Fun activities to teach reading to a kid!
January 21, 2009 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Tutoring advice for young kids (5 y.o.): Keeping it fun, learning to read

I'm currently tutoring a 5 year old Korean girl in English, basically preparing her for 1st grade when she moves back to the US. She's smart, and has attended Pre-K in the States for a year and has good spoken English.

She knows her letters, though she has plenty to learn about good handwriting and getting a little more coordinated with her hands.

The only thing she needs to catch up a bit in is reading; she can recognize the names of the letters, and tell me the sounds they should make if I quiz her, but putting those sounds together into words is taking more concentration than she's willing to give, and trying to push it (or trying to work on handwriting for more than a few minutes, for that matter) gets her very bored very quickly.

What fun activities can I do with her that will trick her into learning to make the transition from reading individual letters to reading words?

(While you're at it, name some fun kindergarten activities I can do with her in any subject; the more I have in my back pocket, the better!)
posted by sdis to Education (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I used to babysit for a family who were not native English speakers. One of the activities I did with their 4 year old son was the Kumon workbooks. (I linked to amazon but I've also seen them at Barnes and Noble. I take it you're not located in the states at the moment, but I'm sure that these books (based on a Japanese concept) would be available abroad.

They're actually quite fun, and cover a wide range of skills and levels- from writing upper- and lower-case letters to simple sentences and beyond. He liked doing them, and since the worksheets are relatively quick to complete, he didn't get bored.

We also did lots of arts and crafts, and I incorporated some foam letter cut-outs into that- we'd put his name on his masterpieces, or I'd help him write a "letter" to mom or dad.
posted by charmcityblues at 12:05 PM on January 21, 2009

When my Mom taught kindergarten in a class with lots of students who spoke English as a second language (near a military base), she would label everything in the classroom with it's name. The clock had a sign on it that said "CLOCK", the desk had a sign that said "DESK". Since she's good at speaking English, seeing the printed words associated with things she already knows, might help her 'recognize' words better. Just an idea- I don't know what kind of physical space you have to work in. (also Richard Scarry books are great for that sort of thing, too)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:08 PM on January 21, 2009

My three-and-a-half year old is really liking to learn to read from the Dick and Jane stories (my mother found an omnibus version). These are the "Look, Dick! See Spot. See Spot run. Run, Spot, run. Funny, funny Spot" stories that you hear parodied a lot---but they seem to be very well paced, and she's interested in the kids.
posted by leahwrenn at 12:15 PM on January 21, 2009

When I taught 3rd grade, I lived by the website reading a-z for my small group instruction. I had students who were on a pre-K level all the way to 6th grade - there was something for everyone. It breaks down reading into the different scientific components, which can be technical if you want to learn - but is plenty usable for people who don't want to be professional literacy coaches. It is pricey for an individual, I know - but totally worth every penny of the investment. I saw so much reading growth from students using this.
posted by quodlibet at 12:35 PM on January 21, 2009

Also - another resource I used was the FCRR (I linked to their K-1 activities, but they have K-5). If you scroll down to their "books," and download the different components - there are 100s of games to play, ready to print and go.
posted by quodlibet at 12:39 PM on January 21, 2009

Read to her, read to her, read to her.

Until she is developmentally ready to put those letter sounds together, you are working against the current. This is pretty typical for 5 year olds. A few students that age learn to read before 1st Grade, but really that's what 1st Grade is for, at least in Texas.

Also, some kids don't learn to read by putting letter sounds together. They learn by sight reading through being read to over and over. As you read a sentence, you can have her repeat it as you point to the words.
posted by tamitang at 1:48 PM on January 21, 2009 [2 favorites]

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