“The easiest words for little ones to try to read are the so-called ‘CVC’ words,” says Rebecca Green, project manager at the National Literacy Trust. CVC stands for Consonant-Vowel-Consonant – think words such as hat, cat, dog, pig and so on.
1. The cat and car game
Start with sounds at the beginning of words. “Go out and about with your toddler and ask him to point out everything he can see beginning with the ‘C’ sound,” says Rebecca. “So ‘C’ for cat or ‘C’ for car. Then encourage him to go around the house and hunt for five things beginning with the ‘C’ sound, giving clues along the way, such as ‘they’re sweet and tasty to eat, and you bake them in the oven.’”
2. The end game
“Now try finding objects that end in the same letter sound – such as ‘pen’, ‘bin’ and ‘sun’,” says Rebecca. “And reward him with praise, even if he gets it wrong!”
3. The hand game
“Create ‘hand actions’ to go with letter sounds. For example, twist your hand in the shape of a snake while making the ‘S’ for snake sound. Or use your hand as the minute hand of a clock saying ‘T –T – T’ for ‘tick tock’. Actions like this help to cement the sound of letters in your child’s mind.”
4. The drawing game
Draw letters on card and cut them out. Then get your child to colour them in or decorate them with glitter or paint.
5. The word-making game
Give your child magnetic letters and encourage him to make words on the fridge.
“Don’t worry if the words don’t make sense,” says Rebecca. “If he makes the word ‘hig’ and can read it, it’s all positive!”