Does your child love trains? Try these playful and fun ideas for learning to read with trains for your preschooler.
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Learning to Read with Trains
I believe that a parent interactions with their children at a young age play a vital role in their language development, success in learning to read, and future academic achievements.
PLAY is VERY, VERY important at the preschool age and every child should have an opportunity to explore materials in open ended and parent-directed way. Similarly, I believe that every child should have the opportunity to explore language in open-ended and parent-directed activities.
One of the easiest ways to incorporate language and reading into your daily play is to take a look at what your child plays with and where they play. My 3 kids have been on a train kick and we have been using our train table quite often this month.
So what can parents do to extend PLAY into Learning to Read?
Here are just a few activity suggestions of quick and easy activities you can do RIGHT NOW with everyday materials in your home.
Activity: Making Your Play Area Language Rich
Books, Magazines, Maps, Signs
- Think about your play area and what tools or resources kids could use to enrich or extend their experiences?
- Gather everything
- Set them materials out in an attractive, easy to use way
- Let them explore the materials during play.
- Play with them and model how to use or make things such as signs or maps.
Activity: Making and Using a Vocabulary Word Wall
A word wall is a picture or a poster of words. I like to make thematic word walls with my preschooler, taking his suggestions for theme related words. For our month of trains, he chose; train, tracks, engineer, bell, rod, and passenger.
Paper, crayons, markers
- Divide your paper into 4-8 sections depending on the number of words you want to focus on.
- Come up with a list of theme related words. Ask your child what words they want to have on their word wall.
- Explain the word as you are writing it. What letters and sounds are in the word. How many letters are in the word? What does the word look like? Are there all short letters? Are some of the letters tall?
- Practice using the words in sentences. My son is NOT reading at 4 years old, but knows how to make a sentence with his words.”Trains can jump on tracks if they are jumping trains.” was his sentence this morning for the word tracks.
- Hang your mini poster / word wall close to the area where your child plays trains or tape it on the train storage bin!
Activity: Train T Chart; What Trains CAN and CANNOT Do
Paper and marker
This type of graphic organizer is a T chart. A T chart is mostly used for comparing things and is easily drawn with one line horizontal and one line vertical on the page, like a T.
- Think about what trains can and cannot do.
- Look at the pictures in your books to get some ideas.
- Have your child tell you what they can do and write these words down on the can side.
- Have your child tell you what trains cannot do and write these words down on the other side.
- Read the lists together and add more if you think of them!
There are so many ways that kids can learn to read while playing with trains!
Kids can learn to read with trains in a number of ways. One way is to use train-themed books and activities. There are many books available that feature trains, and these can be used to teach kids about letters, sounds, and words. Kids can also participate in train-themed activities, such as building train sets or playing train games. These activities can help kids learn about letters and sounds in a fun and engaging way.
Here’s a few more train ideas:
- Match letters to sounds. Kids can learn to associate letters with the sounds they make by playing with train sets that have letters on the cars. They can then practice saying the sounds as they move the cars around.
- Practice sight words. Sight words are words that are commonly used but are not spelled phonetically. Kids can practice reading sight words by playing games like “I Spy” with train-themed objects.
- Build vocabulary. Kids can learn new vocabulary words by reading about trains and train-related topics. They can also learn new words by talking to adults about trains and by watching train-themed movies and TV shows.
- Develop fine motor skills. Playing with trains can help kids develop fine motor skills, which are important for reading. Fine motor skills are the skills that kids use to control their small muscles, such as those in their hands and fingers. These skills are important for tasks like holding a pencil and writing letters.
- Develop hand-eye coordination. Playing with trains can also help kids develop hand-eye coordination. Hand-eye coordination is the ability to move your hands and eyes together in a coordinated way. This skill is important for tasks like reading, writing, and playing sports.
- Have fun! Playing with trains is a fun activity that can help kids learn in a variety of ways. It’s a great way to get kids excited about reading and learning.