The reading and literacy activities featured below provide a fun and simple way to teach children how to read.

Nightly Journal (Language skills)
Preschool to grade 1
This one is for parents: When your child has mastered all the letters of the alphabet and has a good grip on phonics, get a wide lined spiral notebook.  Each night before bed, sit with them and have them dictate to you a few short sentences about their day.  Record their words in the journal, saying each word as you write it out in front of them.  When finished, take their finger and read back through the entry, pointing to each word as you read it. Not only will this do leaps and bounds for their literacy, but it makes a sentimental keepsake for later years.  By recording the days and dates for each entry, it’s also a good way to work on calendar concepts.

Type Writing
Try to find 2 or 3 old style typewriters; the kind that actually punch the letter as you type it.  (Check at garage sales or second hand stores to find them; they shouldn’t be very expensive.)  Set the typewriter on a table with an assortment of word flashcards, childrens books, and paper. Have kids put the paper in they machine and then type various words or sentences from the book.  Young children will be fascinated by the machines and enjoy seeing a letter magically appear on the paper as they press a key.  It,s a great way to get kids excited about words and literacy.

In facts, many teachers choose to make the typewriter a permamet fixture of their classroom.  You can . . .

  • Have kids type a label on the pictures they draw.
  • Type sentences on a page when creating storybooks.
  • Mess around in free play typing words whenever they’d like, just as described above.
  • Use the typewriter to type their names on papers and worksheets.


Letter Swap (Group)
Kindergarten & First Grade
This is a good game to play when kids are just starting to learn to read.  Pick a common suffix that consists of tow or three letters.  For example: At, and, ith, ood, am, in, and so forth.  Write the suffix on your board with a blank letter space at the beginning, so the it looks like this:

_ood or _ith

Then have kids shout out letters they want to stick in the blank spot to try and create a word.  For example, you could write an A to make aood, which is a non sensical word.   But an F or an M would make food and mood.

Give a little cheer each time kids get a correct match, and look perplexed and confused when it makes something silly: “aood aood? What the heck is an aood?  There’s no word aood. Do you know what an aood is?”  You can even invite them to invent definitions for the crazy words you create.  If you get silly and animated, kids will enjoy this activity so much they won’t even realize they are learning.

Keep the same suffix for at least 5 or 6 letter suggestions before moving onto another.  The point of this exorcise is to give them practice reading words that sound alike or have the same structure, such as cat, hat, pat, mat, fat, sat; or Pam, dam, jam, ham, fan, and so forth.

Once they get the hang of it, you can also do the same thing with prefixes, giving kids a prefix and having them suggest the last letter of the word, such as goo_, to make words like goof, goon, goop, good, and so forth.  If you make it fun and silly you can do this activity every day without kids getting bored, and this will go a long way toward developing their early literacy skills.