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Learning to Read & Write by Playing

As the academic year has progressed, Grace has grown to hate our homeschool curriculum.

It’s unfortunate.

I had replaced all of our fun playing as learning activities with the curriculum from a Pennsylvania-based cyber charter school. Unfortunately, the curriculum was redundant and a year or so behind her skills.

After some conversations with our cyber school teachers, I have gone back to the fun stuff and dumped the curriculum.

We’ll begin a new curriculum in a month or so, but in the meantime, we’re just playing.

Playing to Learn

My favorite source of lessons and activities for learning to read is still 1+1+1=1. Carissa shares a myriad of ideas for teaching reading and writing, and she has a sight words curriculum called You Can Read. Almost all of her materials are free.

Almost all the ideas below come from Carissa in one way or another. I’ve put them together in some different ways, but I still encourage you to check out her original activities.

Education Cubes

All of the activities below begin with our education cubes.

To make our cubes, I purchased photo stacking blocks and subscribed to the Education Cubes site. You could make them without the Education Cubes site if you felt like playing around with printing and cutting the words out. For me, it was easier to pay the $12 one-time membership fee and download and print already made word cards.

I printed word cards for the first unit of You Can Read. The block had cards for each of the unit’s words (a, and, see, & the), plus a blank card and a card with a picture on it.

We used that one block for all of the games below. If Grace rolled the picture card, she got to choose the word to use. If she rolled the blank card, I picked the word.

playing to learn

All of the games begin with Grace rolling her block. By rolling, I mean that she hurled it across the dining room and into the kitchen and waited for it to stop bouncing around.

Playing to Learn to Read

Grace’s favorite part of the You Can Read curriculum is bingo. Every unit contains four bingo cards.

To set up our bingo game, I slide one page of bingo cards into our dry erase activity center.

playing learning to read

To play, Grace rolls her block, reads the word that comes up, and colors that box on her bingo card. If she rolls a blank space, rather than me choosing a word, she has to erase a box she’s already colored.

She usually wants to play this game five or six times.

Playing to Learn to Spell

The You Can Read units also come with a page of letters to spell the words. There are no extra letters, just those needed to spell the four sight words. I cut those out and gave them to Grace.

She rolls her block and then spells the word that comes up.

playing to learn to spell

I didn’t expect Grace to like this game, but she really did. It was tough for her, and she sometimes needed a little help, but that’s when the real learning happens.

Playing to Learn to Write

For the last game, Grace traced the letters and words.

Carissa’s You Can Read unit comes with tracing pages. For this game, Grace rolled the block, and then traced the word she rolled.

playing to learn to write

Grace, who abhors handwriting practice, was excited to play this game. She rolled the words and tried to get one of each. She used different colors for different words. She colored around the words to make them fancy.

When dinner was almost ready, Joe said, “Could you finish up your school time so we can set the table?”

Grace looked at him, puzzled, and responded, We’re not doing school time, Daddy. We’re playing.


© 2012 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Learning to Read & Write by Playing”

  1. I JUST started reading your blog! 🙂 And am SO LOVING it! 🙂 Just subscribed via email. 😀 Loved this particular post! How old is Grace?:)

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