Learning letter names

Here are some suggestions for activities that can help create a desire to read and reinforce reading skills. Brought to you by the Hooked on Phonics program. Discover the reading program so successful, 9 out of 10 parents say "It Works!". Get Hooked on Phonics here!


Helping young children get ready to read

Read to your child every day. Take time to cuddle up together with a good book. Turn from page to page, and point out interesting pictures to get your child's attention. Explain that there are spaces between words that separate them from each other. As you read, point to each word. When ready, your child can begin pointing to the words as you read them. Ask questions and talk about the story and characters to help build your child's comprehension skills. Stop to answer questions or to discuss the meaning of an unfamiliar word with your child.

Have fun together with nursery rhymes and songs. Sing rhyming songs, have fun with tongue twisters, and read poems together. These can help your child pay attention to the sounds in words.

Discover the reading program so successful, 9 out of 10 parents say "It Works!"
Get Hooked on Phonics here!

Learning letter names

Sand writer! Take your child to a favorite sandbox, and encourage your child to draw the letters of the alphabet in the sand.

Young sculptor! Give your child some clay and work together to form the letters of the alphabet. Then have your child say the names of those letters.

Fun with food! Give your child crackers, pretzels, cereals, or fruit snacks that have the form of the letters of the alphabet. Ask your child to hold up the letters and say the letter names, or you can hold the letters up and ask your child the names. If it's snack time, your child could eat the letters that are said correctly!

Open sesame! Put alphabet magnets on your refrigerator and encourage your child to practice saying a few letter names each time the refrigerator door is opened.


Learning letter sounds

Take a pretend shopping trip! Tell your child that you're going on a pretend shopping trip. Make a list of items that you would like to buy. Start the list yourself with an item that begins with the letter a, like apple, and then have your child continue listing items that begin with the letters b, c, and so on through the rest of the alphabet. With each new letter sound, show your child the yellow flashcard from our program with the letter that makes that sound. This can help reinforce the relationship between the letters and their sounds.

Book of sounds! Make a book with one page dedicated to each letter sound. Have your child write the letters, one per page. Then ask your child to cut out or draw pictures of things that begin with the sound of that letter. Don't forget to have your young creator sign this book!

Picture this! Cut out pictures of several objects from a magazine, or draw them on paper. Choose familiar objects like a ball, a cat, a horse, and a bat. Ask your child to say the name of each object, and pick the objects that begin with the same sound. In this case, ball and bat. Add new pictures each time you play.


Combining sounds to read words

You can try these activities with your child no matter which level of the program you're using. Choose sounds and words that are appropriate to your child's reading ability.

Reading, reading everywhere! Help your child notice and read familiar words at home on cereal boxes, on toys, and in children's magazines. Also, label objects around the house or in your child's bedroom. Point to the letters and say the sounds slowly to help your child read the labels before using the objects. When riding in the car, point out and read words on billboards, storefronts, and street signs together. Watch the excitement grow as your child starts to read words everywhere you go!

Rhyme time! Take a word your child knows, like cat. Ask your child to tell you all the words that rhyme with cat. Encourage your child to add imaginary words to the list. Write down all of these words, or have your child write them. Then sort them into real and imaginary words. To help your child understand what makes a word real instead of imaginary, explain that real words have meaning in our language and imaginary words do not.

Word builder! Say a sound combination or part of a word that's familiar to your child, like ch. Ask your child to say four words using it, like chin, chat, rich, and much. If your child is already writing, ask your child to write down these words. To be sure that your child understands the meaning of the words, ask your child to use them in sentences too.

Word scramble! Write three to five words that are challenging for your child in clear, large print. Space the letters so that they are easy to cut out. Then cut them into word parts that are familiar to your child. For example, write flag, garden, Sunday, plant. Then cut these into word parts such as fl, ag, gar, den, Sun, day, pl, ant, and mix up all of the parts. Then ask your child to put the words back together correctly and read them to you.

Discover the reading program so successful, 9 out of 10 parents say "It Works!"
Get Hooked on Phonics here!

Reading and understanding sentences

You can try these activities with your child at any level of the program. The key is to do these activities at the level where your child is reading.

Storyteller! Ask your child to tell you a story. Write it down in clear, large print. Have your child illustrate the story, then read it together. Read it to other family members and friends. Give the author a big pat on the back for a job well done.

Sentence scramble! Ask your child to say a sentence to you. Write it down clearly, and then cut it up into word pieces. Ask your child to put the sentence back together by arranging the words in their correct order. Then have your child try to read the sentence to you. You can do this activity with whole sentences that make up a story too.

Write away! Have your child write short sentences or stories about favorite characters, pets, family members, or friends. Ask your child to read them to you.

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