What do you do when a child knows all her letter sounds and symbols, successfully identifies the beginning, middle, and ending sounds in the words she hears, and is teetering on the verge of actual reading? You practice, practice, practice... and constantly search for ways to keep all that practicing fun and exciting!
I played this game yesterday afternoon with some of my almost reading 4-year-olds. We don't usually use chalkboards, so that in itself was very new and exciting. I named and then placed four cvc objects at the top of each child's little chalkboard. I told them, "I'm thinking about one of your objects. I'm going to give you a clue to help you figure out which one I'm thinking about." The children really enjoyed this - we played it over and over with great success. They also enjoyed writing the word I had written with chalk... although, I have a feeling they enjoyed the erasing part even more! :)
We played a slightly different variation of yesterday's game today. Instead of placing the objects at the top of the board, I had each child close his or her eyes. Then, I hid a different object for each of them in my pocket (I was only playing with 2 or 3 children at a time). I proceeded to give each of them a written clue just like I had yesterday. They LOVED this game! The anticipation over whether or not what was in my pocket was what they thought was written on their boards was nearly through the roof!
Having no objects to look at made this game really abstract and challenging - just right for the almost-readers. :) I loved watching and listening to their word-decoding skills in action!
Feel free to share any games or activities you do with your almost-readers. I would love to learn some new ones!