If you’re like most of us homeschooling mamas, then you may slightly freak out at the thought of teaching your little one how to read. Add the [unnecessary] pressure to meet that goal by a certain age, and it can seem very intimidating. Rest easy, mama. Continue reading for four activities that make learning to read FUN!
This is hands down one of the best ways children learn how to read, regardless of what studies show. When a child’s natural environment is already set up for them to thrive, learning how to read can be like an added bonus. Wondering how to use your natural environment? Glad you asked!
Most homeschoolers living environments are already print-rich without much extra effort. We naturally gravitate towards picking up that book because it looked interesting, or purchased that poster because it offered words of encouragement.
Use what is already around your home and start playing little games like “I Spy!” and “What Do You See?” Start with the most basic level of learning to read – the alphabet! For example, while you’re cooking you can say, “I spy the letter A! Can you find it?” This will get them looking all around the kitchen, looking for the letter A!
Music and Movement
Putting those busy bodies to [good] work with music and movement not only stimulates a child’s body physically, but also mentally – especially when they are jiving to songs that are educational.
There are many, many YouTube videos that teach reading comprehension skills through song, chant, and elaborate story-telling. A few of my favorites are:
- Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel
- Have Fun Teaching
- Barefoot Books
I’m amazed at how much my children retain from dancing to a few songs. We may be outside playing and all of a sudden they break out in song repeating letter sounds and words!
Beginner Reader Books
Getting your hands on some good beginner reader books is an a plus when teaching your child how to read. If you’re dealing with a child who doesn’t like to be read to, or won’t sit for longer to two minutes, then try adding music and movement to the story.
You could also use the “I Spy!” and “What Do You See?” games to story time. There are even some beginner reader books that are interactive, like the shine-a-light books from Usborne.
Other places to locate great beginner reader books are the public library, book fairs, or download free ones online from websites like Free Kids Books (.org) and Wilbooks (.com).
Some tips to make reading time fun are:
- allow you child to pick a few books (this will tell you what they’re interested in)
- set up a comfy reading area (this can be on the bed, couch, or a corner of a room filled with pillows)
- establish a time of day that you’ll read together (make this a big deal, like a “mommy and me date”)
- invite your child to act out what is read (to get that movement in there, LOL)
- set a goal of how many books to read per week (or month)
- when the goal is met – celebrate!
Last but not least, you can never go wrong with including hands-on resources. These are your magnetic letters, flash cards, activity cards, or those do-it-yourself activities. This is especially beneficial (and fun) for the kinesthetic learner.
The best part about hands-on, reading-specific activities is it doesn’t stop with learning how to read. Hands-on activities can be carried through multiple grades and accommodate many different aspects of reading comprehension.
This comes in handy if you’re homeschooling multiple ages and grades. While the primary learned is playing with his/her sight word activity cards set, the upper elementary kiddo may enjoy recreating a scene from a book they are reading. The possibilities are endless!
Before heading off, I’d like to share some reading tips to help ease any overwhelm or stress you may feel during this stage of homeschooling:
- Don’t ever feel pressured to make your child learn how to read by a certain age.
- Embrace your child’s natural learning style.
- Release yourself (and your child) from unrealistic expectations.
- Be less concerned with milestones and more concerned with fostering a love for learning (and reading).
- Do what you can do when you can do it, and let the rest take care of itself.
No matter where you are in the phase of teaching your child to read, always remember to make it fun!
CHIME IN: What are some ways you make learning to read fun? Let us know down in the comments!
Author, Speaker, and Curriculum Resource Creator Michelle Huddleston is first and foremost a child of the Most High, wife to an incredibly patient husband, and homeschooling mama to four blessings (and another on the way). She is passionate about educating, encouraging, and empowering other homeschooling families to homeschool their way. Michelle would love to connect with you on her Blog, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube!