DIY reading games

DIY reading games

Make reading fun.

My youngest son loves reading games, and he especially did when he was still in the beginning stages of decoding and fluency. Unfortunately, phonics helps from teaching supply companies are expensive. I would often spend hours flipping through catalogs and dreaming, until it final hit me I could instead use the catalogs for DIY inspiration.

A favorite blend practicing method with my son was phonics dice. When we first saw them at the store, they were $20 a set, and each set only covered a few things, such as beginning sounds, initial blends, ending word families, etc. He desperately wanted them, and they looked like a teaching tool that would completely appeal to him and help him. So I went home, busted out a box of regular dice I had, and stuck a trimmed down mailing label on the number faces. I then used a marker to write the letters and blends. DIY phonics dice for free!

Another thing that appealed was a popcorn sight word game. Each kernel featured one word, but if you drew the one that said “pop” you had to put all your kernels back in the bucket. The player with the most words at the end wins. We made our own with a plastic dollar store popcorn bucket and heavy cardstock kernels. Another hit and it only cost a $1.

Now when the catalogs come, I don't look at them wistfully. I get out my highlighter and go through, circling those educational aids I think I can make with a few modifications. My son responds well to hands-on reading activities that resemble play, and with some creativity I can give him what he needs.