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A fun "recipe" to give children pre-reading skills.

Updated on July 18, 2013

Who this is suitable for.

Although this is a Rocketmoms learning lens, you may enjoy it and find it useful.

Never having been a Housewife, I have no original food recipes.

However, I do have original "recipes" from the career I did have  ~  ie. teaching literacy and numeracy to children with Special Needs.

I have a series of lenses in the planning stage to de-mystify the teaching of reading. They are aimed at helping parents to help their child to learn to read easily in a fun way, so I have produced this one, a bit tongue in cheek, as an offering for RocketMoms Recipe Lenses. 

I hope it is accepted in the spirit in which it is offered.

This is suitable for children aged about three years.

It assumes that they already have a number of pre-reading skills such as being familiar with a variety of games where shapes of people, animals, squares, triangles etc are recognised and matched. i.e. the game of "snap".

It is important to note that the names of letters are not taught until a child can read -- it's counter-productive -- and that consonant sounds are always taught with a vowel, never alone, hence the consonant-vowel combinations in this "recipe".


To familiarise children with the Shape but not the Sound of consonant-vowel combinations.


1 Mum/Dad

1Child (or 2 or 3)

1 sheet of pale green card

1 blue/black felt tip pen

1 pair of scissors / 1 rotary paper trimmer

1 ruler

1 pencil

2 or 3 treats


1) Take the pencil and ruler and mark out thirty 3 inch squares on the pale green card.

2) Using the scissors or paper trimmer cut along the pencil lines to produce thirty cards.

3) Place the cards into 5 piles of 6 cards.

4) Take the felt tip pen and on the first pile of cards print the

5) On the second pile of cards print the letters........... ra

6) On the third pile print............ la

7) On the fourth pile

8) On the fifth pile print............. fa

9) Leave the ink to dry.

This style of printing is the best one to use.


As far as the children are concerned the letters are just shapes -- they do not represent anything.

Do not be tempted to teach them the sounds represented by the shapes at this point or, indeed, that they do represent sounds.

Enjoy the Family Fun

1) When the ink is dry, seat everyone in a circle, put the cards face down, shuffle well and deal.

2) Mum/Dad places a card face up in the center.

3) The person to the left places a card face up on the top.

4) If the shapes match, whoever says, "Snap" first, gets the cards. If they don't match, the next person to the left places a card face up on top.

5) This continues until all thirty cards have been won.

6) Give each child a treat.

Repeat steps 1 to 6 until the children recognise the shapes without hesitation and can draw them on a hand, a back and in the air using a finger.

Reader Feedback

Do you think this game is quality time spent to advantage and fun?

What Next?

When children are familiar with these shapes, keep the same consonants but change the vowel to i and repeat the game. (Game 2)

Game 3 use all 10 cards.

Game 4 change the vowel to u

Repeat the stages.

Follow the same pattern for the vowel o

( Ignore e for the time being).

Adding Sounds and Words.

I expect you will already have played the "I spy" game to familiarise them with the sounds words begin with., bi...biscuit, cu...cup,, la...ladder.etc.

Return to the original 5 cards.

Children will be used to saying "Triangle" when they put down a triangle so in the same way, teach them to say ra... rag, ma... mat etc when those combinations appear.

The next stage is to get them to give a new word to each letter combination --repetitions not allowed!

I'm sure you can see where this is going!

Children pick up the point of these games very quickly and great fun can be had scoring points which can perhaps add up to treats.

I hope you have great fun helping your children to develop pre-reading skills.

Please share your thoughts on this lens.

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    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 7 years ago from New Zealand

      Looks like a fun and interesting game.

    • profile image

      poutine 7 years ago

      What a smart way to start the children on the right path.

    • profile image

      reasonablerobby 8 years ago

      Hi June, I wish I'd known about this last week. We've just been looking after our friend's two and five year old for 4 days!! Mario Galaxy is OK and the Farmer has 6 cows electronic toy is OK for the first laf a dozen times but we need much more of this sort of thing!

    • JuneMary LM profile image

      JuneMary LM 8 years ago

      Hi Lizzy,

      Keep checking back - I shall be doing more lenses on teaching reading that you may like. Might as well pass on what I know.


    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Teaching children to read is essential. I have so many students (high school) that are poor readers. It will really hold them back in the long run.

      Thanks for sharing


    • JuneMary LM profile image

      JuneMary LM 8 years ago

      Thank you for your kind comments Norma.

      Sorry you had to find me by accident but I haven't learnt how to publicise my lenses yet. Please, --- feel free to tell your friends about them!!


    • AuthorNormaBudden profile image

      AuthorNormaBudden 8 years ago

      I've never thought of this before; great idea for a game to play to stimulate young minds. I look forward to seeing your other lenses along these lines.

      I've officially read and rated all of your lenses tonight. What a journey I have taken - from your childhood and favorite charity to the dangers of Swine flu vaccinations and in preparing your child to read.

      It's a good thing I stumbled upon a comment you made in another person's guest book or I may never have discovered you - yet. :)

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 8 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      Very interesting!

    • JuneMary LM profile image

      JuneMary LM 8 years ago

      [in reply to bdkz] Thank you Bonnie.

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Very creative! I love this one : )