My son has decided that he would like to learn to read. He watches his sister pick up a book, head to a cozy spot and engulf herself in wonderful stories and he's ready to join her.
He has a lot of energy so I've been trying to find ways to use it to learn some of the "trick words" (a, the, and, in, at...). I drew a hopscotch board and wrote some of these words in the boxes instead of numbers. I kept adding more words as a challenge for him.
He also loves to play catch and kick a soccer ball around. Using this knowledge, I set up buckets with words written in front of them and had him throw a ball with the word he or I shouted out. We also grabbed a soccer ball and had him kick over little cones that had the corresponding word written in front of it.
We are out and about in the city of Boston a lot. I've been using this time to have him point out words that he knows on signs and teaching him words that we see most often. His confidence is building as he begins to recognize more and more words.
Inspired by another blog, Juggling with Kids, I used my son's love of playing with toy cars to help him identify a few words. I sometimes challenge him to park specific cars on certain words and he also plays by himself using his own creativity. I love that he is exposed to these words during his play.
For a little quiet time, we play a memory game I made with the words he's learning. We continuously add more words to keep it fun and exciting. The more games we create together, the more I've realized that almost every hobby or interest can be channeled into a pre-reading game.
My daughter found a way to help too. She made a "Word Wall" for him and wrote down all of the trick words that she learned at school. We put it up next to his breakfast seat so he's sees it every morning. They play a game where she spells out words and he has to point and say the word she spelled.