I’ve taught five children to read and it seems like they always need a bit of extra practice on their short vowels. Children learn best when they are having fun so I love to come up with games that also sneak in learning. That is why I’ve created this Short Vowel Phonics Game. It’s a bit of a combination of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.
There are two version of the game included. The first version has the pictures on the game board and you choose the cards with letters on them. The other version is the other way around. The letters are on the game board and the pictures are on the cards.
Players take turns drawing cards. If you draw a card with one letter, you move forward by one picture that starts with that letter. If you draw a card with two letters, you move forward two pictures. If the final space that you land on is a slide or a ladder, go either up the ladder or down the slide. Rules for the second game are the same, except you draw cards with pictures instead of letters.
Here are some other tips to teaching a child how to read.
- Lay a strong base in phonemic awareness.
- Children learn to read at different levels so if your child isn’t reading fluently after phonics instruction, a lot of the time all they need is more time and practice. (This obviously doesn’t apply to children with dyslexia or other learning disorders.)
- Read to your child often.
- Let you child see you read often!
- Don’t rush early academics. Children are better off spending their time playing exploring the world around them than sitting at a desk and learning.
This last point was illustrated to me again the other day. My daughter and I were outside by our pond on a particularly windy day. She was trying to throw leaves and pine cones into the pond, but the leaves kept blowing back at her. Finally, she turned to me and said, “The wind picks up the leaves, but it doesn’t pick up the pine cones.” Right there is learning at it’s best. The kind of learning about the world that they live in that our children need to experience each day.
Other early language learning games we’ve enjoyed:
- ABC Memory Match
- ABC Bingo
- Story Cubes – These are wonderful for language development. My four-year old daughter loves these. I ended up making my son a colorful jumbo-sized version using vocalic r words so that he could practice his “r” sounds. My daughter enjoys playing with them, too. Whenever her older brother gets stuck on a story, she says, “Give them to me. I can do it. I’m good at making up stories.”
- “The Bear and the Basket” (See this post.)