A fun “recipe” to give children pre-reading skills.

A fun “recipe” to give children pre-reading skills.

Who this is suitable for.


A fun “recipe”

A fun “recipe”

I spent 20 years of my teaching career teaching literacy and numeracy to children who had learning difficulties but the information in this article is applicable to any pre-school child.

I have a series of articles 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.

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 below.



To familiarise children

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 letters………….ma

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

6) On the third pile print………… la

7) On the fourth pile print……….sa

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.symmetry-memory-snap11

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?

This game can be extended by increasing the number of consonants plus “a”

Then Consonants plus “i” then “u”, “O” Be careful with “e” ! 

Stage 2 is to link the sounds with the shapes and give a word beginning with that sound.

Have Fun!! 🙂