Day 1: Kinesthetic Activities for Teaching Reading

Kinesthetic Activities for Teaching Reading | This Reading MamaI am excited to be a part of iHomeschool Network’s Summer Hopscotch!  To see a list of all the amazing bloggers, please click here.  This week, my topic is Multi-Sensory Activities for Teaching Reading.  If you’d like to read more about multi-sensory teaching, please read my post from yesterday!

Today, I want to focus on kinesthetic activities that you can do with your child.  Kinesthetic {also known as tactile} is a way to get your child moving and doing; using his body in some form or fashion as he learns to read.  The ideas I will share cover all kinds of areas of reading, from learning letters and their sounds to comprehension.  Enjoy!

30+ Kinsethetic Activities for Teaching Reading

1. Sidewalk Chalk and Sight Words {learn letters or add a hopscotch game like Mom to Post Lil Divas}

2. ABC Puzzle Racing

3. Spelling with LEGO Letters

4. Sensory Play/Bins- hide objects that start with the same letter, magnetic letters, sight words, or phonics patterns in there {1+1+1=1}

5. Counting syllables or phonemes with objects {snap together Unifix cubes, links, or LEGOS for each one you hear}; Elkonin boxes or Learning Resources Sound Boxes are great, too!  You can even clap, stomp, race, or integrate toys into phonemic awareness. {I Can Teach My Child}

Sight Word Twister | Mom 2 Posh Lil Divas

6. Sight Word Twister {Mom 2 Post Lil Divas}

7. Write letters and words in shaving cream, oatmeal, or cornmeal or look at this great list of 9 multi-sensory ideas for teaching sight words {Make, Take & Teach}

8. Sandpaper letters {Living Montessori Now}

9. Manipulating Words with magnetic letters, bottle caps, letter tiles, stamps, or puffy paint {123 Homeschool 4 Me}

10. Glue a Bumpy Alphabet {}

11. Roll It with Education Cubes-We use ours A LOT.  This is a purchase I would highly recommend!  They work not only for literacy, but for other content areas as well. {I also have a FREE 68-page “Roll-A” activity pack for all Facebook likers!}

12. Scavenger Hunts to spell words or find letters

13. Physically matching or sorting words / pictures on a pocket chart or work surface of some kind

Stack the Blocks Activity, The Struggling Reader | This Reading Mama

14. Stack the Blocks- for each rhyming word your child can say {or words with a particular phonics pattern, such as long a}, stack the tower one block higher.  How high can the tower be built? {from Phonics Instructional Activities pg. 66, The Struggling Reader}

15. Magnetic Letter Builders {Confessions of a Homeschooler}

16. Integrate the Nerf gun {shoot letters or words on a dry erase board}

17. Integrate water {Hands on as We Grow},  get in the TUB {Bath Activities for Kids}, or wash those letters! {Little Bins for Little Hands}

18. Alphabet Bowling {Toddler Approved}

19. Create motions to go with the letter sounds or phonics sounds {such as pinching or gently slapping your hand for the “ow/ou” sound}

20. Learn the letters in sign language and sign the letters in words

21. Race to spell words {Playdough to Plato}

22. Promote Early Literacy with ACTION– there are a TON of ideas here that can totally be adapted for other literacy skills {Playdough to Plato}

23. Act out the story after listening to it

24. Facial Expression- re-read passages, select a few sentences to ask the read to re-read, using various facial expressions as they do {Fluency Instructional Activities pg. 63, The Struggling Reader}

25. Use puppets to re-enact the story or a scene. This can also be a GREAT way to build fluency, especially if the child needs to practice his lines for it to be performed for others. {Comprehension Instructional Activities pg. 15, The Struggling Reader}

26. Create a comprehension ball with a beach ball {super easy AND cheap}.  Throw it to your child and have your child answer the questions one at a time on the ball.9

27.  Rainy day?  Use your stairs to move it and learn, too!  Letters can be replaced with various phonograms {such as ai or ea}, sight words, or comprehension questions.

Count and Clip a Syllable, Reading the Alphabet | This Reading Mama

28. Clipping rhyming words, syllables, phonics sounds, or sight words with clothespins {great for fine motor as well}

29. Write- When kids write {especially when they are allowed to invent their spellings}, they can “feel” the letters in their mouths, helping to stretch their phonemic awareness

30. Swat the Word {or sound, letter, etc.}  Write words or letters on a piece of chart paper or dry erase board.  Give your child a {clean} fly swattter. Say the sound/word and have them swat the word.

31. Spell words out of playdough; stamp words {with cookie cutters} in playdough


What other kinesthetic activities have you used to teach your child to read?  I’d love to hear them!


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  1. Fun ideas! I pinned this page. We recently did stamps with cookie cutters. Now, when my daughter walks by the finished results, she pauses and recites her ABCs while pointing at the letters. So cute!

  2. I’ve done a variation on the bumpy alphabet with glued-down yarn. I’ve also worked with those sticky wax stix to practice letters with kids. We also have fun forming letters with chenille stems.

  3. Carey Hernandez says:

    My son has some special needs so I very much appreciate your list!! He is very hands on everything on this list are wonderful ideas for him — THANK YOU!! :)

  4. Nelon Jarrett says:

    Hello Reading Mama,
    I am a teacher in Jamaica and I am doing a research on I can use the multi sensory approach to teach oral reading to 30 remedial/ slow students. I having difficulty sourcing books to do my review of literature which should comprise 10 – 15 books that speak positively about this approach. Can you help me please?

  5. I absolutely LOVE the “swat the word” game! My toddler always wants to play with the fly swatter anyway. I need to buy him his own and turn it into a learning game. Brilliant. Thank you.

  6. These are going to help a lot for my kinesthetic learner – thank you!


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