it will take you.
Process not product, people!

To make things easier, click here for a printable A4 version of Teacher-Approved Ideas for Learning From Home. Stick it on the fridge!

Start a virtual book club with school mates

Okay if we try and be positive and look for some silver linings, imagine all the books our kids can enjoy during this time.
Missing friends and social isolation is a big worry for our little ones. Rally a group of schoolmates and meet up via FaceTime, Skype or Zoom and discuss the books that are being enjoyed at each home. You could structure each call with a guiding question like “Who was your favourite character and why?” “Tell us about your favourite part of the story.”

Maybe you could use my Book Scavenger Hunt (developed for Book Week a few years ago) as a way to thematically organise each call. For example, “This week we’re going to find all the books about Dinosaurs on our shelves. We will share our favourite Dinosaur book when we call each other.”

And for all those books you’re going to read, how about some of these awesome origami book marks from my friend Maggy at Red Ted Art?

Get out all the board games or design your own

Board games are a totally under-rated way for families to slow down and connect. They also give children a fab chance to practise turn-taking, winning and losing. Take an audit of the board games in the cupboard and pull one out every now and then.

We had so much fun designing these designing these Halloween board games. Designing a board game is such an excellent design and make experience for children.

Imaginative Play

Set up an imaginary restaurant. Holy moly all the writing practice a child will get playing a waiter or waitress! All that vocab development as you construct a menu. See how such a simple set-up is infused with authentic learning opportunities?

Choose a teddy and plan a birthday party for him or her. Write invitations. Plan the party food. Peruse catalogues or supermarket websites and write a shopping list. Calculate your budget. Create decorations. What parts of the syllabus have we covered here? Writing for different purposes and contexts. Letter-sound relationships. Reading for a purpose. Money. Number. Addition. Subtraction. Learning disguised as play? My favourite.

Play dough is always a winner here. Set up a bakery. Or make some tea party small worlds.

Here is a gorgeous invitation to create using nature from the backyard from The Art Garden.

Or how about a pretend play pet tank from the genius that is Amanda at barley and birch?

Design and Create an Indoor City

Cardboard boxes are the best. Set some out with some markers and challenge your child to create a city.
Like this pretend play pet tank from the genius that is Amanda at barley and birch?.

Maybe you could create a map of your home?

Just Add Water

This is one of my parenting mantras. When everybody seems to be residing in Cranky City or Tantrum Town, I offer a bath.
If I’m in dire straits, I add lavender oil to the bath water to calm the farm.
If you have cornflour and food colouring in the pantry, you could make bath paint.

Make bath time fun with this 3 ingredient bath paint for kidsAlternatively if the weather is nice, I send them into the backyard with some buckets of water.
They can wash the toy cars. Or wash the windows.

This egg carton floating whale from Amanda at barley and birch is one of my all-time favourite crafts.

Create Something Inspired by a Book

You know that teaming reading with creating is my jam, right?

Grab my free printable of how I set up a READ + CREATE experience with my kids.
If you sign up to my newsletter, you’ll receive a free guide filled with READ + CREATE ideas.

Here are some READ + CREATE ideas from my blog:

Read a book about monsters and make some salt dough monsters

Read a book about superheroes and make some capes

Follow my friend Julie on Instagram. She is an early years teacher in Wales who does amazing book-based art with her students.

I’m lucky to have so many creative lady friends.  Cara from hello, moonpie has gloriously colourful bookish art projects too.

Here’s a gorgeous book-inspired mixed media collage from my friend Lisa at The Art Garden. Or how about this whimsical salt dough nests?

Listen to podcasts

I predict I’m going to get very sick of hearing my own voice soon.

Podcasts are a great way to pour vocab and stories into the ears of your children.

Here in Australia, we love the podcasts on offer from ABC4Kids. (I’m not sure if my overseas friends can access these. Sorry!)

We also like the Big Life Kids poddy and the Brains On! Science podcast.

I’m looking forward to introducing my kids to David Walliams Marvellous Musical Podcast.

Write a letter to a friend

Write an old-fashioned letter to a friend. Take a few snaps of it and send it via the Interwebs for instant connection and easy writing practice. Or try your hand at some of these cool pop-up cards from Maggy at Red Ted Art?

Go on a virtual excursion

The borders of the world may be shutting down but the world is opening up virtually.

12 excellent museums are offering virtual visits.

Many zoos around the world offer live streams of certain enclosures.

The Royal Opera House is launching a free program of content for the culturally curious.

My friend Hana runs the Curious Wanderers Society– it’s chock-a-block filled with resources to explore the world from home.

Lastly, what do you do when the proverbial poo hits the fan?
Channel your inner Lady Gaga and “Just dance, gonna be okay.
Turn the music up and DANCE. (My husband attempted to introduce my kids to rave music this morning. They were not impressed.)
Here’s a super fun activity that teams music with painting.

And finally, you might need some ideas for crafting with paper loo rolls. Here’s 79 ideas for paper roll crafts from Maggy at Red Ted Art.

If you try any of these ideas for learning from home, let me know on social media! I’m @ohcreativeday on FB and Insta.

6 Fun Ways to Encourage Children Learning to Write

6 Fun Ways to Encourage Children Learning to Write

 

Watching children learning to write is such a magical process.
The current catch cry at our place is “But how do I spell that?”
Here’s what I have been doing at my place to help unlock the world of writing for my kids.

This post contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your support.

Establish a writing space

Is your child discovering the magic of letters and words? And pencils and pens and paper? Here are 6 fun and playful ways to encourage children learning to write. #preschooler #preschoolwriting #learningtowrite #writingactivitiesforpreschoolers

My little guy moved into a Big Boy bed.
So we were left with a cot.
Which my husband suggested we convert into a kiddy desk.
Who was I to argue?!

By no means do you need to create a fancy-pants cot-turned-desk writing space for your child learning to write.
You just need to create an inviting writing space. And stock it with accessible writing materials.

Full transparency: This has lead to many pens and pencils being strewn across the space.
Hello Teachable Moment! I’ve been trying to embrace it as an opportunity to teach my children about the need to organise our belongings. #workinprogress

Provide a variety of materials

Is your child discovering the magic of letters and words? And pencils and pens and paper? Here are 6 fun and playful ways to encourage children learning to write. #preschooler #preschoolwriting #learningtowrite #writingactivitiesforpreschoolers

In their writing space, my children have paper, pencils and markers.

At this stage, my focus is on my children experimenting with writing and mark making.
I’m not hung up on letter formation or correct spelling.
Take a playful, learning approach to writing by supplying different tools and materials.

Things like:

Whiteboards and whiteboard markers
Take writing outside and write with chalk on the fence or footpath
Or use a paintbrush and water to paint words onto the fence or footpath


Novelty materials like these early stART alphabet crayons from Micador are fun. I’ve found them excellent for getting my 3-year-old, a reluctant writer/ sketcher, excited about mark making. (Thank you to Micador for gifting these fab crayons to us.)

Provide an environment rich in text

Children learning to write are excited about letters and words.
Support this curiosity by providing lots of visual support and prompts.
My children are at that obsessive stage of learning to write their names.
So we’ve been doing a lot of discussing about how a name starts with a capital and then lower case letters follow.
I have posters for their first letter so they can see how it is formed.
There is an alphabet chart on the wall. (We got a super cute unicorn-inspired one from Send a Unicorn.)
They also have the desk charts shown above so that they can refer to the alphabet as they write.

Learning to write is a super complex process. Having visual references helps young writers through the process.

Encourage children to play with letters and words

Is your child discovering the magic of letters and words? And pencils and pens and paper? Here are 6 fun and playful ways to encourage children learning to write. #preschooler #preschoolwriting #learningtowrite #writingactivitiesforpreschoolers

This should probably be tip #1.
Children learning to write are excited by the possibility of letters, sounds and words.
Provide lots of playful ways for your children to explore this world of letters and words.
We provide old keyboards for the kids to play with.
Letter tiles, magnets or alphabet cards (bought or DIY) are other ways to show your child how to play with words.

Show your child how writing is an everyday activity

Heading to the supermarket? Demonstrate how you write a shopping list.
Filling in your diary or calendar? Model how you write down the details of an appointment.
Going to a birthday party? Show your child how you think about a message and then write it down.

Involve your child by showing them writing in everyday contexts.

Develop fine motor skills

Successful writers need strong hands.
If you’re concerned that your little one shows no interest in writing, never fear.
Provide lots of fine motor activities for your child and rest assured that they are building up the skills required to eventually become a writer.

Here are 14 fun and playful fine motor activities.
The Happy Hands eBook is also packed with playful ideas for developing fine motor skills.

Happy Hands book

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Is your child discovering the magic of letters and words? And pencils and pens and paper? Here are 6 fun and playful ways to encourage children learning to write. #preschooler #preschoolwriting #learningtowrite #writingactivitiesforpreschoolers

 

Is your child discovering the magic of letters and words? And pencils and pens and paper? Here are 6 fun and playful ways to encourage children learning to write. #preschooler #preschoolwriting #learningtowrite #writingactivitiesforpreschoolers

 

Feelings Paper Plate Craft

Feelings Paper Plate Craft

A paper plate turned into a face for a simple feelings craft.

What does your face do when you experience different feelings?
This simple feelings craft encourages children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion.

Mr almost-3 has been having some BIG feelings lately.
Which often result in epic meltdowns.
Which results in Mum having BIG feelings.

To try and deal with the emotional roller coaster, we’ve been naming our feelings.
This book has been helping A LOT.

Each letter of the alphabet is assigned an emotion and accompanied by a gorgeous illustration.
Aussie friends, you can purchase your copy here.
International friends, you can purchase your copy here.
(These are affiliate links. Thanks for your support!)

I’ve also written this post on picture books about anxiety and worrying.

To accompany the book, we used some paper plates to create a simple feelings craft.

What you will need:

Paper plates
Split pins
Markers
White card
Wool
Hole punch

What to do:

This simple feelings craft uses paper plates to encourage children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion. #kidscrafts #paperplatecraft #feelingscraft

My children have an insane love for painting paper plates.
So we had a session of painting paper plates. As you do.

This step is obviously optional. You do not need to paint the plates if this is going to give YOU BIG feelings.

Using a craft knife and mat, create a “window” through which the mouth will be seen.
This is a step to be completed by an adult.

This simple feelings craft uses paper plates to encourage children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion. #kidscrafts #paperplatecraft #feelingscraft

I included this photo mainly to highlight that craft is all about trial and error. #keepingitreal
On a second plate, draw a variety of mouths illustrating the feelings you wish to explore.
I then trimmed this second plate down, so that it would sit neatly behind the top plate.

On a piece of card, draw eyes and cut out eyebrows.
Use split pins to secure these to your top plate.

You could draw a diverse range of eyes to illustrate different feelings.
The eyes could then be replaced with blu-tack as you discussed different emotions.

Secure your plates together with another split pin.

This simple feelings craft uses paper plates to encourage children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion. #kidscrafts #paperplatecraft #feelingscraft

And because I like including as much fine motor practice into a craft activity as possible, I used a hole punch so that wool could be threaded through for hair.

This simple feelings craft uses paper plates to encourage children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion. #kidscrafts #paperplatecraft #feelingscraft

Rotate the bottom plate to change emotions. Discuss what our eyes and eyebrows can do when we experience this feeling.
The above face is what I look like when we are out of milk and there is no morning coffee.

This simple feelings craft uses paper plates to encourage children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion. #kidscrafts #paperplatecraft #feelingscraft

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This simple feelings craft uses paper plates to encourage children to think about and discuss how their face can show emotion. #kidscrafts #paperplatecraft #feelingscraft

Creative and Playful Alphabet Activities

Creative and Playful Alphabet Activities

This post contains affiliate links.
Thanks for your support!

I adore that stage in a child’s life when the World of Letters starts to open up and the magic of the alphabet is discovered.
But how many times can you sing the ABC song before you want to stab yourself in the eye with a fork?!
(Just asking for a friend.)
If you’re looking for some creative and playful alphabet activities, you’ve come to the right place.

Over on Instagram, I co-host the weekly @get.creative.with challenge with the Little Button Diaries team.
Each week, we welcome a guest judge who chooses a theme for our community.
Last week, we welcomed Molly from @littleoneslearn. Molly challenged everybody to #getcreativewith the alphabet.
So much creative, alphabetty goodness!

Creative Alphabet Activities for Younger Kids

It feels good to be back! After what feels like an eternity of being ill, the glue gun is plugged in, the glitter and paint are out and we’re back to crafting! Hooray! Over on @get.creative.with our judge Molly from @littleoneslearn is challenging us to #getcreativewith the alphabet this week and we’re excited all from way from A – Z. To get us started we made this pipe cleaner alphabet fishing game we spied on @wonder.and.awe’s super duper feed ages ago. The Buttons loved it! Come and join in with our alphabet fun over on @get.creative.with. All you need to do is tag your pics @get.creative.with and #getcreativewith and be following @littleoneslearn, @ohcreativeday and us! Easy as A, B, C!

A post shared by Laura & Tia ✨ Crafters & Mamas (@littlebuttondiaries) on

The Little Button Diaries team created an alphabet fishing game out of pipe cleaners. Make a fishing rod out of some dowel, yarn and use a hot glue gun to stick a magnet at the end of the yarn.
Over on their site, they also have a tutorial on making your own felt alphabet with it’s own storage bag.

Little Button Diaries website / On Instagram

Oh hey!  That’s me on Instagram!
I wrote the alphabet in white oil pastels on paper.
The children then painted over the paper with liquid water colours to reveal the hidden alphabet.
You could also use watered-down food dye.

Using our alphabet charts, we then went on an alphabet hunt around the house.
We collected items beginning with the letters of the alphabet and made a design with the gathered items.
Finally, we played a game of good ol’ I-Spy using the items we had gathered.

2…ABC Animal Jamboree…. . A🐜B🐝C🐊A🐜B🐝C🐊A🐜B🐝C🐊A🐜B🐝C🐊 . Bb…Boa Constrictor. The Boa Constructor’s a slippery snake Who slithers and slides round his tree, And when tasty animals wander too close He squashes them slowly for tea! . . . A little homemade addition to this favourite ABC alphabet book. If you love ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and all the other fab books by Giles Andreae & David Wojtowycz, then you’ll love this ensemble of their creations in alphabetical order. . This copy was one of my daughters favourites way back when she was little. So when @get.creative.with said ‘Alphabet’ I just had to get this book out! My initial idea was an animal painted pebble AND the letters to match, but I think the animals will be an ongoing project! Too many ideas…not enough time! . A week off school meant a trip to the beach, so pebbles were collected. Out came the chalk paint, then the stamps & ink pad, followed by the Posca pens…to make a tactile, multi-sensory resource…so nice to hold and and a little uppercase/lowercase, match the letter to the page game. Work in progress pics in my stories! . . ABC Animal Jamboree…Giles Andrea & David Wojtowycz , Orchard Books 2009. . A🐜B🐝C🐊A🐜B🐝C🐊A🐜B🐝C🐊A🐜B🐝C🐊 . . . . . . @get.creative.with @littleoneslearn #getcreativewith #alphabet #abc #animaljamboree #hobbycraft #gilesandreae #davidwojtowycz #paintedpebbles #hobbycraft #invitationtoplay #invitationtoread #kidlitpicks #kidartlit #kidsbooks #storystones #poscapens #kidsbookstagram #readingmatters #storybooks #getcreativewithbooks #kidsbookcrafts #crafternoon #waketomake #creativelife #oursensorykids #earlyyearslearning #creativechildhood #earlylearning101 #kidscrafts101 #tagfromtheheart #funcraftskids

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Julie Curtin is the kind of Kindy teacher of our dreams. Her classroom looks like such a fun, creative space.
Julie paired her activity with an alphabet book and made letter pebbles. Click on the picture for the full process.

Julie on Instagram

Dig out the fidget spinners! Create a line of letters and get that spinner spinning!
The aim is for your child to name the letter as the spinner moves past it. Extra points if they can provide the corresponding sound!

Raising Kinley website / On Instagram

I love how simple this set up is. Trace around some magnetic letters and then have your little learner match the letter to the traced shape.
Or you could use stickers and add in some fine motor practice!

Busy Little Bodies on Instagram

My friend Amy is the Queen of literacy activities. She’s a bit of a phonemic awareness nerd.
Use stickers on a dice to create a letter dice. Learners keep track of how many times letters have been rolled by using coloured pom poms.
It’s letter identification meets chance and date.

Playful Little Learners website / On Instagram

We have these bath foam letters at our place and they drive us nuts. They appear all over the house.
I love how Cristin and her little learner used the letters to create animals beginning with that letter.

Artsplorers website / On Instagram

Such a genius way to use Duplo with this lower case to capital matching game! And what a great way to build the strength in little fingers through play.

Teacher Types website / On Instagram

I love that this art invitation is adaptable to younger and older learners. This would be a cool way to make some personalised, alphabetty art for a bedroom or playroom.
Check out the tutorial here.

Art Camp La website / On Instagram

Creative Alphabet Activities for Older Kids

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Joanna has 4 children and this activity appealed to all of them. Such a great activity for elementary students.
Using pencils and sharpies, the children designed their own letters and incorporated zentangles into their designs.

The Blue Barn website / On Instagram

I love the process behind this alphabet art. A grid was drawn on some water color paper with pencil. One letter per square, each having upper and lower case letters. Once the letters were written in black oil pastel, the entire page was wet watercolored.  Wet water coloring is when you dip the entire page in water, making sure the entire page gets wet then add your pigment. Such a cool result!

The Mama Juggle is Real on Instagram

It’s been raining nonstop here, reminding me of all the indoor recesses I spent hanging in a corner with my friends making up our own handwriting. Do the kids still do that these days, or am I just a billion years old? 👵🏼 I happened to see that this week’s @getcreativewith challenge from @littleoneslearn is the alphabet, and I just had to join in and share my love for the (lost?) art of handwriting… . A few years ago I saw a beautiful interactive video installation by the artist Xu Bing about the history of Chinese Characters. Did you know that the strokes used to make the symbols were originally styled after bird tracks and shadows cast by trees? Such a striking way to honor nature, no? Xu created an insanely fun calligraphy lesson that used Chinese calligraphic principles to write English. Using brushes and ink to make expressive marks, he wrote English words in squares, writing left to right, top to bottom and outside to inside. . Today I tried using his techniques and it was so much fun! Like a beautiful code, this is a fun experiment in mark-making for older kids, and a whole different way to write and read the English alphabet. Using different kinds of ink and brushes produces a huge variety of results, and is a great reminder that every letter is a work of art. Thanks for the challenge @littleoneslearn! (PS – we also had fun making this “aged” paper with coffee and coffee grounds! A quick pop in the oven and an ironing dries it out in 15 minutes and gives it this beautiful effect!) . . . #getcreativewith #alphabet #kidart #playmatters #learningthroughplay #teachersofinstagram

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Amanda was inspired by the work of conceptual artist Xu Bing who created a lesson using Chinese calligraphic principles to write English.What a super fun way to explore mark-making and art materials with older learners.

Barley and Birch website / On Instagram

My friend Agnes developed this super cute Unicorn Alphabet poster after a conversation in the car with her kids.
It’d look so sweet in a nursery!
You can purchase your copy here.

I also adore these personalised napkin rings! Bringing together fine motor skills with nature and playing with letters. Darling!

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If you're looking for some creative and playful alphabet activities, this is the post for you. Here are 12 alphabet activities for a wide range of learners.

15 Playful Ways to Learn Sight Words

15 Playful Ways to Learn Sight Words

A whiteboard with magnetic letters that read SIGHT WORDS

Sight word practice- love it or loathe it, it’s a pretty important part of learning to read.
How do you help your littles learn their sight words?

Why are sight words important?
As the name suggests, sight words or high frequency words are so called because they occur frequently in texts and the goal is for your child to recognize them on sight.

Reading is a really complex process that requires the use of many different strategies.
Sight word recognition is one of these strategies that kids can rely upon to read a text.

Why is this important?

  • Many sight words do not follow basic phonic principles, so they can’t be sounded out.
  • They enable fluent reading. Reading is a laborious and complex process. Knowing words upon sight, means that beginning readers do not need to decode every single word. Decoding every single word affects the flow of the reading. Fluent reading aids comprehension which is the ultimate goal of reading. Knowledge of sight words allows energy to go towards comprehension not decoding.
  • They promote confidence.

What is the best way to learn sight words?
Practice, practice and repeat!

The more opportunity your child has to play with these words, practice them and spot them in texts, the better.

Learning with Manipulatives

I Spy Bottle

This is a fabulously portable activity that is super simple to make. Fill a dried-out water bottle with rice and sparkles. Write sight words onto small pieces of card and insert into the bottle. Kids have to shake the bottle up to uncover different words. A great activity to keep in the car so that your children can practice their sight words en route to swimming lessons, piano lessons, etc.

Duplo
Write letters on the side of Duplo pieces. Children can connect the pieces to create words. A great way to highlight letter formation as well. Make sure to use long pieces for the “tall” letters (like k, l, t) and the letters with ‘tails’ (like y, g, and p.) Use the smaller pieces for letters that only have a “body” (like a, e, c, o.)

Magnets

Magnets are always a favourite in the classroom. When teamed with a whiteboard, this is a great way for children to practice “read it, build it, write it.
Children read the word aloud. They build it with magnets and then write it. This would be a great activity to organise on the fridge door. Your little reader can practice whilst you get on with organising dinner.

Learning Sight Words Through Sensory Play

Playdough
An oldie but a goldie. Get your reader to trace their sight words into the playdough, using a finger or a paddle pop stick.
They could also roll the playdough into logs and form the letters of the sight words. Lots of fine motor development happening at the same time! We love this playdough recipe.

Paint in a Bag
Squirt some poster paint into a sandwich bag. Seal the bag and cover with duct tape to ensure it is sealed tightly. Give your reader a cotton bud and let them trace their words into the paint. Watch the words disappear!

Shaving Cream
Cover a baking tray in shaving cream and let your child use their “finger pencils” to write their sight words.

Paint with Water
A no-mess activity. Equip your child with a container of water and a paintbrush. Let them “paint” their words on the exterior of the house, on the driveway, on the fence… This is also a great activity for bath time if the clock has beaten you and you didn’t manage to fit in sight word practice in the afternoon madness.

The above activities are also great for fine motor development?
Need some playful ways to develop fine motor skills? Here you go!

Learning Sight Words Through Movement

Chalk and Trampoline
Get your reader to write their sight words in chalk on the trampoline. They have to jump on the word that you call out. A great way to get kids to use up their energy whilst completing their homework.

AUSLAN
Visit the AUSLAN Signbank and get your children to spell their sight words using finger spelling.

Twister
Have your child write their sight words on index cards or scraps of paper. Lay them out on the floor and play Twister. “Put your left hand on the word ‘from.'” You could also play this with chalk on the driveway.

Learning Sight Words With Games

BANG!
One of the most popular sight words games I’ve used in a classroom. Children choose a card from a pile of sight words. If they can read the word, they keep the card. Interspersed through the pile are some BANG! cards. If you draw a BANG! card, you have to put all your cards back into the central pile. The person at the end of the game with the most cards, wins. I first saw this ideas over at K3 Teacher Resources.

Fishing

Cardboard fish shapes with sight words written on them to make a game.

Cut out some fish shapes. Write sight words on the fish and place a paper clip on each fish. Create a “fishing rod” with a ruler, string and a magnet and kids can “fish” out the sight words they recognise or the words that you specify.

Memory
Another oldie but a goldie. Write sight words twice onto pieces of card. Turn all cards word-side down. Readers have to find matching sight words.

Bingo
Create a bingo card with a list of sight words. As you call out a word, your reader has to locate it and cover it on their game board. (This is a fun one to rope all family members into!)

Sight Word Sticks

Write all sight words on some craft sticks or paddle pop sticks. Place them in a jar and your little one has to pull out a stick and read the word. To add another level of fun, set a timer. See how long it takes for your reader to read all the sight words. See if they can beat their record each time.

The key to learning sight words is to practise, practise, practise. And then repeat. And repeat again. Feel free to vary your prompts. You don’t need to be continually asking “Where is the word ‘the?’ Where is the word ‘from?’
You can help your child identify the patterns in words and the way words work by asking things like,
“Find me a word ending with -ey.”
“Where is a word starting with the sound th-.”
“Find me a three letter word beginning with b-.”

Above all, sight word practice should be fun. Otherwise it just feels like rote learning.

This post first appeared over at Mumtastic.

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Sight word practice is an important part of learning to read that can feel like rote learning. Here are 15 playful ways to practice and learn sight words.