Reading is probably one of the most important tools for a child to learn, but how easy is it to teach a child to read? Pretty intimidating, right? We know that emergent literacy begins at birth and from there we expose children to a wide range of language. When a child shows signs they’re ready to read we teach phonics along with all the (million and one) rules of the English language that lay the foundation to be an effective reader.
Once the foundation has been laid, repetition is the key to mastery. But how do we achieve mastery - by engaging in fun, hands on, educational games that promote literacy.
Word Families is one of my favorite new games we have added to our game schooling. It is an engaging game that allows single or multiple children to create endless word combinations. My oldest daughter who is an emergent reader uses all of these skills while reading; therefore, focusing on these specific skills through educational games allows for creative play and for me to sneak in extra reading practice.
Taking time for play based learning is important to our family because it allows our children to make connections outside of a formal lesson as well as practice skills learned in an engaging matter. Plus who doesn’t love a FUN game (I also love that my younger children are exposed to all the sounds and language too while we play).
What I love about Junior Learning's Word Families game is the variety of ways the game can be played. Already the game comes with multiple ways to play, but I have come up with a few additional ways to hone in specific concepts that I want to work on with my children but still keeping the game FUN!
Using the Word Families manipulatives and a fidget spinner, your child can see how many words he/she can build and create before the spinner stops. This can be played independently or with multiple children.
Another extension is using the words that the child has built and placing them in alphabetical order. They can choose ten words and place them in alphabetical order. Sometimes I like to throw in new sparkly pens or confetti crayons to make writing more engaging.
Another activity that can be done with younger children is finding five objects and have the child match the object to the beginning sound and word family. For instance, the object would be a cat and the child would find the consonant “c” and the word family “at”. Isolating the few words allows the child to successfully spell the word without being overwhelmed by so many options.
When you find a game that your child loves and ASKS to play, you know you have found a winner and that is what Word Families has done for my daughter. It's pretty much a game changer!