Learning to Read in Bed

Teach early reading skills to your emergent readers with this simple bedtime reading game.

By Allison McDonald
Nov 14, 2016



Nov 14, 2016

Editor's note: This post was originally published on November 27, 2014.

Finding and sharing simple literacy strategies that build important skills is what I live for. This bedtime reading game is one of my favorites for emergent readers, because you don't need any special supplies other than a few great picture books, and you can keep it super short or play until the sun comes up.

Okay, I don't really suggest playing until the sun comes up…but I do suggest trying this game!

Here's how you do it:

While you're reading a book to your child, take a breather after a few pages and ask him to find a word you've selected on the page. It goes something like this:

"I just read the word 'ball.' Can you find it on the page?"

If he's struggling, give him support, but don't just point the word out. Instead, try a prompt.

"What letter does 'ball' start with? Let's say it: buh - all."

If he needs more help than that, he probably isn't ready for this game, and you can change it to a simple (but just as fun) letter hunt.

"Can you find a lowercase b?"

Here are some tips to make the game FUN and effective:

- Don't play this game with a new book or one that is too challenging for your child to listen to, because it will break up the story too much. Instead, use this as a fun way to revisit old favorites. I usually read two picture books without any games or interruption and use this strategy with an early reader book.

- Don't go on a word hunt on every page.

- When your child is at the very starting stages of reading (recognizing first letter sounds), make sure to choose words that make their initial sound, staying away from sounds made from multiple letters like 'ch', 'sh', and 'th.'

- Choose words your child will be able to sound out so that when he points it out you can say, "Let's sound it out and see if you found it!" Then break the word down together and let your child try. If he can't pronounce the word correctly yet, just go back to the hunt.

What little games and strategies do you use while reading bedtime stories? Tell us about it on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page!

Featured photo credit: © matka_Wariatka/Thinkstock


Check out bloggers Amy Mascott and Allie McDonald's book, Raising a Rock-Star Reader: 75 Quick Tips for Helping Your Child Develop a Lifelong Love for Reading. Get expert advice and learn new strategies for your young readers.




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