I always assumed that learning to read would come very easily to both of my boys because we started reading to them when they were very small. I loved it and so did they. Our bedtime routine has always included a few books before sleep. Weekly trips to the library (which were often just an excuse to get out of the house) became a highlight in my boys’ agenda.
People always commented on how much my boys loved books and how they would sit for long periods of time looking at the pictures and often being able to recite the entire book because I had read it to them so many times.
When I learned that one of my boys was really struggling with learning to read I felt very guilty. With so much going on in our busy lives we have made early bedtimes and family fun time priorities. Homework isn’t really given yet since they are so young so I really just trusted that they were where there should be academically at school.
As guilty as I was feeling, I was not willing to trade in our early bedtimes or our family fun time so I had to make “learning time” fit in there somehow. I wasn’t crazy about the idea of paying someone to give him extra help and I know that I don’t have the patience to sit with him going over sounds and letters after he’s been in school all day. So my mission was to find ways to make learning to read fun.
Not just fun for him but fun for the whole family. We have so little time between home time and bedtime so I tried to find some games that we could all play together that would help DS2 with his reading but also be fun for the rest of us.
Here are some things I came up with that were actually fun for everyone!
Eye Spy with My Little Eye
We play this all the time when the boys are having a bath or when we are in the car. We took a short road trip and we started playing the regular way and then I switched it from “something that is blue” to “something that starts with B”. It was an instant hit. He definitely needed a bit of help but it was fun for all of us.
Sight Word Bingo
This I found on I Can Teach My Child and is so super simple. But who doesn’t love Bingo?
The great thing is we can reverse the game as well so he is calling out the words for us to find on our Bingo cards. He loves that as much as winning.
Check out the full instructions here
DS2’s teacher suggested using a salt bin to practice printing letters. She assured me that kids love it but it didn’t really sound that fun to me. I decided to make it colourful and fun with glitter and a coloured box. It didn’t require a lot and it was actually really fun!
See how to make your own salt bin here
While my boys don’t spend a ton of time online, the time they do spend online is usually playing Angry Birds or other non-educational games. As I searched online for some educational and reading games I found there were lots for free. There was a lot to choose from and at all different levels. I thought that www.starfall.com had the most selection for learning the sounds of the words which is really the first step in learning to read.
A few that were really helpful were
We balanced this out by giving him free computer time when he finished some of the educational games. It helped to encourage him to get through the whole activity.
I`ve always been a big fan of singing everything. My kids still laugh at my silly songs that start as soon as they wake up in the morning. It is a really great way to get children to remember things.
I found these great phonics songs that helps put the sound of the letters along with the letters to help remember
Good Old fashioned Reading
We have been reading with our children since they were infants. It was always for fun, usually at bedtime but now we focused on what were actually reading and how it was helping DS2 learn to read as well.
Scholastic Canada has some great early learning books that go from level 1-3 so your child can choose books according to which level they are at.
Henny Penny is a great read for level one and a super fun story to read.
These are just the first steps to getting our little one on track with reading. What started out as a stressful process to getting DS2 some extra help has actually turned into a fun journey that involves the whole family.