The reading games for kids featured below provided a fun and entertaining way to work on emergent literacy with your class. While designed for teachers, parents will also enjoy many of these reading games.
Silly Sentences Reading Game
Write different noun and action verbs on a series of note cards. Create one stack of nouns (dog, cat, bird, pizza, etc.) and one of verbs (eat, run, jump, hit, bite, kiss, lick, etc.), with about 10 to 15 word cards in each stack. Label the back of the cards as either “noun” or “verb.”
Start the game by writing an ordinary sentence onto the blackboard or a white erase board. Here are some examples: “I went with my friends to eat pizza at the restaurant; Katie decided to run through the sprinkler.” Read the children your sentence, pointing to each word as you go. Once you’ve done this, erase one noun and one verb from each sentence, so that it reads: “Katie decided to ___ through the ____.”
Select two children to come up and each pick a card from one of the stacks. Then have each child either tape the card to the board or write the word on the chalkboard in the proper place of the noun or verb you erased. Once they are done, read the sentences again as a class. You will end up with silly and hilarious sentences such as “Katie decided to jump through the pizza.” The kids will get a kick out of it, and so it’s a fun way to work on emergent reading. Best of all, because some words won’t fit perfectly within the old sentence, it gives you an opportunity to teach children about sentence structure and talk about how they would change it so that it reads properly.
Word Egg Reading Game
Turn all of your left over plastic Easter eggs into a fun reading game for children. Using a magic marker write different word endings on the right half of the egg, such as “at” or “an” or “ed” or any other common word endings. Then on the left half, write different consonants (B, C, D, etc.) at different points around the rim of the egg — 4 or 5 consonants for each egg piece. Then have the kids mix, match, and turn the egg pieces and clip the egg half’s together to create words with the different pieces. For added fun, set out several empty egg cartons where they can place all their finished word eggs.
Water Balloon Toss Reading Game
During the summer, write an assortment of sight words that your child is learning on the driveway or sidewalk using chalk, then draw squares around them. Next, fill an assortment of water balloons and place them in a bucket. Have your child stand several feet back, depending on age, and then call out different site words as she tries to hit them with a water balloon. It helps if kids can stand on some sort of platform while tossing, so they can read the words better.
Word Lottery (A Group Time Literacy Game)
Gather 50 or so plastic Easter egg shells. Start by writing each letter of the alphabet on small pieces of paper, and putting each paper inside an Easter egg shell. Once you have an egg for each letter, add some extra vowels and popular consonants that are commonly used in words, such as B, T, S, H, and so on, until the remainder of the eggs are filled. Collect all the eggs in a large bowl or garbage bag.
As a class group time activity, pick 6 or 7 kids to each come up and select an egg from the lottery. Each of them then writes that letter on the chalkboard. Once all the kids are done, now the fun part begins: The kids must try to create as many words as they can using the letters chosen from the lottery. You might have them do this silently on their own piece of paper, or collectively as a group, shouting out a word when they think they have one, then coming up to write that word on the board if they’re correct.
It’s a fun and educational game that will work on both literacy skills and general cognition at the same time.