Making reading games is a fun, inexpensive way to support young learners
Last month I was invited to make a presentation for the parents at a local preschool. Unlike most of my presentations, this was a hands-on workshop. We used alphabet stamps, pencil crayons, alphabet stickers and alphabet foam shapes to make reading games. This sort of workshop becomes very social – the adults get to play with the craft supplies for a change!
Over the years, I have made many, many pre-reading and reading games. Apart from the fact that the games can be customized with respect to theme and difficulty, from a cost perspective, homemade can’t be beaten!
Whenever possible, I like to make activities self-correcting. For example, for some matching activities I put small marks on the back of the playing pieces so that the children can double-check their “matches.”
I’ve also tried to ensure that many of the games allow children to be active and move while they play and learn. For one of the games, I used green mesh placemats. I cut out lily pads (beige works for elephant footprints) and then painted letters onto each lily pad / footprint. The clingy nature of the placemat material ensures that the lily pads are not slippery when placed in ABC order on the floor. The children love to hop from one lily pad or one elephant footprint to the next, singing the ABC song.
Gift wrap is another great source for learning games. I’ve made games to used with many, many themes – everything from birthday cupcakes to balloons, pond life, western, sports, truck theme and the circus. From time to time, you can find a licensed gift wrap that matches something you are doing in the classroom. I’ve used Cat in the Hat gift wrap.
Match the Ending Consonant Sound
Another way to help children develop phonemic awareness. Matching the ending consonant sound is more difficult than matching the beginning consonant sound.
Match Upper and Lower Case Letters Part One
Use with Part Two to create a matching activity
Consonant Game Board
Use a die and markers, move along the "star" path from one star to another. When you land on a star, say the letter name or say the letter sound or say a word that starts with the letter.
Short Vowel Word Match Game
Pictures to match with words.
Animal / Alphabet Match
Free printable animal-theme alphabet for preschool and kindergarten.
Match the Beginning Consonant Sound
Cut the pictures apart and have children match the initial consonant sound - a great way to support the development of phonemic awareness.
Storytime Standouts’ early literacy resources download page