My kids are reading rockstars. I know it sounds like I’m bragging, but it’s true, and I love it. Jax falls asleep every night under a mountain of books that he just had to read before bed, and this past year Em’s reading has really flourished. I think it has something to do with being the big sister in her bedroom and wanting to read Little H bedtime stories. She always wants to read the Piggy parts in our beloved Mo Willems “Piggy and Gerald” books, and tries so hard to decode even the toughest word. She is going to be so confident when she walks into kindergarten next year, knowing that the world of letters and words are her allies, not daunting strangers. And how did my kids become so passionate about reading? Well, our house is very conducive to encouraging Reading Rockstars, but mostly we all just love to read and have a lot of fun doing it!
So since this is a passion of mine, I cannot keep all these awesome literacy ideas to myself. I figured I’d put some of my favorites in one place where you can access them easily and see that there are so many ways to engage kids in reading and letters. If you make it fun, they will join in eagerly!
So here are 15 of my favorite ways to create Rockstar Readers. Enjoy, and don’t forget to pin away!
1. Have a reading picnic! Grab a blanket, some snacks, a big box of books and a spot in the shade or in front of the fireplace. A great way to promote literacy for the entire family!
2. Organize an ABC Scavenger Hunt. Draw up a map of your home and hide the letters to your child’s name. By numbering the locations on the map you can help kids who don’t know how to spell their name yet put their letters in the correct order, or just star the locations and let them assemble the word themselves!
3. Paint Chip Reading Fun. Kids can help develop their rhyming skills and identify words families with this colorful way to decode words!
4. Draw letters in salt or flour. Awesome for fine motor skills and letter recognition!
5. Build letters and words with toothpicks and marshmallows! And when you’re done, they’re good enough to eat!
6. Give them a journal and help them write stories or do science experiments together. The act of putting words in some kind of book will help give their ideas significance. And they will love to go back and reread them over and over!
7. Create a butcher paper map. We have made maps of our town, maps of zoos, maps of castles and a kingdom, maps for military exercises (G.I. Joe came up with that one). You name it, we’ve drawn it, and with all the labeling that comes with maps, your kids are going to be able to read words like “school,” “street,” and “bridge” faster than you can write them!
8. Spelling Puzzles! Flip over a puzzle and build some simple words. The trick is being able to reassemble it using the letters on the back! Highlight the words to decrease difficulty.
9. Make a game of it with Sight Words Mix-Up Cups. It’s one part learning, one part game! Who can resist those odds?
11. Get those winter wiggles out with a rousing game of Word Slam! Tape words to a wall and when you call one out, the kids get to SLAM them with a ball! Jax loved this!
12. Write the alphabet on clothespins and kids will spend hours matching them to their appropriate letters on flashcards. Make it more difficult by writing in upper case on one set, and lower case on another! Lots of different ways to use them on this link!
13. Go on a Spelling Treasure Hunt! Help your kid spell a word, then they have to go on a hunt through the house to find an example! Keep them moving and interested!
14. Follow the link to learn all about the Word Family Driving Game, where vehicles and reading collide! You could do the same thing with just letters if your child is too young for reading but is crazy about all things that go!
On the same post you can learn how to reuse those hearts and create a game to get kids hopping, skipping and jumping while they read! They’ll never know they’re learning–they’ll be so busy having fun! Two great ideas for the price of one post!
15. ABC’s: Animal Style! It’s simple! Match the animals to the first letter of their name!
Phew! So many great ideas, so little time! You’re on your way to helping your kids love to read, and to enjoy learning, too! Be sure to pin all these ideas for later so you don’t forget any! I can’t wait to revisit some of them myself later today!