Making coded messages is one of my favorite ways for kids to practice early literacy! Five-year-old Lily came up with this fun coded message game. She writes only part of each letter, and it is my job to figure out what the message will say when she fills in the missing spaces. Sometimes I get it, sometimes I don’t. It’s made a bit more challenging by the fact that she still occasionally reverses letters – something that is developmentally appropriate for a kindergartner. She also uses uppercase and lowercase inconsistently – another age-appropriate trait.
This could also be adapted as handwriting practice (better for kids who have moved past the letter reversal stage), and spelling words. I think it would make fun lunchbox notes for kids, too – just make sure you write something that they can figure out!
Literacy Fun for Kids
Are you looking for more fun literacy activities for kids? Here are some of my favorites that I have blogged about over the years:
Practicing Letters and Spelling
- Practicing letters and spelling with a sand tray
- Practicing letters with no-mess paint
- White boards as literacy tools
- Loom band letters
- Reading with babies and board books for babies
- Ten great picture books for toddlers
- Books your kindergartner will love
- Read-aloud books your kids will love
Writing for Kids
- Name poems for kids
- Fingerprint storytelling
- Early story writing and story telling
- Journaling for littles
Learning to Read
- Learning letters and their sounds
- Child-led reading lessons
- Child designed literacy game
- Help your child learn to read
Teaching Kids to Love Reading
- Celebrate books with a reading fort party
- Encouraging literacy with the Amazon Kindle
- Five literacy tips for parents
- Encouraging kids to love books
Literacy Products I Recommend
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- See & Spell from Melissa & Doug. This puzzle toy is nice because the kids always see the letters flipped the right way when they are in words.
- Magnetic letters. I like these from Melissa & Doug because they don’t have tiny magnets that can fall out of the back.
- The Letter Factory DVD from LeapFrog – such a fun way to learn letter sounds!
- The Talking Words Factory from LeapFrog – a fun way to introduce kids to blending letter sounds into words.
And the very best tools? Lots of books and paper and pencil and markers and pens for kids to write and draw. Drawing builds the same fine motor muscles kids need to write, and it helps them develop storytelling! Please remember that some children are developmentally ready to learn to read at five, while others are not. If you focus on making reading and writing fun for kids, most will learn as soon as they are ready. Those who continue to struggle will benefit from extra help, but only as long as it is help they can enjoy. I believe that it is much more important for five-year-olds to play than it is for them to read – and the research I have read supports that belief. Did you know that in Europe the countries with the highest adult literacy rates are the ones that start teaching reading the latest – around 7 years old?
What are your favorite literacy activities and tips?