Sunday, 10 April 2011

Word treasure hunt

Here's another little activity that has worked well recently. El has been doing phonics at pre-school but is not in the slightest bit interested in learning to read when there are far more interesting things to do, like playing pirates or mermaids or princesses. We've done variations on the idea of a treasure hunt before, with pictures or clues that an adult could read and she's always enjoyed them, but the other idea I thought it was worth trying her with simple word clues to read for herself.

Using little post-it notes, I wrote down as many places in the house as I could think of with phonics-friendly names and stuck them to a piece of card. I tried to get a mixture of simple and harder words, and some with repeated words ("back door", "door mat"). On the last note I wrote "Treasure" and of course an "x", to mark the spot.

The treasure box is a small tin containing a little bit of chocolate wrapped in foil and a Lego pirate guardian. (I've since set this game up without chocolate - just got her to choose one of her toys as treasure - but the promise of chocolate treasure got her interested the first time).

Then I set up the clue in a trail around the house, each clue giving the location of the next. I stuck the card to the fridge and got her to put the clues back up on the card once she'd read them.

I wasn't sure how well she would get on with reading, and I did help her a little, but she did much better than I expected, and was so much more excited about following a trail of clues to the treasure than she ever is about the prospect of reading a book for herself.

And the best thing about this activity was that, like everything she enjoys, she wanted to do it over and over again, and after only a few times she was reading most of the words rather than sounding them out.

And of course her sister wanted in on it too. Which meant i could clear up or make dinner without having to turn on the TV.

I think I'll do an Easter egg version of it next week, make them work for that chocolate! :)


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