Image by Josh Applegate

4-5+ YEARS

Ready to read

By the end of this stage your little will be primed for reading. Some will start to read now, others will later- every little one is on their own special path. Either way, this is the time to deepen and widen their  pre-reading skills.

Activities below progress in difficulty

Pick one activity to focus on each week. As you stockpile activities in your memory, play them anytime. (You're going to be the fun mom.)

TUB TIME, CAR RIDES, DINNER TIME, ANYTIME!

*Notes newly added activities

 

Recite

HOW: Recite nursery rhymes (Humpty Dumpty, Hey Diddle Diddle, etc) Ask your little to do it too.

WHY: Builds rhyming and predictable text skills

TAG: Phonological Awareness, Rhythm, Predictable Text

 

Sing!

HOW: Sing songs (preferably ones that rhyme) Hopefully your little sings along with you, or even better on their own.

WHY: Tune's your little's ear to language, more specifically sounds

TAG: Rhythm, Phonological Awareness

 

Read Rhyming Books

HOW: Pick books that have rhythm and rhyme

WHY: Tunes ear to both rhythm and rhyme (This will pay off big time.)

TAG: Phonological Awareness, Print & Book Awareness 

 

Silly ABCs

HOW: Sing the ABCs and replace a letter with a word that starts with the letter. A, B, C, dog, E… See if they can catch you.

WHY: It's fun! And helps tune littles' ears to details, while working on letter recognition

TAG: Alphabetic Knowledge 

 

Sing to ABC

HOW: Sing the ABC song and stop at a letter. Pick a letter like G, tell your little the letter and that you are going sing the ABC song but stop when you reach that letter. Now sing the ABC song, but stop after you say G. Do this a few times, with a few letters. Ask your little to pick the letter.  Then when he is ready, have him join you in playing. Take turns picking letters, but try to sing together. It will take a few times and some extra brain power (by both of you) to stop & not sing the whole song. 

WHY:  Builds letter recognition and understanding there are 26 individual letters in the song

TAG: Alphabetic Knowledge 

 

I Spy a Sound

HOW: Look in your environment. Spy something and give its beginning sound as the clue. Example: swing, say "I spy with my little eye something that starts with the sound /s/." Model until your little catches on. Take turns picking the item and sound.

WHY: Builds sound/letter skills, phonemic awareness

TAG: Alphabetic Knowledge, Phonological Awareness

 

Rapid Rhyme

HOW: You say a word and ask your little to say a word that rhymes with it. Model until your little catches on. Take turns picking the word to rhyme.

WHY: Tunes their ears to sounds; Builds rhyming skills; Prepares for phonemic awareness (a biggie!)

TAG: Phonological Awareness

 

I Spy a Rhyme

HOW: Look in your environment. Think of a word that rhymes with what you spy. Example: car, say "I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with the word far." Model until your little catches on. Take turns picking the rhyme.

WHY: Builds rhyming skills and phonemic awareness

TAG: Phonological Awareness

 

Syllable Clap

HOW: Pick words or names and clap out the syllables.

WHY: Being aware that words are made of parts is an important part of the journey on the road to reading. Syllable awareness helps littles tune into the parts that make up a word. This is a building block for the next phase which will be listening for individual phonemes.

TAG: Phonological Awareness, Segmenting

 

Two Halves

HOW: Take a compound word and say it in half. Ask your little to say it all together. Example: You say, "water...melon" Your little should say it all together "watermelon"

WHY: Teaches oral blending, which will help with decoding (reading)

TAG: Phonemic Awareness, Oral Blending

 

Initial Sound

HOW: Pick a word, like 'dog'. Ask your little one to say the word. Then ask, "What is the first sound in dog?" (Not letter, but sound.) /d/ sound Model until your little one catches on.

WHY: Helps distinguish initial sounds, key for decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling).

TAG: Phonemic Awareness, Segmenting

 

Last Sound

HOW: Pick a word, like 'cat'. Ask your little one to say the word 'cat'. Then ask- "What is the last sound in cat?" (Not letter, but sound.) /t/ sound. Model if you need to, until your little one catches on.

WHY: Helps distinguish ending sounds, key for decoding (reading) and encoding (spelling).

TAG: Phonemic Awareness, Segmenting

 

*Tugboat Speedboat

HOW: Mom, you are the Tugboat. You say words slowly (almost sing-song like). Little One, you are the Speedboat. You say the words fast.

WHY: This is a big one to build their Oral Blending skills which will prepare them to blend sounds on a page when they learn to read.

TAG: Phonemic Awareness, Oral Blending

 

Tugboat Speedboat

HOW: Mom, you are the Tugboat. You say words slowly (almost sing-song like). Little One, you are the Speedboat. You say the words fast.

WHY: This is a big one to build their Oral Blending skills which will prepare them to blend sounds on a page when they learn to read.

TAG: Phonemic Awareness, Oral Blending

High Frequency Word Hunt

HOW: Each week, pick one or two High Frequency Word(s) to focus on. Say it, spell it, say it. Then ask your little one to do the same, say it, spell it, say it. Find a book or books that have the words you want to focus on. Before you read, have your little one do a word hunt and look for the word(s). Then read. When you get to the High Frequency Word(s) see if your little one can read them with you. Look for your target words everywhere- books, signs, etc.

WHY: High Frequency Words (HFW) are words that come up commonly in speech and text. Eventually learning HFWs by sight will help your little one with reading fluency. But for now, it helps build their confidence- "Look, I can read a word!"

TAG: Fluency, Confidence

I Read, We Read, You Read

HOW: Pick anything to read! If your child is not a reader, pick very simple one or two word phrases on a page. (You can also do this with just letters of the alphabet.) You read it first; then your little one joins you and you read it together; and last your little one reads it on her own.

WHY: Because it builds confidence! "I can read!"

TAG: Fluency, Confidence

*Blending

HOW: Get a piece of paper and something to write with.  Pick a sound to teach like short a sound. Say, "The sound /a/, is spelled like this." Write 'a' on the paper and ask your little one to say the sound /a/. Then write words with that sound- at, sat, hat, had, map. With each word, write it sound by sound (see video). Write 'a', point to it and ask- "What sound is this?" Little one says- "/a/". Write 't', point to it and ask- "What sound is this?" Little one says- "/t/". Then ask them to say it all together 'at'.

WHY: In order to read, one of the skills a little one needs to learn is how to decode. This step by step process teaches them to look at each sound individually in sequence, and then all together. The better they get at this the better they will get at reading.

TAG: Decoding, Fluency, Confidence

*Super Speller

HOW: (Your little one will need something to write with for this one.) Pick a simple word, like ham. Say the word.--Little one says the word.--What's the first sound?---Little one says the sound.---Spell that sound.--What's the next sound?---Little one says the sound.--Spell that sound.--What's the last sound?--Little one says the sound.--Spell that sound.--When done, little one spells it out loud and reads it. Done, perfect spelling!

WHY:  This step by step process teaches them to carefully dissect a word and look at each sound individually. Eventually they won't need you, they'll do this process on their own.

TAG: Encoding, Segmenting, Confidence

Kristie Shelley, mom & founder

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