“Where is the Toaster?” and Other Ways to Get Your Kids Reading

ReadingLots of kids don’t like to read. This isn’t news. Wouldn’t it be great if we could figure out fun and creative ways to stack the deck in favor of a future love of books? Make it a game from the get-go and package that along with any-hour story time cuddles and you have a way better shot at raising a reader.
You don’t need expensive flash cards or fancy e-readers. All you need is paper, tape and a magic marker. Post-it notes will work, too.
Cut up pieces of your paper and write identifiers on each piece. By that I mean words like toaster, drawer, window, door, etc. I advise against using words like “cat” since cats do not like tape on their fur. Yep, you’re going to tack these words to the corresponding items mentioned.
The constant repetition of these basic words will help your child recognize them by sight and can also begin to help with letter recognition. Once your child knows the words, you can have some fun with it (though again, keep your cat out of it). Imagine how much fun your kid will have when he or she comes down in the morning after you’ve mixed up all the labels and you say, “All the words fell off, so I put them back where they belong.” Kids love to correct grownups, so allow your little reader to re-label everything the way it should be!
You and your child can get very creative with all this labeling, too. Cut the paper into different shapes, sizes and use different colored papers. You can put star stickers on harder words. Ask your child which things he or she wants to label, too, and do it together! The notes can also be arranged on things differently. For example, you can put the word ‘window’ vertically on the middle bar that separates two windows.
You can even use the things in your house like flashcards. On the blinds where you have a label, pull them up and quiz your child on the first letter of the word. And if they are advancing even more, you can ask them to spell the word. This could also be done with cabinet doors – open the door all the way so you can’t see the word, or put the label on the inside.
The best thing about using labels all over the house is that your child will consider it play. Kids’ll love to help cut the paper and hang the labels, making it more like a craft than an educational experience. And the best part is that the whole time you’ll be giving your child that all important foundation to a life of literacy. And once he or she is reading alone, there’s nothing like cuddling up with a book (and a very relieved cat).


Recent Comments

  • Heather Newman
    October 15, 2012 - 11:17 am · Reply

    This is such a great idea and one that I’ve used with each of my boys. Our downstairs is speckled with index cards at the moment because my youngest son is interested in words. My oldest wasn’t prepared to wake up to a labelled house and asked “What the heck is going on? I woke up and the toilet announced itself to me.”

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