Building a child’s literacy begins at birth and involves learning to speak, listen, read, understand, watch, draw and write.
According to the 2012 Longitudinal Study on Australian Children, only 49 percent of children aged four and five are read to at home six or seven days a week. It is estimated one in 22 preschool children have a speech sound disorder meeting clinical criteria.
Literacy amongst primary-aged children has reached crisis point, with kindergarten children starting school less prepared than ever before. Evidence from around the world has also indicated that in general, boys demonstrate weaker literacy skills in comparison to girls.
At Trinity, we aim to ensure every boy has every opportunity to achieve the best educational outcomes in all areas of his schooling life. Here are some literacy games for primary-aged children that you can play anywhere and that don’t take a lot of time:
- Talk to your child about his day. Ask specific questions that will promote detailed answers. For example, ‘What was the nicest thing you did for someone else? When did you feel most proud of yourself today? What games did you play at lunchtime?’
- Word games – I Spy is a great introductory game to familiarise children with sounds. Use the sound of the letter rather than the name of the letter. For example, rather than saying, “I spy something starting with ‘T’,” (pronounced ‘tee’) use the lower-case sound ‘t’ – this makes it easier for your son to associate the sound with things he may see such as a tree, train, tyre, truck etc.
- Words that rhyme – Ask your son to list similar sounding words, for example ‘What other words sound like hat?’.
- Sound combinations – Identify funny sounds from letters of the alphabet. Ask, ‘What sounds can you make with fff? Fast, Fly, Phone ’.
- Adjectives – help your son to increase his vocabulary by encouraging him to describe things. Place a secret object in a paper bag. Get your child to touch the object and then use words to describe how it feels. Once you reveal the object your son can embellish or change the adjectives used to describe it.
- Read stories and talk about them. You can ask questions before, during and after reading which helps with comprehension as well as becoming familiar with the process of reading.
- Before– What do you think this book is about? Why do you think this? What can you tell about the topic of this book from the cover?
- During– What would you have done in this situation? What do you think will happen next? What are you thinking about as you are reading this?
- After– Were your predictions correct? If there was a problem, what was the solution? Would you have done anything differently? Can you retell the story in order? Does this book remind you of anything in your own life?
- Take turns reading, pointing out single words for your child to sound out. Start with words that are easy to sound out like mat or cat and gradually progress to more difficult words.
- Using alphabet books, ask your child to tell you words that start with the same sound as the letter you’re pointing to.
- When travelling in the car, play the alphabet game. All participants must find letters (from A to Z) from their surroundings. For example, vehicle models, signage and number plates. The first person to get to Z wins.
- Ask your child to make a storybook with his own pictures.
- Create a list of words and get your child to circle the words in newspaper articles. If your child is in the very early stages of learning, you can have them look for words that start with particular letters instead.
- Practise spelling words by playing noughts and crosses, replacing the X and O with spelling words.
- Practise spelling words by writing them in creative ways such as rainbow writing, bubble writing, coloured phonemes, shaping out letters with your hands or body.
- Get your child to help you write shopping and to-do lists.
Board games are also a great way to improve literacy skills. Junior Scrabble, Boggle, Sequence Letters and Hedbanz are fun, practical games that can improve vocabulary, help children to formulate questions and consider how words are related.
Encouraging and demonstrating a love of reading is vitally important in developing literate and passionate readers. Sometimes it’s difficult to determine when to correct reading technique. You can discover more tips to encourage a love of reading here.
Trinity aims to provide the best environment for boys to flourish and succeed. To learn about the Trinity difference and to discover why we’re one of Sydney’s top boys’ schools, subscribe to our newsletter.