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Most parents are keenly aware of the importance of literacy in their child's life. “It's the foundation for doing well at school, socialising with others, developing independence, managing money and working,” says the Raising Children Network.
But what about the importance of making it fun? According to the National Literacy Trust, “Play lays the foundation for literacy. Through play children learn to make and practise new sounds. They try out new vocabulary, on their own or with friends and exercise their imagination through storytelling.”
Play naturally encourages learning, so it's a great way to get your children involved with basic literacy principles in a way that feels organic and effortless. Sometimes a simple game is all the spark you need to get your children involved.
Play can help your children to develop skills like phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, reading comprehension and fluency – the five basic components of reading. You'll find that a little dash of fun goes a long way towards arming your children with the skills they need to talk, read and write.
And it doesn't have to be overly complicated either; sometimes just a simple five‑minute game is all you need to get those little minds working. Below are some fun and engaging literacy games you can try with your kids today.
Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress are jam‑packed with award‑winning online literacy games that are not only educational and age-appropriate, but incredibly fun! With over hundreds of self-paced reading lessons, quizzes and printable worksheets for ages 2–13, your child will feel motivated to get involved and finish each lesson. Try Reading Eggs for FREE today!
Reading games don't have to be overcomplicated or boring. Let's have a look at five simple games you can start playing with minimal to no resources – best of all, your kids will love playing them!
A tried and true game that's been keeping children around the world occupied for centuries, this one is an oldie but a goodie. Simply pick an object and describe it by using the first letter of the object or the colour. For example, “I spy with my little eye, something that begins with the letter S.” Or, “I spy, with my little eye, something green.” You can start by working your way through the alphabet or the colours of the rainbow.
Other talking games to try:
Adjective game – Ask your child to describe a friend or family member with as many words as they can.
Rhyming words – Start with one word such as 'cat' and ask your child for words that rhyme.
Sound combinations – Have your child pick a sound and then come up with words that sound similar. For example, “So, soap, some, song, etc.”
Talk about the past/future – Ask your child to talk about something they did in the past and something they'd like to do in the future.
This sounds quite simple, but alternating reading pages or paragraphs with your child can help keep them engaged in the story line in addition to helping them expand their vocabulary and learn how to pronounce new words.
Other reading games to try:
Talk through stories – Pause when reading to your child to talk about what they think may happen next or how they felt about a certain character and what happened to them.
Read alphabet books – Choose a book that suits your child's interest such as animals or flowers and ask them to come up with a word that starts with the same sound as the letter they see on each page.
Sound out words in environment – Taking inspiration from shop fronts, street signs or the grocery store, ask your child to sound out letters in their everyday environment.
This is a great way to get your child involved in a weekly activity and show them a practical application for writing. Ask your child to help you write down your grocery list as you go through the fridge and the cupboards, then have them to read it aloud to you at the store.
Other writing/spelling games to try:
Name writing – Have them start out writing their own name and then progress to writing out the names of their immediate and extended family.
Alphabet game – Choose a few letters such as t, a and c and ask your child to mix them around to make a few combinations, for example: tac, cat, etc. Then ask them to identify the real words.
Pretend café menu – Ask your child to write up a menu for pretend play, complete with categories and prices.
Compile a small list of simple items for your child to photograph and/or collect such as a flower, a stick or dirt. Meeting in a backyard or a local park, give your child a specific time limit and have them report back with the items they've found.
Other outdoor reading games to try:
Spell out street signs – Ask your child to sound out the names of street signs and then spell them out loud.
Go on a nature walk – Pick an outdoor spot for your child to explore and ask them to record five things they've seen. Once they've done so, ask them to label each item on a piece of paper along with a photo or sketch and a description.
Play the ABC game – Starting with A, have your child go through the alphabet and name one thing they can see with each letter. You can do this virtually anywhere.
For more inspiration for outdoor reading games, check out 5 Outdoor Games that Build Kids' Literacy.
Do it yourself games require a tiny bit more effort but are generally hassle free as long as you have your child's spelling or vocabulary list handy. If not, you can always look online for age appropriate lists.
Rubbish Ball – Gather a clean rubbish bin and some paper. Pick 8–10 words from your child's spelling or vocabulary list from school and write each word on a piece of paper. Crumble each one up and place into the bin. Ask your child to take a piece of paper out, read the word, then crumble it back up and spell it without looking. For each word they spell correctly they can try and shoot a basket. Continue until each ball has made it into the basket
Roll it – You'll need a die and a set of 8-10 focus word cards (choose vocabulary words from a school assignment and write them on individual pieces of paper). Have players take turns picking up a card from the stack and either read it aloud or turn it back over and spell it. If they are correct, they can roll the die for a score. Record the number for each turn, the first player to reach 25 points wins.
Explore hundreds of online literacy games in the multi-award winning Reading Eggs programme, which includes Reading Eggspress for children aged 7–13. Both programmes cover all aspects of literacy instruction from phonics to phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and reading comprehension.
It only takes a few minutes to get started, and your child can begin to develop an early love for reading from the comfort of your own home.
Try Reading Eggs here to see how your child's reading and comprehension skills can improve in just weeks.