Back to School Newsletter
Alabama Reading Initiative's Family Literacy Activities
"My Child Can" Packets K-3
Click a link below to access your preferred "My Child Can!" Packet.
Alabama Literacy Act
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Activities for Phonological Awareness
Phonological Awareness is the ability to recognize and manipulate the spoken parts of sentences and words.
Phonological awareness is simple to start at home. All you need for phonological awareness is language. Help your child understand that the words they hear in speech are made up of parts and sounds. You can begin building phonological awareness in your child by:
Reciting nursery rhymes.
Reading books with rhyming words.
Playing with alliteration (words that begin with the same sound) Example: Seven silly sisters said surprise!
Reciting tongue twisters with a focus on individual sounds in words. Example: How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
On My Way to the Store
Activities for Phonics
Phonics is instruction in the relationship between letters (graphemes) and the sounds (phonemes) they represent.
Fly Swatter Phonics Game
How to Play:
1. Write letters or words on index cards.
2. Spread out the index cards on a table.
3. Call out a letter or word for your child to find.
4. When they find it, they say the letter or word as they hit it with the fly swatter.
5. Continue playing until your child has had the chance to swat all of the letters or words.
1. Have your child say a word that begins with the letter.
2. Have your child use the word in a sentence and then write the sentence.
Activities for Vocabulary
Vocabulary is a person's knowledge of words and word meanings.
Sensory Word Search
- Large tray or shallow container
- Salt, sand, or rice
- Small objects or flashcards with words (e.g., toy animals, household items)
1. Fill a large tray or shallow container with salt, sand, or rice.
2. Bury the small objects or flashcards with words in the sensory material, ensuring that they are partially hidden.
3. Invite the child to explore the sensory tray by touching and feeling the material.
4. Explain that their task is to find the hidden objects or flashcards and match them with the corresponding word/object.
5. Encourage the child to search through the sensory material, using their fingers or small tools such as tweezers if desired.
6. As the child finds an object or flashcard, ask them to read the word aloud and match it to the correct item.
7. Discuss the meaning of each word, encourage the child to use it in a sentence, or describe the object.
8. Repeat the activity with different sets of objects or flashcards to further enhance vocabulary and sensory exploration.
Nature Vocabulary Walk
- Outdoor space such as a park, garden, or backyard
- Notebook or paper
- Pencils or crayons
1. Take the child for a nature walk in an outdoor space such as a park, garden, or backyard.
2. Provide them with a notebook or paper and pencils or crayons.
3. Explain that during the walk, their task is to observe and identify different objects or elements from nature.
4. Encourage the child to use their senses of sight, hearing, and touch to explore their surroundings.
5. As they encounter different objects or elements (e.g., trees, flowers, birds, insects), ask the child to name and describe them.
6. Have the child draw a picture or write down the names of the objects they encounter in their notebook or on the paper.
7. Engage in conversations about the objects, their characteristics, and how they relate to the child's existing vocabulary.
8. Once the walk is over, review the drawings and words together, discussing their meanings and expanding on the child's understanding of the natural world.
Toss and Answer
Kids love to play with balls so why not use one when practicing vocabulary words? To make this hands-on vocabulary game, all you need is a piece of paper cut up into small rectangles, an old muffin tin, and a small ball. Write a vocabulary word on each piece of paper and place them into the muffin tin spots. Then have the child toss the ball and see if they can land it into one of the spots. Once they do, they have to define the word, or you can challenge them to give a sentence, synonym (a word or phrase that means exactly or nearly the same as another word or phrase in a given language), antonym (a word or phrase that is opposite of another word or phrase), etc. If they can, then they get to keep the word card.
A super easy activity to practice vocabulary is tic-tac-toe! All you need to do is draw your tic-tac-toe board and have small cards with vocabulary words on them. To play, kids will play regular tic-tac-toe by placing down one of the vocabulary cards onto the spot that they claim. BUT instead of moving on, they have to define the word and use it in a sentence. If defined correctly, then they can draw their X or their O on top of the card to claim it and that spot. Super fun and easy!
Activities for Fluency
Fluency is the ability to read with appropriate speed, accuracy, and proper expression.
Roll and Read
(If unable to print, you may hand draw on a blank sheet of paper.)
-Crayon or marker
-Fill in the Roll and Read handout with letters, high-frequency words (words your child has been taught), or short phrases
1. Roll the dice.
2. Read a box in the column according to the number rolled.
3. If read correctly, your child can color in the box. If read incorrectly, provide immediate feedback and continue playing game.
3. Continue playing until a column, row, or entire sheet has been colored in.
Your child will practice reading phrases with proper phrasing and expression.
Activities for Comprehension
Comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read.
Use a glove to make a story retelling prop with your child. It can then be used with any narrative story again and again!
To make the glove follow the steps below
- Thumb: Draw a stick person or face.
- Index Finger: Draw a tree, house or clock.
- Middle Finger: Draw a question mark, sad face, or lock.
- Ring Finger: Write the numbers 1, 2, 3 or draw a ladder.
- Pinkie Finger: Draw a happy face, exclamation point or key.
- Palm of the hand: Draw a heart or light bulb.
- Touch the thumb of the glove. Ask: Who were the characters in the story?
- Touch the index finger and ask: When and where did the story take place?
- Touch the middle finger and ask: What is the problem in the story?
- Touch the ring finger and ask: What events happened in the story? What happened first, second, etc.?
- Touch the pinkie finger and ask: How was the problem fixed? What is the end of the story?
- Touch the palm of the hand and ask: What is the message the author wanted to send?
Spend time each day reading with your child or children while using the glove to help promote their reading comprehension of the story. Then they can look at the glove and retell the story as well. https://www.canr.msu.edu/uploads/236/59075/The_Retelling_Glove.pdf
Main Idea and Details Ice Cream Cone
Find a great book, article, or passage and have your child read it to you. Once finished, ask them to determine the main idea and details of the story. They can then write the main idea on a picture of an ice cream cone like the one shown and write the details on the scoops of ice cream on top.
Then once you’re done, go out for ice cream and discuss all the wonderful things you did over the summer as they get ready to start school.
Kitchen Conversations to Build Background Knowledge
Activities for Writing
First Day Jitters Emoji Writing
10 Ways to Get Involved in Your Child’s Education
- Spend some time learning together. Sit with your child during homework and transform something “boring” into a bonding experience.
- Tweak your attitude when talking about certain subjects or school in general. Try to keep a positive attitude.
- Read to and with your children. Take turns reading before bed, in the car, during homework, or whenever works best for you.
- Make everyday activities reinforce educational concepts. This could include reading recipes while baking, learning about science while playing outside, or engineering strong structures out of Lego blocks.
- Join a parent group with other parents to affect positive change.
- Monitor your child’s schoolwork. Doing this regularly creates opportunities for you to congratulate, help, and encourage.
- Keep open lines of communication between you and your child’s teacher to help them better understand their mood or behavior at school.
- Prioritize parent-teacher conferences. They are one of the best ways to ask questions and raise concerns. Don’t forget to take notes!
- Try supplemental activities. Be mindful of your child’s learning style to help ensure that they learn as effectively as possible.
- Volunteer at your child’s school. Let your child’s teacher know when you are free and for how long. Then get excited!
The APC has compiled resources surrounding a FOCUS (Focus On Children Under Six) topic for all organizations that request the information for distribution in local communities. It is our hope that the FOCUS resources will provide more attention to birth-to-five topics statewide.
The Alabama Family Central is a single platform for families to access services and programs. Its purpose is to help families easily navigate and find links to support their needs. State agency partners include Departments of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, Early Childhood Education, Education, Human Resources, Medicaid, Mental Health, Public Health, Rehabilitation Services/Early Intervention, with support from the Office of Information Technology.
Starfall provides free resources that can be used at home to support reading. These interactive activities place emphasis on phonemic awareness, phonics, and common sight words. Starfall's systematic approach, in conjunction with audiovisual interactivity, is perfect for Pre K-3, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD,ELL,ESL).
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"Alabama Course of Study English Language Arts." https://www.alabamaachieves.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/2021-Alabama-English-Language-Arts-Course-of-Study.pdf. Accessed 16 June. 2022.
"Back to School Song | Jack Hartmann - YouTube." 26 Jul. 2019, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnWH786zjgc. Accessed 28 Jul. 2022.
Ice Cream Cone Template. IceCreamCone.pdf Accessed 9 June 2023.
Starfall Education: Kids Games, Movies, & Books K-3. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from https://www.starfall.com/