Spring is Here! Help Your Young Readers Bloom

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The sun is shining, the birds are chirping… and it’s getting harder and harder to sit still. Reading doesn’t have to be confined to the indoors. In fact, going outside on a walk or taking a book with you to read under a shady tree is quite relaxing.

For those with a more active mindset, take advantage of environmental print. Reading on the go, if you will.  Children often recognize logos and short phrases of places they like before they understand the phonics behind it. Use this as a springboard to encourage learning new words. Point out what the word starts with and sound it out syllable by syllable. 

Reading can be worked into games as simple as "I Spy." Instead of picking a color say something along the lines of, "I spy, with my little eye, something that starts with S!" Rhymes are great for this game too. Scavenger hunts are excellent for encouraging reading and they can be set up relatively quickly. Children will work to solve the puzzle even harder if there is treasure at the end of their quest! (Something small like a favorite snack or small toy.) You can "kidnap" one of their favorite toys so they must solve the puzzle to rescue it. Leave the first clue where they will find it or you could play the part of the innocent bystander and discover the clue. Set it up so each clue is a simple word puzzle that will lead to the next clue. For example, Clue #1 reads "Clue #2 sounds like chairs and starts with the letter s." Clue #3 would be found on the stairs and lead them to the next place. 
     Tailor the game to the appropriate difficulty for your players. You also control where the game goes so it could stay in the house or the back yard if you wish. Feel free to go all out and incorporate whatever theme the kids are into at the moment like pirates or explorers. 

Just like math or science, reading can be fun and active. Enjoy the beautiful weather and get some exercise for the mind and the body. Remember to keep your eyes open for reading opportunities always. What automatic sight reading for fluent readers is may be a new challenge for beginning readers. Make it fun!