Reading Games

Here you will find valuable information, games and activities to go along with Half-Pint Readers decodable books. The first eight activities listed prepare your child for reading and give specific instructions on how to teach and blend the sounds. These games and activities are great to review and practice skills.


Snuggle Up

The best way to help your child become a good reader is of course, to read to him daily. Join your local library for wonderful literature for children. Let your child see you reading, too. Turn off the TV for a reading hour each night. It’s a good way to snuggle up!


Rhythm and Rhyme

Singing songs and nursery rhymes and playing clapping and rhythm games are fun ways to develop reading readiness. Try chanting silly sentences like “Hickety, Pickety Bumble Bee. Can you touch your nose for me?” Children really enjoy this type of activity. There are many inexpensive children’s cassettes and videos on the market that encourage rhythm and rhyme.


I Spy

A favorite game of children is I Spy. It can be played anywhere and is a great way to pass time while stuck in traffic. You can try, “I spy something that rhymes with…” or “I spy something that begins with the same sound as..”


Phoneme Fun

Phonemes are the individual sounds that make words. Children need to be able to hear and manipulate these sounds before they can begin to read. Ask the child to count the syllables in a word…but-ter-fly…(3 sounds). Try counting individual sounds in a word…f-l-a-g…(4 sounds).


Say It Without…

Ask the child to say a word such as football. Then ask her to say it without the “foot” (ball)…without the “ball” (foot)…without the “f” (ootball). You can make it more challenging. Say plate. Ask the child to say it without the “pl” (ate)… Now say it without the “p” (late).


Sounds in Print

Phonological awareness is the next step to begin to read. Children need to understand that there are symbols (letters) to represent the sounds we speak and that these sounds blended together make up words. When teaching the child phonological awareness, refer to the letter by its sound rather than by its letter name. Referring to it by its sound is less confusing because in several cases the letter name such as “y” does not correspond to the sound it makes. The letter names can be taught later, after the sounds are learned.


Two At A Time

When teaching the sounds, use the lower case letters and introduce 2 consonant sounds at a time such as “b” and “t”. This way the child can compare how they look and sound. Use small objects or picture cards to match to the sound. Next introduce the sound of short “a” with objects and picture cards.


Ready to Blend

Once the child has mastered two consonant sounds and one vowel sound, it’s time to blend. Here is an effective way to teach blending. On a dry-erase board, draw three lines _ _ _. On each line print a sound: b a t . Have the child say each sound, pausing after each one: b , a , t . Repeat several times, pausing after each sound. Next connect the lines: b a t and ask the child to say the sounds again but this time by holding each sound as they move to the next. Repeat several times a little faster until the sounds are blended and the child can read the word! Try this method again using the sounds: t a b. As more sounds are learned, try blending them into new words, using the 3 line method.


Change A Sound

This activity is a terrific way to manipulate phonemes and blend them into new words. Using plastic lowercase letters, letter cards, or dry erase board, ask the child to spell a 3 letter word using the sounds he has learned. For example: bat . Ask him to change bat to cat by only taking away one sound and replacing it with another. Then change cat to cap, then cap to cop, etc.


Language Experience

Ask the child to dictate sentences while you write them on a poster. Make word cards using several words from the sentences. Ask the child to match the word card to a word on the poster and glue it on top of the word.


Guess the Word

Draw 3 lines on the magnetic wipe-off board _ _ _ and place 10 magnetic letters at the top. Ask the child to choose a sound. If that sound is in the word, place it on the correct line. If the sound is not in the word, take a banana (or some other object) from a stuffed monkey (or other animal) sitting nearby. The child tries to figure out the word before the monkey loses all of his bananas!



Place six pairs of decodable word cards (or whatever skill you are working on) face down in a pocket chart. Child turns over two cards at a time to see if they match. Continue until all cards have been matched.



Place six sight-word cards in a row on the table. The child reads the words and places them face down. Say a word and the child must find it from memory.


What’s Missing?

Print 5 decodable words on a dry-erase board. Turn it around so the child cannot see them and erase one word. Show the board to the child again and he must say what word is missing.


Cloze Exercise

Print 5 sentences on a magnetic dry-erase board with one word missing from each sentence represented by a blank line. Display 5 magnetic word cards. The child must fill in the blanks with a word that makes sense.


Musical Words

Place word cards in a large circle on the carpet. Start the music and students will slowly walk around the circle. Stop the music and each student will stand by a card. The teacher says 2 words. Children standing by those words will sit in the middle. Continue the game and the next two children will change places with those in the middle so no one is “out” for long.


Find the Word First

Place a row of word cards face up in the middle of the carpet. Have two teams each sit in a row on both sides of the word cards. (about 6 feet back)

The teacher says a word. One player from each team tries to find the word first and puts it in their team’s basket. The team with the most cards wins.


Bonus Basket Game

Divide the class into two teams. Show a word to the player on the first team. If the student reads it correctly, her team gets a point. Then the child will throw the ball in the basket. If the ball goes in, she scores an extra point for her team!


Word Bingo

List 10 words (decodable or sight words) on the board or place them in a pocket chart. Tell the children to print their five favorite words in the spaces on their bingo card. Play bingo by showing or saying the words from the word list.


Mystery Word

Place a mystery word or object under a stuffed animal or in a mystery box. Place word cards face down on the carpet. Each child chooses a word and reads it to the class and keeps the card. When all children have had a turn, look at the mystery word and see who has the word or object that matches it.


Roll a Word

Use phonics dice to roll out a consonant, a vowel and another consonant. Sound out the word and write it.


Tactile Print

Spread peanut butter (or shaving cream, chocolate syrup, pudding, icing, birdseed, etc.) on a table or plate. Tell the child to write a word in the texture, using one finger. Check to see if it is correct, erase with one finger and spell the next word.


Big Books

Work with the class to write sentences on large white construction paper. Then have the children work in small groups to illustrate each page. Staple and read it to the class.


Cross the Swamp (or desert, forest, etc.)

Place several hula-hoops and stuffed alligators, birds, etc. on the carpet to look like a swamp. Place word cards at the edge of the swamp. Say a word and the child will write it on a dry-erase board. Then the child can cross the swamp to find that word card by stepping in the hula-hoops.


Moveable Alphabet

Give partners several letters from a moveable alphabet including a vowel. Let them manipulate the letters to make words and list them on a dry-erase board. See who has the longest list.


Scavenger Hunt

Hide picture cards or objects around the room. Give partners a word list and small basket or bag to collect the things on their list. See who can cross off their entire list.


Memory List

Show 10 pictures in a pocket chart and name them. Then turn the cards over. Students can work in small groups to list as many items as they can remember.


Missing Letter

Give each small group a basket of 8 plastic letters from the moveable alphabet. Write a word on the chalkboard but leave out a letter… ch_p . Say, “I want that word to say chip.” The first child from each group brings the teacher the correct letter. Continue until all letters have been used.


Word Wall Chant

Give children word cards to match to words on the word wall. When matched, everyone chants the spelling. “b-a-t spells bat.”


Compare a Word

Choose a volunteer to point to and read a new word that has been added to the word wall such as “hop”. Compare “hop” to other words. “It has 3 letters like…. It begins like…. It ends like….


Word Wall Rhymes

Find words that rhyme with “sit”. Find words that rhyme with “nut”. Etc.


Partner Spelling

Have partners choose a word from the word wall for each other to spell on the dry-erase board. Have them check each other to see if they are correct.


Find a Word

Ask children to point to words that begin with “b…t…c…etc.” Find words that end with “ing” “all” or “s” etc.


Sound Toss

Make 6 columns on the chalkboard and label each with a sound that is on a phonics dice. Child rolls a sound and records it in the correct column. Watch the columns grow!