I love using creative supplemental ideas to encourage my kids as they begin to show an interest in reading! So in addition to using the foundational pieces of A Beka’s Phonics Curriculum,
I like to incorporate additional activities that serve to engage them even more – allowing their curiosity to lead the way.
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Especially in those early preschool years, I simply encourage an excitement over:
- creative play
- sensory experiences
- technology (Yes, technology.)
..but maybe you have an early reader in your house, and you would like to do even more to encourage them in this area.
My kids have all started reading at different times, and that’s okay – all of their timelines have been normal for them!
No matter what age/stage your child is currently in, I hope you will discover a fun idea in this post that will keep them feeling enthusiastic about learning.
Fun Resources You Might Enjoy:
- Word Family Tales
- Letterland Books
- Bob Books
- Zingo Game
- Three Letter Word Puzzles
- Clip Cards: This Reading Mama
Want to encourage your child’s early love of reading?
Never forcing anything they aren’t developmentally ready for or enthusiastic about experiencing together –
It is so important to remember to keep it fun and appropriate for where they are in their learning journey.
Here are some ideas that have worked for us:
IDEA #1: Engage the senses! Allow your little one to use their fingers to “write” letters/words in shaving cream, cool whip, pudding, or sand!
Cook up some spaghetti noodles…allow them to cool…and then play along with your kiddo to create letters/words by laying out/shaping the wiggly pasta noodles.
Play dough can also be shaped in to letters/words. Letter stamping or Word stamping in play dough can also be a great activity for busy hands.
Think these indoor ideas sound too messy? Try taking your kids outside and letting them “copy” sight words from flashcards by writing the words on the ground with sidewalk chalk or by “painting” them on the ground with a paintbrush and water. My kids love painting with water!
Psst…a little chalkboard works, too.
BLOG POST: Tracing Letters with Water
All of these activities work well whether your child is learning to write with manuscript or cursive! (Around here, we begin with manuscript.)
Interested in a guide full of sensory learning ideas? Here is a complete A to Z Guide designed with kids ages 2-6 in mind. These are the actual activities we use in our home during the preschool years.
IDEA #2: Post sight words all over the place! Any kind of sight word flashcards will do – maybe you already have some on hand. Post them all around – maybe in their bedroom, near where they have bath time, on the windows inside the car, on a mirror get as silly as you like! Every time they spot them, they read them. Keep it fun!
IDEA #3: Search YouTube! We love using YouTube for educational purposes! Some of our favorite preschool YouTube Channels include:
- Super Simple Learning
- Maple Leaf Learning
- Oh My Genius
- Mothergoose Club
- Jack Hartmann Kids Channel
Check out all of these playlists. They are excellent for preschoolers!
In addition, also check out some of the picture book videos available – like these from Storytime with Ms. Becky. There are countless numbers of these kinds of channels out there, and my kids love them. They learn so much from following along with any kind of read aloud. These can be great to play during a morning snack time, after lunch, before bedtime – whatever would work for your daily routine.
Other Tech Options We’ve Loved in the Preschool Years:
IDEA #4: Let them watch tv – Yes, mamas, you heard me correctly! Television can actually be an incredible learning tool! Really! There are some great shows out there that encourage reading – Super Why! is a favorite of ours! We love Word World, too! Have you seen these? Our TiVo is set to record all of the new episodes, and my kids get so excited when I incorporate an episode in to our day. *We have also used the PBS Kids app.
Interested in another tv-related idea? Are you ready for this one? Turn on the closed captioning! (Now you may really start to wonder about me! ha!) If you choose to use this idea with your little one, make sure they are watching something where the closed captioning actually matches what is being said on the screen; but once you’ve double-checked that everything lines up, this can been a great way for preschoolers to spot words that they know as well as be exposed to new words!
IDEA #5: Explore other media options! Visit your local library and allow your little one to check out – not just picture books – but also audio books, nursery rhyme CDs, and more;
and while you’re there, visit your local library’s story time/music hour! I have been taking my kids to the library since my oldest was itty bitty, and we have all enjoyed these weekly visits over the years. Our library also offers fantastic children’s theater performances – many of them bringing great literature to life on stage. Another great option for young ones as they’re falling in love with books.
I try to provide my children with as many strong reading role models as possible – Whether these be individuals who have recorded their own YouTube videos, the awesome guy who guides our library’s story time, their favorite babysitter who reads to them when she comes, or just their dad and me, this has become an integral part of fostering an enthusiasm for all things reading.
TIP: Psst…if you have boys, be intentional about seeking out reading role models who are male! This can make a huge difference in their attitude toward reading which is unfortunately oftentimes considered a female sport. Another key to reaching boys is to make language arts as PHYSICAL as possible!
Orally spell words, substituting a different movement for each vowel. A possible choice of activities might include: a= clap hands, e= stomp feet , i = snap finger, o = rub stomach, u= click tongue. for example: to spell dog – say “d”; rub stomach for “o”; say “g”.
IDEA #6: I don’t know how much your kids like to color, but my kids absolutely love to color. There are two ways that this can go… you can print out letters and just let them freely color them, OR you can always print out letters or words that correlate with a specific color. For example, you can print out a “B” or “BLUE” and then have them color with all different shades of blue!
Is your crayon storage starting to overflow? Try making homemade crayons!