Saturday, December 12, 2009

Easy Early Reading Game

My oldest daughter, Naomi, is 4 1/2, and I've been teaching her how to read this year as part of her homeschooling. Since she's only at the 4K grade level (or, in Ambleside Online terms, Year 0), I'm not doing too much with her for school. Mostly Bible verses, Bible stories, cooking, lots of art, writing letters, and easy math. But the most intensive thing I do with her is reading. She's so good with letters, and her vocabulary is awesome, so I figured I'd go ahead and start early with her. I'm amazed that after just a few weeks, she was reading 2-letter words and now 3-letter words.

I've been using the book, The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading by Jessie Wise (Classical Homeschooling method guru). It's great, because everything is scripted out for the parent who has never taught a child how to read before. I don't do as many repetitions as Wise recommends because my daughter just gets bored with it. We recite the "poems" like rap songs sometimes to make it more fun! My favorite part is that there are no goofy games added in as filler and fluff. I just don't like that kind of stuff. Yes, learning should be fun and engaging, but not just busywork. My daughter needs to know that what she's learning has a point and a value to it. She spends plenty of other time playing.

However, there are a few education games in the book as optional activities that are pretty fun! One is "Mix and Match Words." Here's how you can do it yourself:

Take 12 notecards and cut them in half width-wise (so you have 24 cards 3" by 2 1/2"
With one colored marker, write the following combinations on 8 of the cards (one combination per card):

  • ip, in, ib, it, im, id, ig, ix
  • These are word ending cards
On the rest of the cards, use a different colored marker and write one of each of the following letters on a card:

  • b, d, f, h, j, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, w, y, z
  • These are beginning letter cards

Now, take the word ending card with it written on it and put it in front of your child. Then gather these beginning letters: s, h, f, b, k, l, p. Turn them over so that you can't see what's written on it. Have your child pick one and put it in front of the word ending card and read the word she made. If she reads it correctly, she gets the card; if not, it goes back in the "upside down" pile of beginning letters. Keep playing until your child has "won" all the beginning letters.

Here are other combinations to use:

  • it with s, h, f, b, k, l, p
  • ig with b, d, f, j, p, w
  • id with k, l, d, h, r
  • im with d, h, r
  • ib with b, r, f
  • in with p, f, b, s, w, k, t, d
  • ip  with l, r, s, t, h, d, n, z, y
  • ix with  s, f, m
This is a fun game to play, and you can add to it with 3 letter words made with the other four short vowel sounds.


  1. Great ideas! Thanks for sharing! Stopping by from SITS!

  2. Thanks for sharing your tips. There are a lot of us homeschooling moms in the blogosphere. Although my kids are much older (15/11) this is a wonderful way to teach reading to the younger set. God bless! (Stopping by from SITS)

  3. This is a great idea-- and so easy to do on your own! I'm going to file this for the future. My daughter's only 15 months, I think it's still a little early to start reading... maybe not, though?



"An infinite question is often destroyed by finite answers. To define everything is to annihilate much that gives us laughter and joy."
- Madeleine L'Engle, A Circle of Quiet