Category : Reading


Hands-On Learning Games: How to Teach Consonant Sounds

How to Help Your Child Learn Consonant Sounds

Learning letters need not be a painful process where your child is drilled on letter sounds. This is a game that not only teaches your child the consonant sounds, but also helps them learn how to recognize sounds as they naturally occur in words.


  • Sturdy paper or cardboard-one piece is enough for four letters
  • Objects or pictures of objects beginning with each consonant sound ( be careful NOT to choose a word with a blend. For example, book instead of bread). You can glue the pictures on cardboard or laminate them for durability and to make it easier for your child to pick up.

How to Make:

  • Fold each paper in half.
  • Now fold the same paper in half again, so that you have four sections.
  • Cut the paper into four sections, and print four letters on each section.
  • Laminate or cover with clear contact paper for durability.
  • Glue the pictures on small pieces of cardboard about half the size of each letter. On the back of each picture write the sound that it starts with.

How to Play:

Stage 1

  1. Choose two letters that look and sound different. Place them in front of your child.
  2. Point to one and say, “This is “S”. This is “B .” Make sure to tell your child the sound the letter makes, NOT the letter name. Many children get confused between letter names and letter sounds, and so it is better to teach the letter names at a later stage. You should also teach the hard consonant sounds first: c for cat, not c(s) for circle.
  3. Ask your child, “Show me the “S.”  Show me the “B.” If your child gets confused, simply tell them the correct answer.

If your child has trouble remembering the letter sounds, don’t spend time drilling him on it over and over again. Children (and adults too) learn and remember better when there is a space between learning periods.

Come back to the letters a few hours later; even if it takes your child a few days to remember each set, she will still be finished in only a few weeks.

Stage 2

Once your child knows at least two letters, you can introduce the object pictures.

  1. Choose two letters. Place each one level with each other, with a bit of a distance between them.
  2. Take the pictures of objects that go with those sounds, and mix them up in a pile to the left of the letters.
  3. Choose one, asking your child to tell you what it is. Model sounding out the words, stretching out the sound of the first letter. Then place that picture under the corresponding letter.
  4. Do one more, and then let your child try it out. Show her how to check her work when she is done, by flipping over the picture.

TIP: Stay with your child the first few times she plays this game; she will need help stretching out the first sound.

Read More

Hands on Learning Games: How to Help Your Child Learn Word Families

child reading

Being able to hear the individual sounds in words is a critical reading skill.

When experienced readers see a new word, they search the word for patterns that are familiar to them from other words that they know. They know that words with the same vowels and ending letters usually rhyme, and they can use this information to help them decode a new word.

For example, imagine your kindergartner comes upon the word “spine.” She must do several things:

1) Realize that this is a new word, and look at each letter carefully.

2) Ask herself if she knows any other words that are like this one.

3) Think of all the words she know, searching for those that end with the “-ine” sound.

4) Use the new words, like nine or fine, and try and pronounce the new word like those words.

5) Read the sentence again to check if that pronunciation makes sense for their sentence.

This is a pretty complex process, and your kindergartner or first grader might get a little confused at any one of these stages. You can, however, help him be a more efficient reader by giving him a “bank” of rhyming words that he can later use to figure out new words.

This game is great for helping children build up their own personal store of rhyming words. It can be played alone, or with another child if they take turns.


Pictures of various rhyming words .Here of some of the most common rhyming patterns:

-ack         -ap         -est     -ing   -ot

-ail           -ash        -ice     -ip     -uck

-ain           -at         -ick      -it      -ug

-ake          -ate       -ide     -ock    -ump

-ale           -aw        -ight    -oke

-ame         -ay         -ill        -op

-an            -eat        -in        -ore

-ank          -ell          -ine      -ink

Store the pictures for each set of word endings in an envelope with the ending written on the outside.

How to Play the Game:

1) Choose two word endings.

2) Put all the pictures in front of your child, and mix them up.

3) Have your child pick one card, and name it.

4) Instruct your child to find a picture card that matches with the card they have.

5) Continue matching the cards until all cards are used.


-You can make this game harder by adding 3 or even 4 word endings at a time.

- You can make this game even harder by choosing only 2 picture cards for each category.

-If your child is reading, you can add cards that have a new word on them, and have your child find the picture card with the same word pattern.

-You can cut out pictures all together, and use word cards instead. Buy or make letter cards in red and blue. Have your child choose two word cards with the same pattern. Let them build the words: the letters that are unique to that word should be built with the blue letter cards. The letters that are the same for both words should be built with the red letter cards. Each word card should be built directly under the same word.

Let your child continue until they’ve covered all of the word cards. They can also copy the words into a notebook after they build them, using two different colored pens.


Read More

Hands-on Learning Games: How to Teach Your Kindergartner to Read and Write 3 Letter Words

Help Your Kindergartner Learn to Read 3 Letter Words(Click here to download your free story paper)

This is a great game for pre-readers who have mastered the alphabet and are ready to start reading easy words. It's fantastic not only because kids love it, but also because it gives kids a chance to learn reading through writing.

It also allows you to see whether or not they understand what they’re reading without the tediousness of reading aloud.


- Standard paper, cut into fourths. Make lines on the bottom of third of the paper for writing the word. It should like the paper kindergartners use to practice their writing. The top half should be blank, to leave space for your child to draw pictures.

How to Play

1.  Choose a word. Sound out the word carefully. As you sound out each letter, write it down on the lined paper. Place the paper so that your child can watch you write the word.

2. Have your child copy the word on their paper. Then they can draw a picture of the word on the top half of the paper. You can make it exciting for your child by letting her use special markers.


Technically your child is not reading, but writing. They only recognize the word because it was dictated to them. However, this gives your child an excellent way to learn how words are segmented, how letters are written, and helps them the written word with its’ meaning.

If you play this game regularly, your child will quickly get the hang of things, and will begin sounding out words on her own.

Read More

Help Your Child Blend Words with this Hands on Learning Game

Is your child struggling to blend words together? Hands on learning game for Things That Go

Blending words is not what you think it is.

Knowing how to blend words is an essential reading skill. But if you thought blending words means seeing the letters c-a-t and sounding them out until you said the word "cat," then you'd be only half right.

Children who are able to blend words successfully also have another critical skill: they are able to recognize what a word is after seeing just a few letters. In the word "cat," for example, a good reader will know what the word is after the she sees the letter "a." While technically the word could have been can, car, or cap, a good reader will use context (and pictures, at this age) to tell her what the meaning is.

Good readers do more than just blend letterstogether.

In fact, most good readers never read an entire word, letter by letter: they recognize the word in its entirety after a few letters, and them on to the next word.

As studies that tracked readers' eye movements show, this allows them to read quickly, and fairly accurately, since they constantly check the meaning of the word from the context of the sentence as they go along.

Being able to determine what a word is when seeing a part of it is due to having good visual closure skills. You can help strengthen your child's visual closure skills by having them build puzzles, solve I Spy's or other hidden pictures, and by playing Spot the Difference games. A great site for hidden pictures is, especially since you can adjust the level of difficulty.

Here's your free hands on learning game.

In a previous post, I gave you a free sequencing game for Goodnight iPad, a modern child's spoof on Goodnight Moon. In this post I've included a hands on learning game from the same online book site, based on the book "Things That Go."

The game is a great way to build up the skills that help your child blend words together.

Hands on Learning Game -Things That Go

Want 3 extra hands on learning games based on the same book?

By the way, if you're a subscriber, check you e-mail. I just sent you a bonus game based on the book, PLUS a few new ways to play the game included in this post. If you're haven't subscribed, subscribe by Monday Feb. 16 and I'll make sure you get your hands on one too...

Instructions on how to play are in the PDF of the game.

Read More