Create your own free reading game for kids
Some simple ideas on how to create and play free reading games with your child to enhance their reading skills and promote avid reading.
The old saying goes… If you are a reader, then so shall your children be. Unfortunately, for many parents this has proved to be incorrect. Even if you read daily and take much joy from it, it is possible that your children will either not want to read or will develop problems with reading. The best solution for this problem is to make reading fun. Instead of a book, offer your child a game that revolves around reading. While there are many such games on the market, it is just as easy and less expensive to make one of your own. And if your child gets to help make it, that makes the game all the better.
In order to read a child must first be able to speak and to understand the language. Start with games based on parts of speech and how words or thoughts go together.
Good news/Bad news game- This game will focus on abstract thought and help children understand word choice and descriptive language. As an added bonus this game will also re-enforce the habit of positive thinking. To play think up a bad news scenario such as “The bad news is I fell off a ladder”. Then have your child complete the sentence. Possible completions could be…”The good news is that I was on the bottom rung” or “The good news is that I fell on a bunch of pillows”. Do not worry if they do not make sense at first. Just add in your own “good news” sentence and watch as they grasp the meaning of the game.
Silly Sentences- This game will help your child grasp the differences in sentence parts and the appropriate times to use them. To play have one person start the sentence with a modifier and a noun such as “The cat”, then have the next person add the verb “purred” and the next person can add an adverb “quietly”. Then change it the next time by using an adjective, noun, verb sequence. After each sentence causally mention the parts of the sentence and their relationship to one another.
After your child has mastered the knowledge of the language it is time to introduce them to the written word. Using different types of games can keep them interested and focused on different aspects of reading.
Basic Reading- Make a reading board game. You will need scissors, card board (from an old box), crayons, paper and glue. The adult should cut out squares of paper while the children draw a picture on the card board. Pick a them for their drawing such as a circus or the zoo. On each square write out an easy clue such as “The red dog”. Once the board is finished, use pennies or other items as the pieces, borrow some dice or a spinner from another game and start playing. When your piece lands on a square read the clue out loud. Then use the clue to make a complete sentence with all basic parts of speech. For example, “The red dog” could be “The red dog barked loudly”. Point out mistakes by making your own sentence or by offering suggestions for a certain part of speech.
Advanced reading- Once a child understands the basic parts of a sentence he/she will be ready to start constructing more elaborate sentences and then paragraphs. There are two easy to make games for this step. Mad-lib type games are especially fun and easy to re-create. Just jot down a story on paper leaving blanks for some of the nouns, verbs, adjectives and so on. Under the blanks write the part of speech that is missing. Ask your child for these words and fill in the story, then read it aloud. The stories will be so funny and creative that they will beg to do one to you. Make another story but this time have your child ask you for the words and write them in. Then have them read the story out loud.
The second game involves making note cards. Have your child help you put different words (using all of the parts of speech) onto the note cards. Use plenty of nouns and verbs but also some very descriptive and creative adjectives, adverbs and prepositions. Next place the cards in piles based on the part of speech they represent. Take turns drawing the cards and arranging them into sentences. Read the sentences out loud. Make numerous sentences and form a paragraph, read that out loud also. As your child masters the game progress to laying out all of the cards and having them choose different words to make a complete and well thought out paragraph. Eventually, you can add more cards and have your child make a complete story. Have them copy the story onto paper and read it aloud to family and friends.
With the consistent use of these games and other free reading opportunities (menus, road signs, baking directions) your child will be an avid and competent reader in no time.