Mass Literacy, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy education across Massachusetts, is featuring a series of blog posts by Jean Ciborowski Fahey on how word games boost early literacy.
“What do you get when you combine a monthly dose of poetry with daily word play? A well-prepared early reader,” Fahey blogged last week in a post called “Word games to boost early literacy skills: Rhyming fun.”
Capitalizing on the fact that April is National Poetry Month, Fahey adds:
“Word play is a really fun way to train your preschooler for learning-to-read. The training requires no special equipment. Instead, it takes fun, intention, and frequency so that the wiring so crucial for connecting sounds to letters begins to form in children’s brains. Connecting sounds to letters is the basis of learning to read and spell. And, April being poetry month is the perfect time to begin.”
Fahey is the director of The South Shore Hospital Reading Partnership and the author of “Make Time for Reading: A Story Guide for Parents of Babies and Young Children.” She is also a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion, an award given to recognize and support “outstanding literacy providers and educators” as well as their practices and programs.
This blog entry encourages adults to engage in word play and rhyming with young children, noting, “Rhyming is a way that children begin to organize important information about the sounds in their first, and for some, second language.”
Two of the rhyming activities that Fahey suggests are:
“Give your child two words and ask them if they sound alike.”
And, “Read lots of poetry and sing rhyming songs to help your child learn to detect and produce rhymes.”
In a second blog post, “Word games to boost early literacy skills: Alliteration activities,” Fahey writes:
“Many three to four-year-old children can already detect when words are alliterative (meaning that they start with the same sound) and when words are not.”
Among Fahey’s ideas for engaging children with alliteration games are:
“Walk around the inside and outside of your home and together name objects that begin with the same sound. (For example: S-unshine, S-and, W-indow, W-all, D-oor, D-og, etc.).”
And: “Look for words on clothes, cereal boxes, and toy packaging that begin with the same sound.”