“It’s time to do your homework.” If this sentence is usually followed by your child screaming “NO!,” running away, or throwing any other kind of tantrum, you are not alone. If your child is resistant to reading and writing, you need to make learning fun. Here are five creative ways to get your elementary school-aged child excited about reading and writing.
Letter Scavenger Hunt
Pick a letter to focus on weekly. For example, this week’s letter is “C.” You can make the letter C, and any word beginning with the letter C, more interesting by creating a letter C scavenger hunt. Print out pictures of items that begin with the letter C, like carrot, cake, cucumber, cat, cow, or chocolate. Color the images with your child and then cut them out. You can laminate the pictures to make them last longer. Use clear tape to “hide” these items around the house, and then let your child hunt for all the items. Make sure you have a list of all the items so you can check them off as they are found.
Copy or draw any kind of monster head you want, color it, and make sure it has an open mouth by cutting the mouth wide with scissors and attach a plastic bag to the backside with tape. Make some little paper bones, bugs, or trash, with space in the middle to write chores. Have your child write the chores he or she accomplishes throughout the day, and feed the bones to the chore chomper. If you laminate the chore images, you can use dry-erase markers and the images can be used over and over again.
Felt Coconut Tree and Letters
“Everyone up to the coconut tree!” is a quote from the book “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. The book is about anthropomorphized letters in the alphabet trying to climb up a coconut tree. You can bring this book to life by designing a coconut tree with brown felt, and making letters in various colors. You and your child can read this book together and add the letters as they try to climb the coconut tree. This active reading exercise is fun for both you and your child. Plus, it is mess-free since the felt sticks together without glue or tape.
Sing, Dance, And ActChoose a book to read that includes multiple songs, rhymes, or actions and sing or dance along or act it out with your child as you read together. You could also make a play out of the book by dressing up as different characters in the book or make corresponding sock puppets.
Make Homemade Coloring or Story Books
Ask your child what he or she would like to read about, then make your own storybook with pictures to match. Print out pictures – it is more fun when the pictures are white so your child can color them while reading – then add words to the bottom of the page to create a story. Designate time throughout the week to work on writing your story together. Children have great imaginations so the story will be entertaining for both of you. You can even make a story or two on your own to surprise your child.
Reading and writing are vital skills that your child will need as he or she grows up. One of the best things you can do for your child is to set a good example, so remember to read and write often. Model good behavior and habits and your children will emulate what they see.