This week we are focusing on reading. We have had lots of fun with books and some phonics games to keep Isabel interested in reading and also motivated to read. The summer holidays can be long and as children do not get any school reading books for the summer, it can be a long time without having to read. I am a bit of a stickler and I make sure Isabel reads her school reading book every day (unless she is poorly) so to go from a high reading expectation to nothing is a bit of an adjustment. I know that many children think they can only read a school reading book and so when it comes to the summer holidays everyone can be at a loss to know what to do and how to keep their child reading. Hopefully the following games will give you some ideas to keep your child interested in reading over the summer.
1. Visit your local library
We had a lovely afternoon in the library. The children were in their element with lots of books to choose from and explore. The library is great as it also has some musical instruments, colouring and a few toys for the children to use which meant they could do more than just look at books. Megan loved the tent they had and took a book inside and said “oh good some peace and quiet now”. It made me think that while we as adults like to have somewhere comfy, cosy and quiet to read that children probably do too. The library also has a summer reading challenge that they could sign up to, which means they can get certificates and/or prizes if they read a certain number of books over the summer. It would be worth checking out your local library to see what they have to offer. We came home armed with fourteen books between the children and have been reading constantly ever since, which is great.
2. Revamp the book area
After our visit to the library I decided to have a look at our book area at home and how the children use it. We have the books in a book case where they can clearly see the pictures of the books and can pick them out easily which is great. Once they have a book though there wasn’t really anywhere to go to read comfortably and quietly. We ended up with piles of books in random places around the house and mostly around the sofa. So I decided to have a look for a tent similar to the one they had in the library to create a quiet space for them to read. I found one in B&M for £12.99 which was perfect, unfortunately they didn’t have anything that was non gender specific and the girls straight away picked the pink princess castle rather than the grey knights castle. Luckily Charlie doesn’t mind what the tent looks like and is happy reading anywhere! We now have a lovely comfy quiet place for the children to read and it can double up as a role play area if needed in the future! I’m not suggested you go out and purchase a tent, but it would be worth looking at where the books are in your house, can they be accessed easily? Is there somewhere calm and quiet close to the books that they can get comfy and read? If not add some cushions or have a clear out so the books are ones that are the correct age range for your children and they enjoy.
3. Reading together
We all know that it is recommended to read a bedtime story to your child every night, however I know that there will be some nights when this is impossible, it is definitely the case in our house. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t done any reading at all that day. I make sure we take ten minutes to share a book and read at a more convenient time. When we do this I find Isabel is less tired and wants to join in and help read. Most picture books are relatively simple and there will be parts of the book she can have a go at reading herself. We often take turns to read so I start the story and then stop when I see a part she will be able to read then she takes over. She also loves to read to her sister and brother and I often find them all huddled together sharing a book. Isabel might not know all the words but she can make up the parts she doesn’t know and they all enjoy it. Megan has also started doing this and ‘reads’ her favourite books to Charlie.
4. Spot the word
Isabel loves this game, and it is also very popular with my classes in school. The children pick a book to read, then once they have chosen one the adult needs to have a quick look through to find a word. Pick a tricky word or a high frequency word you know your child has been learning and once you know it is in the book then write it down on a piece of paper or whiteboard. Ask your child to say the word, then ask them to look through the book they have chosen to find the word. I gave Isabel some post it notes to cover the word when she found it. Once they have been through the book they can then show you the words they have covered and count how many times they found it. It is so easy to set this game up with no preparation and is very effective to get them reading new and familiar words in different contexts.
5. Mixed up sentences
Reading is not just about the mechanics of decoding a word. It is also important for children to understand what they are reading, the following two games support children with their comprehension.
Write down a sentence you know your child can read. It can be written on paper then cut it up into individual words. You could also write it on blocks, duplo pieces, threading blocks or similar. I have lots of shells so I decided to write each word on a shell. Once you have your sentence written down and split into individual words ask your child to read each word. Then tell them it makes a sentence. Ask them to try and sort the words so that it makes a sentence that makes sense. They will have to keep reading and thinking while completing this game, and if they start to get frustrated then give them a clue as it is a difficult skill to master.
6. Sentence substitution
This is a game that comes from the letters and sounds phonics book. It allows children to explore the meanings of words and create sentences that make sense or that are silly. We used three different sentences and Isabel loved making funny sentences with the words.
Below are a few examples you could use.
Phase 2 If your child is working in Phase 2 then they would need to read simple sentences and perhaps match the sentence to a picture in order to understand what they are reading. Some examples are:
a cat on a bed
no lid on the pan
pack a pen in a bag
an egg in an egg cup
Mark fed the cat substitute words dog hid Gail moon
The sheep are in the shed bedroom farmyard cars wait
The shop is on the corner church right shark boat
Gran went to get fresh fish Stan needed meat grill
The train had to stop in the fog hand wait storm truck
We had sandwiches for a snack plums slugs picnic took
Paul eats peas with his meat beans reads cooks Phil
We can bake a pie today they yesterday cake make
Loud sounds can be annoying noises singing frightening mountains
You could also make up some of your own sentences and words to swap in with them.
I hope you enjoy these activities as much as we have. Charlie also loves his books and is happy to read pretty much anywhere!
Happy reading everyone 🙂