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Blog: Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

Make Learning to Read Fun!

How do we help students learn to read? One of the ways is to make it fun! Playing games with letters, sounds, and sight words can help make learning to be so enjoyable that children acquire new facts without even realizing it! Games such as Tic Tac Toe using various letters (instead of just X and O) or sight words can reinforce concepts quickly. Bingo is another fun way to practice recognizing letters and sight words. When practicing letters, this can be done using sounds as well as letter names. (For a great Kindergarten or grade one challenge, see if your child can sing the alphabet using letter sounds instead of names! Warning: it’s a challenge for adults, too!)

What are sight words, you ask? Those are the words that we all learn to read quickly, without having to sound them out. A child’s name is often his or her first sight word. Even long names can be recognized and read early on because of familiarity. That is one of the goals of sight word activities: the more words children can recognize quickly - at first glance - the more fluent and comfortable their reading becomes. Some examples of commonly used sight words in grade one and two are: look, like, in, the, said, and, into...the list goes on!

Knowing many sight words is a key component to learning to read. Another component is figuring out how to blend together the letter sounds to make new words. C--A--T - if you put the sounds together you get a word! And once you remember that A--T says “at,” then suddenly you can read rat, bat, hat, and sat! When children make this connection, blending sounds becomes a delightful challenge. Throughout the primary years (Kindergarten to grade 2) students learn the many ways that letters in English blend together to make sounds. Of course, like I tell my students often, English is weird! There are so many odd combinations (like “ough”...who thought that one up?!) or words that don’t follow the rules (like “have” or “come” - those aren’t Magic E words!). But that’s when remembering the sight word saves the day...and the best way to learn sight words? You’ve got it...GAMES!

I am so passionate about helping children learn to read in an enjoyable and creative way. If anyone is interested in some suggestions for games that can be played at home, just contact me at the school and I’ll get you started! ~By Kari Petzold (Learning Assistance Teacher)