Great Parents - Macomb Newsletter (English, Spanish)


How can I help my child to read?

  • Read a book and then see the movie based on the book together.

  • Play word board games like Sight Word BINGO or Scrabble Junior.

  • Take your child to a library program.  Come to a family story time with the whole family or another special program that is being offered. 

  • Keep all of your activities short and fun.  If you sense that your child is frustrated, stop for the time being.

  • Let your child see you reading and using the library.

What should I have in my home to encourage reading and writing?

  • Create a writing center in your home which has all the tools to get your child writing.  Include markers, stickers, stamps, foam shapes etc.

  • Create a cozy “reading corner” with a special basket of books, some pillows, and a beanbag chair. 

  • Consider purchasing inexpensive learning materials like alphabet blocks, magnet letters, or a small chalkboard or dry erase board.  Index cards can be used to make your own reading games.

  • If you don’t have time to make the games, you can purchase educational games at the locations listed below. 

Local places to buy learning materials:

Lakeshore Learning
12210 Hall Road
Sterling Heights, MI  48313
(586) 803-1436

Holcomb’s KnowPlace
33870 Gratiot Ave.
Clinton Township, MI 48035

(586) 790-9791

44791 Schoenherr Road
Sterling Heights, MI 48313

(586) 739-5900

The Teacher's Store

2383 E. 14 Mile Road

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

(586) 979-8050

What are some specific activities I can do at home with my child?

I’m Going on Vacation

Skill it promotes: sound awareness


1.   Begin the game by saying, “I’m going on vacation, and I’m going to bring my dog.  What will you bring?”

2.  Your child will reply, “I’m going on vacation and I’m going to bring my dog  and my frog. (Or any other word that rhymes with dog.) What will you bring?

3.  Continue until you run out of rhyming words and then start again with a new word.

I Spy a Sound

Skill it promotes:  sound awareness


1.   As you are in the house or waiting at the doctor’s office play a version of I Spy where the child must guess something that starts with a specific sound.

2.   As an example say, “I something that starts with the ‘c’ sound.  What is it?” Use the letter sound when playing instead of the letter name.  Feel free to add clues like, “We walk on it.” (carpet)

Letter Memory

Skill it Promotes: letter knowledge

Materials: set of index cards with uppercase letters & set of index card with lowercase letters


1.   Make a set of index cards with the upper and lowercase letters.  Have your child help you with the letters if he or she can write.

2.   Choose 6-12 letter sets to use for each game.

3.   Play the traditional memory game.  Take turns turning over the card to see if the card matches (uppercase “A” to lowercase “a”).  If it matches, the player keeps those cards and gets another turn, and if it doesn’t match, the next player has a turn.  The player who gets the most matches at the end of the game wins.

4.  Have the child practice the sound each letter makes as the cards are turned over.

Variation: Play the same game as above, but use words instead.  You could match words to a picture of the word.  When making cards for this game, use magazine pictures on index cards.

Go Fish for Words

Skill it Promotes: word knowledge

Materials: index cards and markers


1.   Make a set of word cards based on words your child already knows, plus some new words the child is learning.  Begin with 20 words for your first set of cards.  Write each word on two separate cards. 

2.   Give each player six cards and put the remaining cards in a “draw” pile.  The rules are like the “Go Fish” card game. The first player asks someone, “Do you have the word_____?”  If the player has that card, then a match is made.  If not the player “goes fish” by getting a card from the draw pile.  Keep playing until all of the pairs are matched. 

Varation: You can easily play this game and substitute letters instead of words.

Vacation Scrapbook

Skill it Promotes: verbal skills

Materials: blank white paper stapled to form a book, markers, pictures from a trip or activity, scissors & glue, stickers


1.  Take & print several pictures from a recent trip or activity.  Have the child tell you what happened on the trip.  Put the pictures in order together. 

2.   Glue each picture to a page in the scrapbook.  Have your child help you write a sentence about what is going on in each picture.  (If the child is able to write sentences, he or she can do the writing instead.)

3.   Decorate the scrapbook with markers, stickers or foam shapes when it is done. 

4.   Have your child “read” their scrapbook to someone else and tell a story about the trip.

Envelope Words

Skill it promotes: word knowledge

Materials: 6 envelopes, index cards


1.   Write a category of your choice on each envelope.  Examples: colors, furniture, animals,  etc.

2.   Have your child think of words that belong in each category.  Write a word on each index card. (You can substitute pictures for words if needed.)

3.   Have your child decide which “category envelope” each index card belongs to and then fill up the envelopes with cards.

Reading Thermometers

Skill it promotes: Enjoyment of books

Materials: construction paper, red marker


1.   Make a thermometer with a bulb at the bottom for your child.  Divide the stem into at least a dozen or so blocks.  Keep it in the child’s room or on the refrigerator so everyone can see it.

2.   For each book or specific amount of reading time, have the child color a block on the thermometer red.

3.   The child proceeds until the whole thermometer is colored.  You will both be proud of this accomplishment!


Put stickers on a “reading calendar” for each day the child reads at least 15 minutes with an adult.  When the calendar has a set number of stickers, praise your child and reward them with a special outing or treat.

Letter/Sound Grab Bag

Skill it promotes:  sound awareness

Materials: Set of index cards with the letters written on them, small paper bag, timer


1.   Put at least six letters in paper bag for the first game.  Have your child see how many sounds can be named in a set time.  (Use 1-5 minutes depending on the child’s level.)

2.   After you say “Go!” your child will reach in the bag and pull out a card.  Have the child make the sound that the letter makes (not the letter’s name).

3.   If the child is unsure of the sound, you can say what it is, but the letter must go back in the bag.  If the child says the correct sound, the letter can stay out of the bag.

4.   Count how many letters your child has done correctly after the timer beeps.  Play the game again and add more letters.

Letter Swap

Skill it promotes: sound awareness

Materials: letter magnets


1.   Make a simple word such as “sat” with the letters.  See if your child can read the word.

2.  Switch the initial letter of “s” with another letter like “p” to make a new word of “pat.”  See how many new words you can both make by switching letters. 

3.   Some will be real words, and others will just make silly words.

4.   Play again with some other words.  Here are some suggestions to use:

cap, ball, jam, sick, hill, frog, pink, cow, hay

Additional Activity:

Once your child is doing well with the letter magnets, try a similar game online

Sources for the activities:

America Reads Challenge  
Reading is Fundamental 
Family Fundamentals for Summer learning

Great Parents/Great Start (Michigan Program)
Star Fall

Reading Planet
PBS Kids

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