TV. If kids are entertained by two letters, imagine the fun they'll have with twenty six. Open your child's imagination. Open a book. -Author Unknown
This is my favourite reading game. I am teaching all of my kids to read with this game. So far, two out of three have learned to read using this method.
Thank you, Sidney Ledson!
(Sidney Ledson is the brilliant guy who wrote the book "Teach Your Child to Read in Ten Minutes a Day". Lame book title, totally not a lame book. Brilliant book! Brilliant book, indeed)
The reason I chose this game to be the main way I teach my children to read is because of the following belief:
Learning to Read curriculum is astronomically priced.
I mean, really. If this is the gateway to learning, why are we charging people $400 for coloured flashcards?
Anyway, so Sidney came to me free from the library and I read his book in two days and said to myself, "Sidney is one smart guy. I, too, will follow his example."
So here is the Sidney Ledson reading game on the cheap.
First, round up the usual suspects:
Egg carton cut in half lengthewise
word cards (word card list found here)
prizes (I use almonds or Lego pieces)
*Anyone noticing how this game is comprised of materials you have at home? No extra cost involved here. The only cost is time.*
Also, side note: Sidney starts children learning the phonetic sounds in a totally different order than alphabetical or vowel/consonant order. Read more about why I love this approach.
Place the prizes inside the egg carton, one per space
Next take your reading cards and place two of them side by side directly under the egg carton.
Starting from the left side, the child will phonetically sound out the first card, followed by the next card.
IMPORTANT: tell your child that we read from left to right.
When they get both cards sounded out correctly, they win the almond in the first space.
Now, this is where things get really tricky, so pay special attention to this next move.
Are you watching?
Slide the card on the end, the "P", around the second card, the "U".Then place it on the left side of the U.
See how that works. It's tricky. Read the above line over 4 times if it doesn't make sense. Tricky stuff.
Now that the P card is in a new position, it's time to sound out the letters. Reading from left to right, have the child read each card phonetically. When they have read both cards correctly, they win an almond.
See the pattern? Read the words, win an almond.
(Personal note: make sure they know that they eat the almonds at the end. Otherwise, you will have to wait for the child to eat the almond before moving forward.
Fun fact: A child can take five minutes to eat one almond. True story.)
Next, you move the U card, next to the P card. As you can see you are advancing down the board, almonds are being won and reading is occurring.
Why is this method great? Because by the time you get to the end of this six-spaces carton, your child will have made the "Uh" and "Puh" sounds a total of 12 times!
End of Day One. Ten minutes has never been so fun!
Why look at that, by Day two they are already reading two words: Up and Pup.
Go, smart almond eating child!
Now, I know what you are thinking. This game won't work with my child. They will get bored.
They will only get bored if you forget to bring the two other essential team members to your 10 minute reading session.
Every successful reading child needs their parents to bring out their mad puppet skillz!
I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Know It All
Miss Too Shy
These two superheroes are your whole key to success.
And here's why:
Your child loves to help people...or in this case, stuffed animals.
The next time s/he is feigning interest or stumbles across a word that is too difficult, bring out Miss Too Shy.
Have her say something like this:
Miss Too Shy has no confidence. She is not able to get her sounds out or she doubts herself when she shares.
(I also make it Mr. Too Shy sometimes-- mix it up from time to time)
Your child is happy to help and encourage.
Have the puppet ask, "Do you think you can help me?"
Your child is eager to help.
When I read this part in Mr. Ledson's book, I thought, "Well, this sounds ridiculous. No kid is gonna fall for me live acting in front of them with a puppet."
But I was wrong.
My kids are completely engaged with the puppet.
Every. Single. Time.
Find a voice for Miss Too Shy and have some fun.
Equally important is Mr. Know It All.
This character is my favourite...because you can give Mr. Know It All some pretty fun lines.
The basic premise is he is rude, interrupts and has a lot to say.
This guy shows up and says:
"I know this word...I know it. You guys are doing it all wrong."
And then he tries the word and says something really ridiculous.
Your kid's giggle and they say,"Noooooo. That's not how you say it."
And they help Mr. Know it all get it right.
These two puppets help your child sound out all the words and win the almonds!
Yay for Mr. Ledson and the cheap Egg Carton Reading Game.
Any questions about how this works? Need more clarification? Ask your questions in the comment section.