Post-Easter is always an exciting time of year for my kids. We’ve had a great time celebrating Christ’s resurrection and sharing the Gospel with others, they are starting to come down from their Easter candy
sugar high, and they are starting to see the “light of summer vacation”, trips and fun at the end of the tunnel. As a public school child, I know this feeling intimately.
(Honestly home school seems so much fun, I don’t know why they’re excited).
As a child, I always found myself with my nose buried in a good Hardy Boys novel or the latest Judy Blume story. My mom and I never argued over how many minutes or pages I had forced myself to read, but rather how late it was and that the light MUST be turned out now! I never struggled with phonics or reading, and I never didn’t enjoy reading.
But the same is certainly not true for all children. Many parents struggle just to instill a simple passion for reading in their children. We find ourselves bargaining, bribing, and begging our kids to pick up a book and just read for the fun of it. And if your child happens to struggle with a learning disability such as dyslexia, the fun is even more elusive.
One of our favorites is the ABC Game. We choose a category and take turns naming something that starts with our letter of the alphabet. If the category is animals, then someone starts with alligator, then baboon, then cougar, etc. Good categories to start with might include Food, Games, or Movies.
As the kids have grown, we made the categories more challenging to include things such as Places We’d Like to Visit (geography), Words with 3 Syllables or More (vocabulary) or Favorite Books and Stories (reading).So finding the fun in phonics, reading and other language arts is a key component to sparking that passion for learning. My family has always enjoyed playing games while we wait at the doctor’s office or for dinner to hit the table at a restaurant.
Another favorite game in the car has been the Synonym and Antonym Game. We each take turns choosing words and the others are assigned to come up with a great synonym or antonym. We also have fun with compound words seeing who gets stumped thinking up a real compound word (the same idea works with spelling, words that start with the same sound, etc.) It’s been a lot of fun to see what everyone comes up with, and it definitely helps pass the time without everyone being glued to the screen of their phones, tablets, iPods or gaming system.
Recently, I discovered some amazing reading tools, games and resources to help teach kids phonics and reading in a fun and active way at Dr. Linda’s Blog. She has a FREE Dyslexia Toolkit that can be downloaded with all sorts of songs, games and activity ideas to help elementary aged students tackle their reading disabilities.
There are also several inexpensive reading games that focus on phonics, fluency, sight words, and other reading skills that you can download right to your computer. And there are plenty of other suggestions for creative reading lessons, as well as other subjects.
It would be great to just wave the magic reading wand and “presto” the kids would read easily and with great literary passion; but there’s a little too much fantasy in that story. So remember that whether you get some of the cool stuff at Dr. Linda’s Blog or you make up your own family word games, the key is to make it fun!
And as one of our most beloved children’s author once said, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!
Guest post by Dan R. Morris