It's Spring!

ARI Family and Community Support

Our Mission

The Alabama Reading Initiative (ARI) is a statewide K-3 initiative committed to supporting the development of high-quality instruction that will prepare all students with the literacy skills needed to meet or exceed grade-level standards. The goal of the ARI is to significantly improve reading instruction and ultimately achieve 100% literacy among public school students.

Spring Break Literacy Fun

The Alabama Reading Initiative is excited to share literacy activities with families. Take a look at these exciting literacy activities to keep your child engaged during Spring Break!
Springtime Dance! | Jack Hartmann

Spring Activities

Enjoy a Picnic with a Good Book

Spring is a wonderful time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. Enjoy a picnic lunch while you read. We recommend The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. We have included a video recording of the book if you aren’t able to get your hands on a copy. After you read the story, discuss events that occur in the story. We have included a printable sequencing activity that you can complete with your child. Access the resource here:

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Read Along Story

Letter Strip Learning

This is one of the simplest letter naming activities. Simply type or write the letters you want students to practice, then cut the paper into strips. Have the student point (using their finger or a colorful pointing stick) and say the letter. If you like, the student can also say the sound represented by that letter.

Letter Park Cars

This activity is so fun for active learners! Label toy cars with letters and have kids drive them into parking spaces, saying the letter names (and sounds, if you like) as they go!

Making Words

For this game, you will need magnetic letters and three bags. Put half of the consonants into the first bag. Put the vowels into the middle bag and put the remaining consonants into the last bag. Have your child pull one letter from the first bag. That will be the first letter of their word. Then have your child pull from the vowel bag for the second letter of the word and from the other consonant bag for the third letter of the word. Next, the child will read the word and decide if it is a real word or a nonsense word. Take turns, replacing the vowels as needed until there are no more consonants left.


Play “I Spy” with your child, but instead of giving a color say, “I spy something that starts with the /b/ sound," or “I spy something with these sounds, /d/ /ŏ/ /g/.” Have your child repeat the sounds while looking for the item.

Reader's Theater

Spring is a great time for developing reading fluency. Reader's Theater involves children and parents orally reading parts in scripts. Act out your favorite short story together. Example short stories: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Giraffes Can’t Dance, and The Three Little Pigs.

Encourage Writing During Pretend Play

Children love to pretend — and writing can be part of this imaginative work. For example, if they like tea parties, encourage them to make invitations, place cards, maps, signs or menus for guests. Keeping writing materials readily available and at the child's level will help them integrate writing into their pretend play.

Act Out Your Favorite Book

Let your child choose their favorite book to act out as a family. Be creative by making costumes and creating props. Use different voices to represent each character. Have fun and bring your child’s favorite book to life!

Alphabet Scavenger Hunt

When you create a scavenger hunt, you can show your child what a list is and why we would use one. You can ask them to find shapes, like a circle or triangle, a letter, like the letter S, or an object, like a clock. For older children, you can let your child do the hunt themselves and give them a time limit. Be sure to use a timer they can see to keep them on task. This is a way to build vocabulary and encourage your child to notice details in their everyday environment.

There are twenty-six letters in the alphabet. Are you able to locate items outside that start with each letter? Use this scavenger hunt to find out. Is it raining outside? If so, complete the scavenger hunt with items you find inside your home.

Sight Word Scrub

Spring is a great time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather and all that nature has to offer. Why not enjoy this beautiful season and bring learning outdoors as well? From using sidewalk chalk to write letters or words to creating your very own nature book using blank paper, the possibilities are countless for our youngest learners.

Practice reading high frequency words with this fun game:

Literacy Game for Kids: Sight Word Scrub – Danya Banya

Let’s See How Many Words You Can Create

As you are riding with your child in the car to school, the grocery store, baseball practice, or to grandma's house, read billboards, road signs, signs on buildings, etc. This simple activity can build vocabulary, spark conversations, and build your child's comprehension. If you pass the same items every day, read them and ask your child something different about them daily. Billboards change often. If there is a new one added, ask them to recall the old one and what was on it. When the new one is added, ask your child why they think the billboard is important or have them think about the purpose of the content on the billboard.

Word Roller

You'll need a ball and a set of alphabet flashcards for this activity. Flip over a flashcard and roll the ball to your child. Your child then has to name a word that begins with that sound. They can then roll the ball back to you or another parent/sibling who has to say another word that starts with that same letter. Do this a few times with one letter before switching to the next. This activity can also be done outdoors if you like!

Magazine/Newspaper Hunt

Kindergarten/1st grade: Gather up any old newspapers and magazines you may have and ask your child to search for images that begin with the letter sound you've called out.

2nd Grade-3rd Grade: Gather up any old newspapers and magazines you may have and ask your child to search for multi-syllable words (ex. rab/bit, mon/ster, car/pen/ter), words with the phonic pattern you call out, or tell them to find 5 words they cannot pronounce and go over the sounds in the word with your child.

Family Activities

Visit the Zoo

The interactive experience of visiting a zoo helps in increasing children's imagination and creativity. As children walk around the zoo and see different animals in their specific habitats, they are exposed to many new words and concepts. This also encourages healthy conversations between parents, children, and siblings. While walking around the zoo, it is important to label every animal and ask questions. This will increase your child's vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Family Dinner Book Club

Each month, parents and children read a book together and create a themed dinner to compliment the book. Families can create a menu, table crafts, conversation starters or even do a family service project around the book the family reads. During dinner talk about the story.

Family Story Telling

Telling family stories is a terrific way to share and preserve your family history as your child builds vocabulary. These stories help children understand their past and make meaning from their present life. Stories you tell your own children can include what you remember from growing up along with stories your parents and grandparents may have shared.

Family Story Starters-

  • Share what you know and remember about your grandparents’ lives growing up, including where they were born and raised.

  • Talk about where you were born and raised.

  • Tell a story about your first day of school and other school-related experiences.

  • Share a story about how you celebrated holidays growing up.

  • Tell about a special day that is dear to you from growing up.

  • Tell about a special birthday that you celebrated when you were young.

  • Tell about your first time learning how to ride a bike or swim.

  • Use pictures and artifacts to begin a story or to add details about an event.

Cook up some fun spring treats!

Butterfly Snack Bags

Make these adorable butterfly snack bags and fill them with your favorite treats! Brighten your child’s day with a cute butterfly snack surprise. Oral language is a component of literacy. As you make these bags with your children, discuss the materials and each step they should follow.

Here’s what you’ll need to make the butterfly snack bags:

– Sandwich bags
– Clothespins
– Paint (pink & purple)
– Small googly eyes
– Pipe cleaners
– Small pom poms
– Sharpie
– Jelly beans or other treats to go inside the bags (Fish crackers, grapes, fruit, etc.)

How to make the butterfly bags:

Make the clothespin butterfly by first painting the clothespins purple and pink. Add two small googly eyes to the top. Draw a smile on the clothespin with a sharpie. Fold over a pipe cleaner to make the antennae and then glue two small pom poms to the tips. Glue the antennae to the back of the top of the pipe cleaner.

Place the snack inside the sandwich bag and seal it. Fold the top part of the bag backwards and clip the clothespin in the middle to make the butterfly bag.

Make Treats to Match a Book

Choose a book and make a treat that represents that book. Here are some examples:

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie -Chocolate Chip Cookies

Blueberries for Sal - Blueberry Muffins

Charlotte’s Web - Spiderweb Pizza Snack

Read Alouds

Children are naturally fascinated with the world around them. Take advantage of their curiosity and encourage your child to read nonfiction books, such as books about their favorite animals, insects, the life cycle of a butterfly, etc.

Visit your local library with your child and allow them to choose a selection of nonfiction books of interest. If you cannot make it to the library, you can find many nonfiction book read alouds online.

Take Turns Reading

During read-aloud time, take turns reading to each other. You can alternate paragraphs, pages, or chapters. For some extra fun, check out a children's play or a reader's theater collection from the library and take on the roles of different characters.
Frogs ~ Frog Read Aloud ~ Frog Story time ~ Pond Read Aloud ~ Pond Story time

Parent Q&A

How to Help Your Child if They are Struggling to Learn High Frequency Words

Family and Community Resources

Alabama Family Central

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 Education: Kids Games, Movies, & Books K-3

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 prefect for Pre K-3, special education, homeschool, and English language development (ELD,ELL,ESL).

Upcoming Events

Strolling Thunder Event in April 2023

Join us on April 4, 2023 for our Strolling Thunder event at the Alabama State Capitol!

At Strolling Thunder, you’ll raise your voice for babies and their families in a FREE, family-friendly setting. This event celebrates wins at the legislature, brings attention to what families need to thrive, and helps participants connect with their state and local elected officials. We will start the morning off with a press conference with Governor Kay Ivey on the Capitol Front Steps and then “stroll” to the South Lawn where there will be activities for children and information for adults on helping young children thrive.

Get a chance to speak with your state and local elected officials and help bring awareness to babies 0-3!

Registration is FREE! Registration will open in early 2023!

Strolling Thunder - Alabama Partnership for Children

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Spring Treats - The Best Ideas for Kids." 6 Mar. 2019, Accessed 25 Jan. 2023.

Starfall Education: Kids Games, Movies, & Books K-3. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Read Along Story - YouTube." 30 May. 2022, Accessed 25 Jan. 2023.

10 Fun Reading Activities for Kids - Play Party Plan." 16 Mar. 2020, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.

20 Activities to Support Letter Naming Fluency - We Are Teachers." 16 Dec. 2021, Accessed 31 Jan. 2023.