With the new lockdown measures in Ontario, schools are closed for the foreseeable future. My son is in a Montessori program twice a week and has learned so much from his school. He has mastered many letters of the alphabet (and their associated sounds) at only 3 years old. It’s important that I continue his learning at home- and it doesn’t hurt that these activities keep him busy and don’t involve screen time.
I wanted to share some of the ways I help my little guy with learning to read. We practice letter identification, phonics and phonemic awareness by playing these FUN, educational and affordable games!
First let’s talk a bit about phonics and why they are important.
- What is phonics?
- What is phonemic awareness?
- What is letter identification?
Phonics - recognizing the connection between letters and the sounds they make (for example S and the sound /s/). Phonics instruction is associated with print.
Phonemic Awareness - the ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds in words. Most phonemic awareness tasks are oral.
Letter identification is learning the ALPHABET! It also involves discerning upper and lower case versions of letters.
How will these concepts help my child learn to read?
These are the foundations for early reading. Phonics and Phonemic awareness (as well as fluency, comprehension and vocabulary) are the 5 Essential Components of Reading Instruction.
Along with regular reading, playing games - like the ones in this guide- will help your little one learn through play (which we are super passionate about here at Lionheart Kids Co).
Now lets look at some fun activities you can do at home with your child today!
Activity 1: Sound Scavenger Hunt
We chose the letter ”T“ and searched around the house for items that started with the letter t and the sound /t/
My son loved sounding out different items as he raced around the house.
You naturally practice other letter sounds too, as my son realized he could classify a truck in different ways- a truck starts with /t/, but if you want to be more specific, fire truck starts with /f/.
Activity 2: Letter Tracing
We bundled up and practiced some letters in the snow. I traced first, then Leo traced over top of my letter. He then tried to write the letter himself. It’s about practice, not perfection!
As we traced, we sounded out the letters and sang our Jolly Phonics songs. If you don’t have any snow - you can try tracing in flour, sand, or rice.
Activity 3: Alphabet Puzzle Match
I used our Gladfolk Alphabet Match Puzzle for this activity (available on our website- currently on sale).
You could also print the letters onto cardstock and cut them into a puzzle.
I laid out a small amount of letters at a time, as to not overwhelm him with the entire alphabet. My son took turns choosing a letter, identifying if it was upper or lower case, and sound the letter makes. He then found the match and fit the pieces together.
With this activity you get the added learning that comes along with completing a puzzle (spatial intelligence, problem solving, hand-eye coordination).
Activity 4: Letter and Sound Seek and Find
I used our Natural Letters for this activity (available on our website) but you can use any letter manipulatives that you have on hand.
This activity is simple! Lay out the entire alphabet and call out a letter or letter sound to find. My son loves Seek and Find - so he enjoyed this activity even though it is so simple to play.
We also did a speed round, where you had to find the letters or letter sounds super fast.
These are just a few activities we do, but there are so many more ways to play reading games at home! Which of these activities would you do? Let me know if you want to see more!
Thanks for stopping by!