From my research, I concluded that doing playful reading and literacy activities with my son would be beneficial to his development. If you have been following my blog, you probably know that my son learned to read at a very early age. This accomplishment was NOT my intention. My intention was to expose him to as many words as I could so he could communicate his wants and needs. I did not want him to be a late communicator.
As a play therapist, I often found that children who were last communicators would resort to hitting or kicking. They were simply frustrated that they could not tell others their desires. This can be frustrating for adults as well. I could only imagine how a child who experiences this feels.
Seeing the Interest
I saw that my son was interested in reading, letters, and language at a young age. Therefore, I started to expose him to the alphabet, phonics, sight words, and blending sounds in a playful manner. He seemed to like how I was interacting with him daily, so I kept introducing him to reading and literacy.
Below is a video presentation I did for my alma mater, Davidson College. It outlines and gives tips on how my son learned to talk, blend sounds, and read at 21 months. There are various videos of my son as a baby showcasing his journey from talking to reading.
The presentation is a little over 50 minutes long. However, it gives a ton of resources and tips on how to stimulate your child’s brain and various methods to develop a love of reading and language. The steps are easy and fun to do with children.
I am a big advocate for exposing kids to words, language, and reading at an early age. Children’s brains from the ages of 0-3 are growing at a fast rate. This means that their learning rate is extremely rapid during this time.
When my son was a baby I exposed him to a lot of language through books, singing, talking, and telling stories. My purpose was for him to learn to talk. I didn’t want him to be a late talker because sometimes children can become frustrated and resort to hitting when they want something but can’t express it. I wanted my son to communicate his wants and needs as early as he could.
My plan worked! He started talking in full sentences around 18 months and sounding out words at 21 months. The ability to read was a surprise to me. It was not my intention but I didn’t complain that it happened.
There were 10 steps that I used to get my son to talk and read…
Familiarity with Language
Learning the Alphabet
Reading a Variety of Books
Strategic Structure of my Day
All of these steps are discussed in detail in my bookTeach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. This book has over 130 activities/games, tips and resources. It is available on Amazon. Click the image below to access it.
Sight Word Games and Activities
Today we will discuss sights words. In the video below I explain what sight words are and how I used playful methods to expose my son to them. I DID NOT USE FLASH CARDS. Although effective at times, I think using flash cards are an isolated way of exposing a child to sight words and this is explained in the video. I also provide better teaching alternatives.
The video comes from my Online Course,Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. This course shows you how my son learned to read through playful activities. He didn’t know he was learning because we made it fun. It takes you through his learning-to-read journey with videos of him as a baby up to three years old.
Click the image below to learn more about our Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play Online Course.
Back to Sight Word Games and Activities
I explain how my son learned sight words in three videos.
“My child hates reading!” I hear this a lot from parents. When I was a child, I did not like reading either. After finishing graduate school, I grew a love for reading. When I was single, I would spend Friday and Saturday evenings in my local Barnes and Noble reading books. It was the most comfortable and relaxing environment.
When did my sudden desire to read come?
My desire to read came from having the freedom to finally indulge in material that interest me. In school, we are given reading assignments from text books and paperback books suggested by teachers and professors. Most of those reading assignments were boring to me. It gave me the mindset that all reading was boring.
Furthermore, while growing up, my mother encouraged us to read. However, the only books I remember having in the house were adult Bible stories, Encyclopedias, and novels. Again I found those boring. We did have one local library in our hometown that was located about 25 minutes from our home. We didn’t get there often because 25 minutes was considered a long way in my small hometown.
We had a school library that I could have easily borrowed books from. However, my mindset was all reading was boring so I only stepped foot in the school library when I had to.
While in graduate school, I started a business where I would go out to local elementary schools and teach financial literacy. My work was funded through a grant and I got paid $100 every time I taught a class. The MBA students were helping me teach those classes as well. This experience got me really interested in business.
I started reading financial literacy, self help, and business books by Robert Kiyosaki, Jack Canfield, and T. Harv Eker. Reading a book a week was nothing for me. The secret to my love for reading was finding books that could teach me what I wanted to learn.
While pregnant with my son, I started reading books of prominent male leaders such as Malcolm X, Bill Gates, Congressman John Lewis, Frederick Douglas etc. My purpose was to find out their mother’s roles in their lives. I wanted to know if their mothers were strict, lenient, nurturing, supportive, entrepreneurs, submissive etc. I found the mothers to have all sorts of personalities, roles, and traits. However, the one theme that stood out in each book were the men were avid readers.
So when my son was born, I wanted to ensure that he liked reading. To this day, he loves reading. We visit the library once or twice a week (pre Coronavirus). He is five-years-old and reads on a 4th grade level. He started blending sounds at 21 months.
Here is a video of my son reading to my brother when he was 25 months.
Click the image below to learn more about our ONLINE COURSE, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. It has a $97 discount.
Click the image below to learn more about our BOOK, Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. It is available on Amazon and has over 130 Games/Activities, Tips, and Resources.
There were three things I did to grow my child’s interest in reading. These tips are in the questions that parents should ask themselves when their child does not like to read.
Let’s Get Started
The first question: Are you giving your child books they are interested in?
As previously mentioned, I usually visit the library once or twice a week (pre Coronavirus). During my visits, I am always perusing the shelves for books on various topics. Whatever topic your child has an interest in, there is a book about it. There are books on video games, wrestling, superheroes, cartoon characters, animals, sports figures, princesses, dinosaur poop, farting, arts and crafts, etc.
If your child expresses interest in a topic, get some books on that subject matter. It will make the process of reading easier and more interesting.
Remember those boring adult Bible stories we had growing up? Well I have plenty of children’s bible story books with colorful characters and writing that my son loves to read.
I know many children, have reading assignments from school. Try to use weekends or evenings to dive into books that fit their interest (thats if they are not in the school books).
The second question: Is your home literacy rich?
When my son was three-years-old, he spent the night at a family member’s house. He had a wonderful time playing and getting attention from loved ones. One of his first statements, after picking him up, was our family member didn’t have any books. I could tell he was shocked by this. I was surprised that my three-year-old had this observation in someone else’s home.
I then realized that he was used to seeing books and words all over our home. We have a book shelf on each level of our home. On the third floor, my son has a book shelf in his room that is filled with at least 50 library books plus others we own. Our second level contains a shelf with over 200 books that my husband and I have accumulated over the years. Our basement also has a book shelf. Books are everywhere!
Not only it is great to have books in the home, but take it a step further by reading those books to your child at least 15 to 20 minutes a day.
Books are not the only way to make your home literacy rich. I have made a list of 30 Ways to Create a Literacy Rich Home.
The third question is: Do your children see you read?
I often hear the phrase that children do what we do more than what you say. When I became a mom, this saying became evident to me.
We constantly tell our children to read. Many times they are thinking to themselves, “I never see you read, so why should I?” Often our children see us, in our free time, watching television, on our phones, or on the computer. There is nothing wrong with this but we should let them see us pick up a book, especially if we are encouraging them to read.
My son has been read to since he was in the womb. I would go to the library and check out children’s books to read to him while I was pregnant.
When he was born, I continued to go to the library and get at least 25 books at a time. Now that number has increased to 50 books. It would probably be more if the library allowed me to check out more books.
I remember talking to my mom on the phone and telling her I just borrowed a lot of books to read to my son. My mother replied “How many books did you check out for yourself?” My answer was “none.” I was so focused on getting my son books, that I didn’t choose any for myself. The next time I went to the library, I checked out books for myself.
This action made a difference. When my son is playing independently, I will often read a book. On long road trips or during times to myself, I am turning the pages to a book. Sometimes, my son will stop playing to sit beside me and ask what I am reading. Once he asked why I WASN’T saying any words while reading. I told him I was reading silently. Soon after this encounter, I saw him sitting in his room reading silently to himself.
So, these are the questions you should ask yourself if you have a child that does not like to read. Ponder over them.
Spring is such a wonderful time of the year. The weather is warm and kids are outside playing. My family and I love to go on nature walks to see the tadpoles evidently turn into frogs. My son loves to throw rocks in the water and fly his kite.
To prepare my son for spring, we start reading books about the season near the end of winter. There are countless books that will teach your child about the lifecycle of various animals, plants, and what happens to the earth during spring time.
It is wonderful to absorb the rich information in these books. However, I encourage you to couple your reading with actually experiencing spring.
Below is a video of the Walking Water Experiment. It is a great activity to teach kids how plants get water through capillary action starting in Spring. The video comes from my son’s YouTube channel called Corban’s Fun Learning Adventures. Please like and subscribe!
Below I will give you 30 spring books for preschoolers.
Let’s get started!
Little Mole is sad. Therefore, his mother teaches him about hope by leading the way out of their dark burrow into a bright world filled with the promise of spring.
Count the 10 little rubber ducks as they swim downstream on a spring day. This book has hatching chicks, a hopping bunny, blossoming flowers, and more spring-time scenes.
On a sunny springtime day, siblings Feather, Flap, and Spike set out to explore the many flowers, leaves, and seeds outside. Their day is met with difficultly by Spike’s dino-sized sneezes.
Easter is almost here and Turkey knows just how to celebrate. He’s going to win the eggstra-special Easter egg hunt! The only problem is that animals aren’t allowed to enter. What will he do?
After the cold of Winter, comes the warmth of Spring. I Am Spring takes young children on a journey through the many important events that occur uniquely in the beautiful growing season of Spring.
Celebrate the season of spring with raindrops, robins, bluebells, and butterflies! This book has colorful illustrations and are matched with rhyming, easy-to-read text that explores rain falling, flowers blooming, and other springtime wonders.
When spring comes, leaves unfurl and flowers blossom, the grass turns green, and the mounds of snow shrink. Spring brings baby birds, sprouting seeds, rain and mud, and puddles. You can read all about it in the book!
Join in the rainy-day fun, as kids splash through the puddles, affecting another weather enthusiast, a nearby worm. An imaginative and playful story, readers will love seeing the worm delight in the weather just as much as the kids.
Mole can smell that spring is in the air, but Bear is still asleep after his long winter nap!Excitedly he taps on the window and knocks on the door. He even tries playing a trumpet to wake his friend so they can celebrate together. However, bear keeps snoozing.
As days stretch longer, animals creep out from their warm dens, and green begins to grow again, everyone knows―spring is on its way! Join a boy and his dog as they explore nature and take a stroll through the countryside, greeting all the signs of the coming season.
Young children will enjoy learning about colors and flowers while reading this book.
This story is about the life cycle of a flower and is told through the adventures of a tiny seed. It includes a detachable seed embedded paper housed on the inside front cover.
Flitzy the butterfly welcomes back the plants and animals of spring! This book has rhymes and colorful illustrations that will delight young readers!
The adorable baby animals in this book are fun to view and they represent life that is spring. Every young creature finally ventures outside to play as the days of winter fade away and color surround us all.
In spring, seeds are planted and sprouts pop up through the soil. Colorful flowers bloom. Your child will see how plants come to life in spring.
Children will explore spring in the forest with this interactive Lift-a-Flap Surprise board book! Little ones will love learning all about springtime fun in the forest while following a mama deer and her sweet little fawn.
Your children will hear the forest is calling. They will also take a quiet walk through the woods, where shadows fall in the darkness, eyes peek out, and some animals sleep while others run and leap.
Up in the garden, the world is full of green. Down in the dirt there is a busy world of earthworms digging, snakes hunting, skunks burrowing, and all the other animals that make a garden their home. Children will discover all the wonders of spring.
This story helps children understand the change of seasons, the excitement of hiking, and the importance of what it means to “leave no trace.”
Ladybugs, butterflies, daddy longlegs, and roly polies are just some of the familiar creatures featured in this book. This book also has an actual size bug chart, which provides real-world comparisons so that readers know exactly how big each bug is, and the Bug-O-Meter, which lists fun facts about each bug, such as number of legs, where it lives, whether it flies, and if it stings.
Bob and Otto are best friends. They love to eat leaves, dig, and play together. When the two meet again, Otto is still the same dirt-loving earthworm, but Bob has done the unthinkable: grown wings.
Gossie and Gertie are friends waiting for Ollie to hatch. They try poking, listening, even sitting on top of his egg but, Ollie just won’t come out.
A girl observes and describes birds—their sizes, their colors, their shapes, the way they move and appear and disappear, and how they are most like her. She imagines what it would be like if clouds looked like birds, or if she could ask the birds questions.
This book includes lots of easy, smart ideas on how we can all work together to make the Earth feel good. It discusses planting a tree, using both sides of the paper, saving energy, and reusing old things in new ways.
This picture book shows the incredible metamorphosis that occurs as a tadpole loses its fishy tail and gills and becomes a frog.
Mayumie and her grandmother take a trip into Tokyo to see cherry blossoms flowering in the heart of the city.
This book teaches kids to speak up and stand up for those who can’t. With a recycling-friendly “Go Green” message, The Lorax allows young readers to experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted.
Come explore the amazing world of bugs with this book. The bugs in this book include hungry caterpillars, busy ants, and graceful dragonflies.
Little chick may be the smallest chick on the farm, but she doesn’t know it. What she does know is that she can chirp the loudest, eat the most, and stand the tallest.
Springtime is here, and Zinnia can’t wait to plant her seeds and watch them grow. She takes care of her garden by watering her plants, weeding, and waiting patiently for something to sprout. Soon, the first seedlings appear!
I learned so much from this book. One detail that stuck with me was the power of working memory. Did you know that it is more important than IQ? As always, I want to share what I learned with you and its benefits to young children.
Let’s Get Started!
One of best ways to improve working memory is to read. Working memory is one’s ability to process information. This means focusing on the information or making decisions about it. A person with great working memory can manipulate information and reformulate it.
Let’s apply this to children. If a child is in school or participating in an extracurricular activity with a group, working memory can help them inhibit distracting information, like their classmates whispering near them. It will also help them keep track of where they are in a multistep task. Furthermore, children with good working memory can access information, like numbers or words, to complete an assignment. It allows children to hold information in their mind and complete tasks quicker.
Other Ways Working Memory Helps Children
It helps children think fast on their feet.
Take smarter risks
Make smarter judgement calls
Adapt to new situations
Stay motivated to achieve long-term goals
Follow a moral compass like doing the right thing in social situations
Working Memory is Better than IQ
Have you noticed that many people with below average IQ scores became great business men and women, bestselling authors, or innovative inventors? IQ is not the best predictor of lifetime success, especially not in our current times.
Thanks to search engines like Google, we no longer need to rely on knowledge such as facts, dates, and names. These types of facts are associated with IQ. Intelligence today is measured by being able to put those facts together, organize the information, and do something constructive with it. IQ is what you know and working memory memory is what you can do with what you know.
The facts below about working memory versus IQ may be shocking to you…
A good working memory is the best advantage in school and is related to good grades.
Kids with good IQ scores don’t necessarily have good working memories.
An average or even high IQ does not necessarily give children the tools for success in the classroom and beyond.
So let’s see how reading can help children improve working memory
Reading requires working memory because you recall information, anticipate what is coming next, and interpret words and sentences. Challenge your child and boost their working memory by reading more difficult books and stories.
For Children Ages 2 to 5
Read aloud to children and challenge them by reading new stories.
For 2-3 year olds, ask them facts about the story.
This will make them use their working memory to review what they know about the story.
If you read to children at early ages, you’ll be surprised at what they can analyze and make sense of.
Ask your 4 year old to give their opinions on the motivations of the characters.
For example, ask your 4 year old the following question: Why do you think the character ignored their friend?
These types of questions will help your child stretch their speculations.
For 5 year olds, if they can read, ask them to read simple and short stories on their own occasionally.
If the 5 year old cannot read, ask them to picture walk.
Picture walk means to look at the images of the story and predict what it is about.
Bonus Tip: For children ages 6-10, read harder material to them.
In doing this, you will stretch their minds and the easier books they read on their own will seem less difficult.
I am always looking for activities that incorporate reading and writing in a fun way. When I saw this activity, I knew there was potential for a variety of learning. The Secret Message activity will expose your child to science, reading, writing, spelling, and even math. At the bottom of this post, I explain how to use this activity to expose your child to different subject matters.
This activity is quick, simple, and uses materials you probably have in your home. Get ready to share a surprise with your little one.
The title of this post can be a shock to some people. A toddler reading is an abnormal concept to many humans.
This can be a normal concept for any child who likes to play, explore, and learn. It is not reserved for children who we think are geniuses. All kids are born creative geniuses. We just have to find playful ways to foster their curiosity.
Parents would approach me and ask if he was really reading. Of course I would reply by saying “yes”. Their next question would be, “How is he doing this?”
I could have talked with them for an hour telling them how he learned through toys, singing, dancing, acting, playing outside, and reading.
Below is video of my son at 25 months reading a book to me just before bedtime.
This is why I have created the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. It gives you strategies to make reading fun, natural, and stress free for you and your child. This includes some of the techniques I used with my son to expose him to words, reading, and reading comprehension in a fun way.
This training is a four-part series. Below is what you will learn in the first video…
The learning system I used to teach my son to read.
How I address the objections people have about teaching a child to read as a toddler.
The one mistake parents make when reading to their child.
And so much more!
By the end of this video, you will know how to read aloud to your child in a way that creates meaning and connection! This will strengthen your child’s reading comprehension skills faster!
In the second video you will learn about the One Million Gap and How to Beat it!
In the third video, I will reveal the 10 Components Needed to Teach Reading in a Fun Way!
The fourth video reveals how to take your child’s learning and reading to the next level. You will also see my son spelling at 21 months and reading on a third grade level as a three-year-old.
Watch the BONUS video below with fun tips to expose babies and toddlers to words and reading.
Complete the form below to access the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play
Hopefully, you enjoyed and found value in the first, second, and third videos of the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play. This includes some of the techniques I used with my son to expose him to words, reading, and reading comprehension in a fun way.
I am excited to share this information with you.
Let me help you take your child’s learning and reading to the next level. Watch the video below and I will show you how with this limited time offer!
Thank you so much for being here! I love sharing tips on fun accelerated learning for kids. Kids are so fun and their imaginations are always at play. Let’s use this to make reading fun for our children!
I hope you enjoyed the first and second video in the FREE Mini Course: Strategies to Teach Your Toddler to Read Through Play.
This includes some of the techniques I used with my son to expose him to words, reading, and reading comprehension in a fun way.
Now you have come to the final video in this training. You will receive my biggest tips here.
You will learn…
10 Components needed when exposing your child to new words and reading with examples of activities
FREE Course on how to Teach the Alphabet in a Fun Way
How to use digital media and technology in your child’s learning
How to use the world as your child’s learning playground
Below is a PDF File of 10 Components Needed When Learning to Read.