Kindergarten is an almost magical grade to teach.
The change between what students can do on the first day and what they can do on the last day is remarkable.
And that’s because we teach so many concepts during kindergarten that form the foundation of what our students will learn for years afterward – from reading to counting to working well with others.
Early literacy, in particular, is one of my passions. When we help our students learn to read, we help them learn how to learn.
And, if we can make it fun, they’re even more likely to stick with it. Which is why I’m sharing this list of 10 hands on literacy ideas for kindergarten!
Turning literacy into an interactive lesson is the best way to make sure our early learners stay engaged.
After all, we want them to learn to love reading, right?
These resources are excellent for building literacy skills and having fun at the same time!
Read on to see the full list and how to get a free early literacy resource too.
Need ideas for teaching math in kindergarten? Take a look at this list of fun counting books to read with kids!
10 Hands On Literacy Ideas for Kindergarten
Apple CVC Word Building Activity
Help your kindergartners practice phonics and spelling with this fun apple-themed word building activity!
Use the word cards at centers and let students practice threading the CVC words for themselves. Check out this resource.
Use highlighters for phonics practice.
When you’re working with printed worksheets, add a little fun by letting students use highlighters!
They can write a new word and then highlight isolated letter sounds, such as the beginning sound, the vowel sound, the ending sound, and more.
Cupcake Uppercase and Lowercase Letter Matching
Working on recognizing uppercase and lowercase letters?
This hands-on cupcake letter matching activity is a perfect activity for early centers! Check out this resource.
Use magnetic or foam letters at centers.
Letting students move letters around is a fun way to show them how word sounds change, depending on the position of each letter.
Hand out individual magnet boards and let the kids spell out words for themselves. Here is a great magnetic letters kit for early readers. (affiliate link)
Use sidewalk chalk for outdoor literacy practice.
When the weather’s nice, take the class outside for the day’s reading lesson!
Draw a few vowels on the pavement and let the kids run to the vowel sound you say. You can also write a few CVC words on the concrete and let them find each one, based on how it sounds.
Sign Language Alphabet Learning Cards
Help your early readers practice recognizing written letters while learning sign language! And they make a fantastic addition to your collection of hands on literacy ideas for kindergarten.
These printable sign language alphabet learning cards are excellent for building hand-eye coordination and learning to spell in ASL! Check out this resource.
Vowel Houses Short Vowel Sound Activity
If you take a few minutes to prep a reusable activity, you can set up a center lesson that kids will use again and again.
This Vowel Houses CVC Word Activity is fantastic for centers! Students can practice placing the pictures in the correct houses by reading the words and listening for the vowel sound. Check out this resource.
Rhyming Word Puzzles
Kindergarten is the grade for learning about rhyming words. These printable rhyming word puzzles are awesome for centers and morning tubs!
Plus, they come with a non-labeled set, so students can practice listening for the rhyming sound and reading it. Check out this resource.
Use a whiteboard to introduce early ELA skills.
As your students build reading fluency, you’ll start introducing them to what sentences should look like – capitalizing first letters, ending with the right punctuation, and so on.
I like to use a whiteboard to write sentences incorrectly and then ask my students what I need to change. They love pointing out my mistakes!
Cookie and Cupcake Themed Alphabet Practice
If you need a quick take-home activity for students, this cookie and cupcake themed alphabet practice set is perfect!
These alphabet worksheets feature five literacy activities for early readers that help them practice recognizing and using letters – with a fun dessert theme.
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Did you like this list of hands on literacy ideas for kindergarten? Try some of these other ideas for building early literacy skills!