A six-year-old has probably just started learning to read, and may have a small foundation of vocabulary that includes colors, articles and simple nouns. Use a game to make reading fun and jump start his learning. Play these games at home, in the classroom, or better yet, outside to satisfy a six-year-old's desire to explore.

Silly Matching

On one stack of flash cards, write adjectives and attach them to a clothes line with clothes pins. Make another stack of flashcards with simple nouns written on one side. Put the noun cards in a pile with the words face down. Take turns drawing a noun card, reading it out loud, and then choosing an adjective that could describe that noun. The noun and adjective combination could be funny or weird: the child just has to read each word out loud and explain why they go together. If he reads each word correctly, he gets to keep the pair. The winner is the player who has the most cards at the end of the game.

Tell Me a Story

Hide flash cards with site words written on them throughout a room or in the back yard. Set a timer to one minute and have the child race to grab as many word cards as she can in that time. When the timer rings, the child spreads out the cards on a table and reads each of the words out loud. Then the child makes up a story using the words on the cards. The story doesn't have to make sense, she just has to recognize the word and understand its meaning.

Musical Chairs Reading

Play this game in a small group. Arrange chairs in a circle and have kids stand outside the chairs. Write words on index cards and place one card face down on each chair. Play music and have the kids walk in a circle around the chairs. When the music stops, the kids run and sit down on a chair, holding the word card from that chair. Have each child read her word card out loud. If she reads the word correctly, she gets to keep the card. Repeat the game, but exchange the cards on the chairs for new words while the music is playing. See who has the most cards after five songs.

Word Search

This game is best played with two or three students. Glue pictures from magazines onto index cards (one picture per card) to make a stack of picture cards. Make two or three lists of words using the words that the pictures represent. Give one list to each child, and place the stack of picture cards face down on a table. The kids take turns drawing a picture card. The student who draws the card looks for the corresponding word on his list. If he has the word, he reads it out loud and circles it with a marker. If not, simply discard the picture card. The child with the most circled words when all of the picture cards are gone wins.

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