Is your new reader agonizingly slow when it comes to sounding out each and every word? I hear you momma! Here are some beginning reader games that will help your child develop fluency in reading.
When my son first started learning how to read, it took FOREVERRRR to get through just one practice CVC word. I mean it was “CCCCCCC…………….aaaaaaaaaa……………tttttttttt” “C – – A – -T” 76234765238476 minutes later … “Cat?” YES!
I knew I needed to get him reading a lot more quickly or I might in fact die. Like truly. So I came up with a game we could play to help him practice reading more fluently. I call this game “Operation Read FAST!”
This game is pretty simple and does not require a lot of supplies. Just get yourself a stack of index cards, a Sharpie and a timer. You can use a kitchen timer, an hourglass timer from a board game, or simply the timer on your phone.
Prepare the game
With your stack of index cards, you are going to write one CVC word with your Sharpie on each card in big, bold handwriting. Big enough so that they can see the word clearly at a glance. These CVC words can be in any order you want. Put all the vowel families together, mix them up, it’s up to you.
Once you have all the CVC words you have ever had your child read, written on index cards, it’s time to play!
How to play
Set a timer for 5 minutes. Once the timer starts, have your child read as many of the cards as he can in five minutes. You will need to hold the cards up for your child to read so that you can flip through them quickly. When the time is up, count how many words he read (bonus counting practice;) and make a note. Then repeat the process.
The goal is to beat his own score. You can play just two rounds or you can play multiple rounds and try to beat each subsequent score.
And that’s it! Super simple but totally effective! Seeing how many words they can read in a certain amount of time is such a confidence booster for children. Especially when they see they can read more than they did last time, it really get’s them excited about reading! At least it did for my son.
More beginning reader games to play
There are so many ways to use these CVC word cards! Here are a few more beginning reader games you can play. Like ‘CVC pickup.’ Grab about 20 of your cards and lay them out on the floor. Call out a word and have your child pick up the right card, reading the word as he does. If he gets it right, he gets to keep the card. If he gets it wrong, YOU get to keep the card. The one who has the most cards wins! (Bonus, this game is also great with sight words.)
Another way to play this game would be to set a short timer, 3-5 minutes, and have your child read as many cards as he can, collecting them as he goes. Once the time is up, YOU get all the words he didn’t collect. Whoever has the most cards wins!
Add to your CVC word cards a few words that say “BOOM” in red Sharpie. (Or any color other than the color the words are written in.) About 1 boom card to every 5 words. Then shuffle all the cards and stack them between you and your child, face down. Set a timer for 10 minutes and take turns grabbing a card and reading the word. (Be sure to hold up your card so your child can see your word as you read it aloud.) Save the cards you each read in your own stack.
If you draw a boom card, you have to take all the cards you read, plus the boom card, and add it to the bottom of the play deck. Continue until time runs out. The player with the most cards wins! *Save these boom cards in a separate stack for easy transition between games.
Even more games to play
Do you see how versatile these word cards can be? The options are so vast and wide! Here are even more games you can play with these cards once you add a few more cards.
You can make doubles of the words your child is struggling with the most and play a form of the memory game. Lay out all the doubles in a grid, word side down. Have your child flip over a card, read the word and then flip another card and read it. If they match, he keeps the cards, if they don’t, flip them over and start again.
*I would keep the collection of words for this game relatively short, as there are two components to this game that ~could~ frustrate your child more than help. Remembering where a card is and reading the word can be two challenges too much. If you only have a total of 5 words, that’s just 10 cards and being able to remember where the matching word is, is easier than memorizing a grid of 20 or more. This is up to your discretion of course.
Another game to use with these word cards would be to create sentences. Combine sight words with CVC words, or even add more complex word cards like blends (slam, just, belt, etc.) Randomly pick 2-3 word cards and then have fun creating silly sentences by adding in sight words.
Example- 2 CVC words: ‘jug’ and ‘pig.’ 3 sight words: ‘the’, ‘was’ and ‘a.’ Sentence: The pig was a jug.
You don’t need fancy, store bought educational games to help your child practice reading. Keep things simple and cheap with these beginning reader games that are sure to develop fluency in reading and you will be set! Just get some index cards and a timer and the sky is the limit! Do you have any more ideas on how to use these cards? Please let me know in the comments below. I’d love to try a new game!