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10 fun activities for the beginner reader Baby Steps - All Woman - Jamaica Observer
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10 fun activities for the beginner reader

Baby Steps

A book might not be the first thing that your toddler rushes to pick up when he or she enters a room, and reading is probably not anywhere near the top of your child's list of fun activities. But, as we already know, learning to read is a fundamental part of their literacy and educational development and so it is important to ensure your child gets enough practice to develop early reading skills.

Reading to your child for extended periods or forcing them into a corner with a book is not the way to achieve this though. You can give your child an edge by introducing him or her to fun activities that will not only entertain, but will also help to develop enthusiasm and a greater appreciation for reading.

Not sure where to start? Here are 10 fun activities that you can include in your literacy development sessions:

Dress up/Role play

Kids love to pretend play, so help them to make costumes and little props for their scenes to make for a more exciting reading experience. Dramatising scenes is a great way to encourage an active imagination and promote memory improvement.

A vocabulary book

Whenever your child reads, whether you are doing it together or they are doing it alone, encourage them to take note of all familiar words and write them in a little booklet/journal which you can both make together. They will then write unfamiliar words in it, get assistance to find the meanings, and learn to spell them as well. If possible, find pictures that illustrate the words and glue them beside or below the words; it will make them much easier to remember. As the child familiarises him/herself with the words, you can also challenge him or her to write short stories or sentences using the words.

The story puzzle

Print and cut out a short online story or copy one from a book that your child loves. Cut the stories into little sections/paragraphs, then read each with your child and encourage him or her to show you the sequence of the story. While doing this you can ask questions like: Why should this come next? Why do you think this happened?

Stimulate their visual imagery

Children might enjoy reading, but what they will also find exciting is an opportunity to be artistically creative. After reading a story or book, challenge your child with drawing their favourite scene from the book and ask them to share an alternative version of the scene to the one told in the story.

Build word cards together

Use a set of index cards or even some cardboard and write as many words as your child knows on them. Now, with your guidance, help your child to string words together to build sentences.

Fun fact: Kids love sentences about themselves, so make sure that when you are teaching your child about how the activity is played, you make the sentence about him or her.

Playdough words

Most parents know that playdough is a kids favourite — even as it may be a nightmare sometimes to clean up. If you're up to it, though, you and your kiddo can use playdough to build letters and words. Oh, and if you have letter cutters, you can always use these if you don't feel like rolling the letters from scratch.

A giant word search

Tape a few pieces of cartridge paper together. Start by using a list of words that your child is familiar with and create the personalised word search for your child. This is a good way to boost memory while helping your child learn how to read.

NB : As time progresses, you will include new words that your child may not know, and encourage him or her to research and add them to his or her word dictionary.

A word hunt

Children love an adventure — especially when it means that they get to find treasure. So consider a word scavenger hunt as part of your next reading session. Turn sight words or words from a recently completed book your child has learned into a fun scavenger hunt. Use clues to send them on a mission to find some missing words. For each session, use about six words at a time.

Show me the money!

Give your little one a shopping bag if he or she doesn't have a little plastic shopping cart or even a little box. Now, assign them a letter and tell them to shop for things that start with that letter. After the child has found three to five items, finish that task and assign another letter. You can do about five letters each session.

As a treat, you can do the same when out shopping. Allow your child to choose a letter, then allow him or her to choose three things that start with that letter once it falls within your budget.

Reading night

Instead of movie night all the time, consider starting a little tradition of your own. Just as with movie night, choose one book or a few, depending on the length, and enjoy choral reading (reading out loud). You can also consider partnering up if there are enough people, and you can even challenge each other to dramatise different scenes. Don't forget the popcorn!

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