Five Great ways to Help Your Beginning Reader Find Success
Forget the Flashcards!
Tags: Beginning readers, matching skills, word games, visual discrimination, storytelling
Posted: 2010-01-10 20:17:08 By: Joanne Oppenheim

 

 Check out the easy-to-read books on our lists. Also bring home games that relate to reading without turning playtime into drill time.

 

• Continue to read aloud to your child. Bring home longer picture books and chapter books. Kids can enjoy and understand more complex stories than they can read on their own. Keeping their love of good stories is basic to building the desire to read. Good books are not just entertaining, they stretch your child's vocabulary as well as comprehension skills.

 •Encourage them to replay stories with puppets or in costumes or by illustrating them. Doing this helps children remember the sequence of a story and the structure of good stories having a beginning, middle and end.

 • Try Facts of Five Games: Play listening games asking kids to tell five things that start with the same sound as "Bug" or Five things that rhyme with chair. In fact, they can make pictures to put into a book of pairs of things that rhyme or pairs of opposites.

 • Keep a supply of cards or post-its that you can use to label the bridges and buildings of their block constructions. Again seeing the printed word for something they built is an important link to building connections from the spoken word to the printed word. You can also label bins for their toys that help keep things organized. Label a bin for cars and trucks, a bin for toy animals, a bin for crayons, etc.

• Play riddle games of "I Spy with My Little Eye" giving children riddles about an object found in the room that begins for example with the same sound as t-t-top, t-t-tile, t-t-tin? Can they find the t-t-table? How about something in the room that starts with the same sound as ch-ch-chick, ch-ch-chop, ch-ch-chill. Can they spot the chair or chain or chocolate?

• In addition to reading out loud to your child encourage him to "re-read" the story out loud to you in his own words. Learning to interpret what is happening in the illustrations is a useful comprehension tool for beginning readers. As they turn the pages they are also learning how a book works, from front to back, from left page to right. Again, we assume kids know these things, but in fact they are learned.  

Here are some games that will also help your beginning reader:

 

 


2009 Award
I Spy Flip 5 Game
(Briarpatch $12.95 Score: )

Here's a quick matching game that is a step above the usual kind of one-for-one identical matching kids do with Lotto games. On the playing chips there are images of two horses, but one is may be a silhouette and others maybe yellowish or white with black markings. Matching has to do with the basic attribute of finding two horses. Game play goes on for five rounds. First to win the most matches in five games is the winner. Other versions of play are included for younger players. Also interesting, but even more challenging, Dino Flip 5 ($12.95 4.5) Sure to make a hit with dino-haulics who will know the names of the various dinosaurs pictured on the playing pieces. Making the pairs is more challenging since the shapes of some are similar and the proof is in noticing the details. That said, this is a fun game with a touch of science added to the mix. They say 4 & up, we'd say 5-8 is more like it. These are good games for developing an eye for detail, a skill needed for noticing the differences between words that look alike - as in through and thought or sight and slight. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2009 Award
eeBoo Write Me a Story
(eeBoo $11.95 Score: )

We love these handsome story pads that use the same artists as their games and story cards to make stick-on seals that can be put on the top of the lined paper. Parents can take dictation of a child's story or older kids can use the stickers and blank pages to write their own tales. Getting kids to tell a story is the first step in getting them to read a story. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2009 Award
Dr. Seuss Super Stretchy ABC Game
(I Can Do That Games $16.99 Score: )

Twirl the "tornado" and letters to play magically appear on the small board. These are the letters kids need to touch with a hand, foot or ear displayed next to the letter. It's a lot like your old game of Twister, but this is for those flexible little kids who are learning their letters. The giant size play mat is ideal for play dates, parties and family gathering where active play can have some extra learning power built in. For 2-4 players, ages 3 and up. This game will be ideal for early school years kids, although many preschoolers will like it as well.   The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2009. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 


 

 

 
2008 Awards
LeapFrog Tag Reading System
(LeapFrog $49.99 Score: )

Touch the pages of the Tag books with a chunky pen shaped infrared sensor. It reads the words, letters, numbers, and even sings! Unlike so many so-called reading systems, this one has real books such as Olivia, Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom, I Spy, Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, and The Little Engine That Could among others in the library of choices. There are activity books as well as some popular licensed characters. We're hoping they will add even more real books to the list. A fun tool that beginning readers can use independently, the way you probably listened to recordings. Only Tag improves on that. It's not just listening, kids are actually seeing the words, moving the sensor from left to right and turning the pages from front to back. In other words it reinforces how a book "works" in a child friendly and playful way. Parents will need to download the audio onto the sensor from their MAC or PC. The toy comes loaded with just one program, but there are 16 titles available to add on. ($13.99 each)  4-8.

The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab. SNAP ADAPTATION: The chunky sensor will be easier than most to grasp. If it needs to be futher adapted, a glove with velcro in the mitt and a strip of velcro on the sensor may do the trick. Unlike simply reading along with a recording, this learning tool enables beginning readers to follow along and get the sense of how the text moves from left to right. It encourages readers to learn the mechanics of how a book works from front to back, from left page to right. Add to this the fun of exploring the pages and art to make things happen and this goes a few steps beyond any other read aloud story system with real books!

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2008. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2005 Award
eeBoo I Never Forget A Face Memory Game
(eeBoo $12.95 Score: ) Our almost-five-year-old tester proclaimed this the best memory and matching game ever (after resoundingly beating his grandma in several rounds). Features illustrated faces of kids from around the world. A classic concentration game for a new generation. 3 & up. The company has signed a verification form complying with our safety requirements. We did not independently test this toy in a lab.

Age: Preschool. Award Year: 2005.

 

 

 


2013 Award
Pairs in Pears
(Bananagrams $17 Score: )

This letter game is designed to be played with kids from pre-readers and up. It comes with directions for simple letter matching games, spelling, and even rhyming word games.  The four sets of letters, each with a different pattern can be used with pre readers for matching or for older kids--winning more points if they can make pairs of words with the same pattern.  There are a number of excellent ideas for using the letters with beginners that have nothing to do with playing a game, ideas that will challenge beginning spellers and readers. Frankly these extra games and others that you can make up are worth the price of the game. For example, pre-readers can be encouraged to sort the letters by patterns, looking at close differences. How many rhyming pairs can they make? How many three or four letter words can they make? Can they change the words they make with just one letter? The playing pieces are larger and easier to handle. They all fit into an attractive green pear shaped zippered bag. 

 

Age: Preschool, Early School Years. Award Year: 2013. Click here to purchase the product on Amazon.com.

 

 

 


2009 Award
Scrabble Slam Card Game
(Parker Brothers $6.99 Score: ) This is a slam dunk winner with testers of mixed ages. Faster than Scrabble and paced for fun, this is a four letter game where players race to change the word by slamming a letter card on the current word to make a new word. The object is to be first to use all your cards. 2-4 players, 15 minutes a round(maybe) and fun for 8 & up.

Age: Early School Years,Later School Years. Award Year: 2009.

 

 
 
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