I love to read. I’m one of those people that get so involved in books that it takes me a while to get back to reality when I turn the last page which means I also get too attached to fictional characters (who didn’t cry when Dobby and Dumbledore die). A love of reading is something that was important to me to pass onto my kids. Our oldest has been easy. At 9 years old he constantly has a book in hand but our almost 6 year old is different. He loves to be read too before bed but teaching him to read has been more of a struggle as he doesn’t ever stop moving during the day. He has always been very active and doesn’t want to sit long so we have had to be creative in how we taught him early literacy skills to prepare him for reading.
So how do we keep him engaged and willing to learn?
These are some things that we have done to make early literacy fun and more of a game than work. The activities listed below are all things you can do with very little prep and materials. Simple is better!
- Letter Magnets – Since they were little we always had letters on the fridge. When they were toddlers they loved to transfer the letters from the fridge to the dishwasher. Each time they grabbed a new letter we would say the letter and the sound it makes as they were walking to and from each point. This kept them busy while I made supper too!
- Bath Crayons – Our kids LOVED baths especially with bubbles. When they were preschoolers we would give them bath crayons so they could copy letters we wrote on the side of the tub. They thought it was great writing on the walls! They also thought it was hilarious when we would write letters on their tummies. This also helped them learn to spell their names as they would say the letter and we would write it on their belly as they giggled from the tickles.
- Alphabet Noodles – In the pasta section of the grocery store you can buy alphabet shaped noodles. Make lunch fun by spelling out words and practicing sounds before you eat them.
- Baking – We love to bake in our house especially pizza dough. When we are kneading the dough we write our names, individual letters or words we can spell in the flour with our fingers. As they got older I would start to write a word and they have to guess what it is before I was done.
- The sign game – When driving around the city we would play the sign game. Starting at “A” we would try to find all the letters of the alphabet in order before we got to our destination.
What if you are raising a bilingual child?
Gabriela from Our Everydays (one of our amazing contributors) has written a fantastic piece about how she is raising readers in a bilingual home. Check out her story and tips here. We love that reading books to her children in both languages has become a routine in her house.
These are just some of the things we do with the kids that require very little prep or planning. What are some of your favourite activities to do with the kids to encourage reading and early literacy? We are always looking for more ideas!