Literacy Beginnings, Chapter 21

Pre-K Pages

Today, I am hosting chapter 21 of Literacy Beginnings (Fountas & Pinnell) for the Book Study Blog Party.

Chapter 21:  Using Group Games to Increase Language and Print Awareness

Chapter 21 of Literacy Beginnings gave some great examples of literacy games for circle and centers. I won’t repeat those here, but I’ll add a few  more ideas. This chapter also gave suggestions for introducing center games to the children. I usually introduce games at circle time and place them in the center. Or, I introduce a game at small group, we play it at small group, and then it goes to the center for children to play some more.


Letter Review: Use a small cardboard cube shaped box (e.g. a tissue box) and wrap it in butcher paper or gift wrap. On each of the six sides of the cube, write a different letter. Pass the cube (dice) around the circle, having each child take a turn to roll the dice on the floor. Whatever letter the dice lands on, the child will think of a word that begins with that letter. For example, if the dice lands with the S at the top, they could say “snake” or “sun”. You could also play this game with children’s names.

Letter Basketball: This is always a big hit with children in my classroom. Write letters on several pieces of paper (use scrap paper from your recycle bin that has a clean side). Write one letter on each piece. Place the papers randomly in the middle of the circle. Place a trash can near the area and place a piece of masking tape on the floor about 3-4 feet from the trash can. Call on a child to collect a piece of paper with a certain number on it. Have them find the number, crumple it into a ball, stand on the masking tape, and toss the trash into the trash can. Continue play until everyone has had a turn. (If they miss, I let them try until they ring it, and we cheer loudly even if it takes five tries.)

Wild Things Alphabet Game: Program several index cards with letters you want your students to practice. Draw a simple monster or print monster clipart and glue on an index card. Make one monster card for every five letter cards you have. Shuffle the card deck and store the cards in a basket or other container. To play the game, each child takes a turn pulling a card from the basket. The child will identify the letter on the card and pass the basket to the next child. Anytime a child pulls out one of the monster cards, he announces “Let the wild rumpus start!” Everyone in the group pretends to stomp, gnash their terrible teeth, roll their terrible eyes, and show their terrible claws, until the teacher says “be still”. Then the game will resume with the next child pulling another card out of the basket. (Of course, you will want to read Where the Wild Things Are first.)

Thoughts on playing games with 4’s

My students always enjoy playing letter bingo (called lotto in the book), but 4’s tend to get very upset if they do not win. Lots of drama and tears. In my classroom, I let all children win. With older children, it would be different, because eventually do have to learn that they don’t always get what they want. However, most 4’s just are not at the point they can handle the competition. When we play bingo, we play until all children “win”. Each child can shout “bingo” and cheer, but play doesn’t end until everyone fills their card. I also often make my own bingo cards where everyone has the same letters on their card, so everyone gets bingo at the same time. I might randomize the letters on each child’s card, but they all have the same letters. When we play path games, again all children are able to play until they get to the end. When games get too competitive with 4’s, the fun is lost.

Organizing Games

I organize my games into my “month” boxes that I showed in a previous blog post. Each game is placed in a ziplock bag (either gallon or 2.5 gallon). If you have a great way to organize games, please share in the comments.

If you have literacy group games on your blog, please share your link in the comments or add them to the linky! Chapter 22 will be hosted The Seeds Blog.

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