Playing Around with Words

One of the best things you can do to encourage your child as a reader is to show them that language can be playful. Word play, including rhymes, made-up words, idioms and all kinds of silliness, builds awareness of the ways that words are composed of distinct sounds. Here are some great picture books that will help build skills, but just as importantly, will make you laugh!

Double Trouble in Walla Walla by Andrew Clements  Word Play by Ivan Brunetti

Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold  How do You Wokka-Wokka by Elizabeth Bluemle

Word Wizard by Cathryn Falwell  Take Away the A by Michael Escoffier  Eight Ate by Marvin Terban

Here are some great ideas from the American Library Association’s Every Child Ready to Read Program:

  • Read a book with lots of made-up words. Try How do You Wokka-Wokka by Elizabeth Bluemle or a book by Dr. Seuss. Trying making up more words to go with the story.
  • Silly poems are fun and can teach new vocabulary.
  • Kids love riddles and jokes, which often use a “play on words”. Laugh along as you talk about the answer to the riddle or joke.
  • Having fun with words helps your child become more conscious of words and eager to learn more.