Children have a wonderful sense of humour, especially at the ages of 4 and 5. Since they are so tuned into the language around them (they are picking up grammar, vocabulary, and complex sentence structure at an impressive pace), they find playing with language hilarious.
Early readers love to see their name in print. Sorry, dads, but the children’s next favourite word is often “Mom.” Even before children are reading many words, they learn to recognize the most important ones – the names of the people in their family.
One of the new games I have developed for the students is a True or False Sentence Game. It is both a reading and writing game and builds on the idea that children want to play games with reading and writing before they are fluent readers. Since there is considerable repetition, the children learn to recognize the words we are working with even though the children are (usually) at the early phonetic stage (sounding out individual letters in words). We make a small pouch for the word labels and the children are excited to take the games home and play with their parents.
I was told these were true:
“Cooper has a toy”
“Carter has a toy”
“Dad has a toy”
But this one was false:
“Mom has a toy”
After I ask the child lots of questions about true and false and move lots of words around, I mix up all the words and ask the child to make some sentences.
This was Cooper’s first true sentence:
“Cooper has a Mom”
In this way, the students can create their own sentences before they can use a pencil and paper to write all the words from memory. The joy the children get from this game is contagious…I am still smiling about the fun we had yesterday.