Elementary Literacy Games and Activities

Regardless of your child's grade and skill level, he or she can always benefit from reading and writing practice. Use the following activities and games to boost his or her literacy.

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What Literacy Skills Do Children Develop in Elementary School?

Most children begin kindergarten knowing simple letter sounds and rhyming words. They ask and answer questions about readings, retell stories and identify story elements. Kids at this age also learn new vocabulary by using context to define unfamiliar words. By 2nd or 3rd grade, students read and write with more independence.

By 5th grade, children are writing multisyllabic words, as well as using correct tenses and grammar. Essays typically have clear main ideas that are developed well. In reading, they compare and contrast story elements, identify themes and make inferences about texts.

The literary activities and games below are sure to meet the needs of your child because they cover a range of grades and skill levels. Incorporate these exercises into your child's reading and writing studies.

What Literacy Games Can I Play with My Child?

Matching Letter Sounds

This game helps early elementary students practice letter sounds. Use clip art or your own illustrations to create cards with pictures of CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words, such as rug, gum or bat. Your child can match or sort the pictures based on the starting sound. For example, he can match 'car' with 'cat'. You could expand this game in many ways, such as matching ending or middle sounds or matching picture cards with the starting letter or entire word.

Analyzing Point of View & Character Traits

Ask your child to imagine her favorite story from the perspective of another character. How might the story change with a different point of view? Discuss this character's traits and how he or she interacts with others in the story, listing discussion points on a dry-erase board. Then encourage her to incorporate the traits you discussed into rewriting the story. She can even add her own illustrations.

Drawing Idioms

You can get the entire family involved in this game. Have a discussion about idioms and their meanings with your child. Brainstorm a list of them to write on index cards, such as 'barking up the wrong tree' or 'raining cats and dogs'. Use these cards to play your own version of Pictionary. Whenever someone guesses what idiom is being drawn, he or she must use it in a sentence.

Making Silly Sentences

Write your child's vocabulary list on index cards and include some additional silly words just for fun. Make sure you have words covering different parts of speech, such as verbs, nouns and adjectives. Divide the word cards into separate stacks based on their parts of speech; shuffle each stack. Ask your child to choose a card from each pile and create a sentence using all the words. Tell her that the sentences can be silly as long as the parts of speech are used correctly.

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