Reading Games for Reception and Year 1
At this stage, a child will only have a rudimentary understanding of texts they are reading. As a parent, you can aid their progress by playing a few easy, fun reading games at home. Here are three to get you started:
1. Phonics Flipbook
For this, all you need is a notepad, some scissors, tape, and a marker pen. Cut the notepad into three (or four for more advanced readers) equal sections. On every page of the notepad, write a letter on each of the three sections, leaving you a flipbook of letters that make up different sounds and simple words.
As you flip a section, a new sound and word are created. These are ideal for learning basic sounds like “c-a-t” or “b-a-g”. Even if nonsense words like “p-a-f” come up, it’s worth saying them out loud as the sound could occur in more complex words. A phonics flipbook is a great way to grasp basic sounds and how they combine to make words.
Once you’ve finished a reading session, take five words from the book you’ve just been reading and write them on small pieces of cut-up card, two times over (giving you 10 cue cards).
Shuffle the pack and place them in rows. Then, take it in turns to flip two cards over and read the words aloud. If they match, that player keeps the pair. Keep going until all the cards are matched.
This is a way to reinforce and recognise whole words and sounds, without putting too much pressure on saying it fluently or understanding its meaning. To up the difficulty, choose less distinctive words like “what” and “how”.
3. Word family ball toss
If a child can recognise a sound that makes up a certain word, they can apply that sound to other words in the “family” that use the same sound.
To play you need some ping pong balls, a few small containers, and a pen. Pick a few word families, here are some easy examples:
- _at (pat, cat, mat sat)
- _ack (back, lack, pack)
- _et (set, met, let)
Write words from your chosen families on each of the ping pong balls, then write a sound on each container. To play, the child picks up a ping pong ball, reads out the word, then throws it into the corresponding pot.