Fun reading games to help children learn to read

Learning to read is likely the most challenging task a child has faced in their lives at the age when they start learning to read. Learning to read can feel impossible to the child, especially if they are dyslexic. Dyslexia is a type of reading disorder characterized by different symptoms. Dyslexia may occur due to different reasons, mainly phonemic hearing disorders and neurological problems. To read more about how to know if your child is dyslexic, check out this article on the blog.  If a child has any neurological symptoms, then he or she should be assessed and possibly treated by a doctor. Correcting speech and learning challenges caused by dyslexia may need special treatment by therapists, teachers, and psychologists. Also, even children who are not dyslexic may have difficulties learning to read. Fortunately, teachers and parents may be able to successfully prevent reading difficulties for their children (and have fun while you’re at it!). In order to do this, starting from preschool age, you can  play games with words and images that are aimed to develop visual and auditory perception, visual-motor coordination and spatial orientation, memory, and attention with your children.

The great thing about this is that it’s easy to integrate reading games that will help with development along with whatever games that would already be played. Also, these games can help foster a love of learning at a young age. Let’s learn some games for auditory and visual perception development!

Reading Games for Auditory and Visual Perception Development

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds in spoken words and the understanding that spoken words and syllables are made up of sequences of speech sounds (Yopp, 1992). Phonemic hearing begins to develop right after birth and even at a very young age, a child already has an idea of the acoustic characteristics of sounds. However, in the case of speech underdevelopment, there can be pronunciation violations, and difficulties in reading and writing in the future. 

So, here  are some game ideas for the development of auditory perception and attention, recommended for kids starting from age 3:

“Recognize the object by the sound”  - determine the object making the sound:

  • “Guess that sound?”
  • "Guess what I'm playing?”
  • For example, have the child wear a blindfold and then make different sounds such as snapping, clapping, or tapping on a table. 

“Where's the sound?” - identify the location of the sound:

  • "Guess where it's ringing? ,
  • For example, hide an object that will make noise (such as a timer or your cell phone) in a room and then have a race to see who can find where the object is hidden first. 

“Recognition on the onomatopoeia of animal sounds”

  • "Guess who's making that noise?", "Who hid in the house?”
  • For example, make noises such as “Ruff, ruff” like a dog, “Meow” like a cat, or “Mooo” like a cow and have the child guess the animal. 

For speech (phonemic) hearing development, which is responsible for distinguishing speech sounds, it is recommended to regularly involve children in games from 4-5 years:

“Catch the sound in your hands” - develop recognition of sounds. 

  • For example, ask the child to clap their hands as soon as they hear a certain sound such as “p” and then say “Once upon a time, there lived a Princess named Penelope”. 

“Where's the sound?” - determine the place of a given sound in words, putting a chip in the scheme of the word.

  • For example, write out the sentence “Two plus Two equals four” and have the child point out everywhere the sound that the letter “T” makes is. 

“How many sounds?” - show so many fingers, for how many sounds were made.

  • For example, say the word “cat” and help the child realize that there are 3 sounds for each letter in the word. 

“Choose a picture” - select a picture where a certain sound is present when the object name is read out loud. 

  • For example, have a picture of many colors and ask the child to point out each one where the sound of the letter “B” is present and help the child realize that the words for the colors blue, brown, and black all have the same sound. 

Games for the Visual Perception Development

Due to insufficient visual processing development, children may confuse similar letters, incorrectly name them and have difficulties remembering them. To avoid this, you can incorporate games with different images for a fun and productive time!

  • “Spot the difference” - look at a pair of pictures and try to find the differences.

  • “Superimposed images” - Look at 3-5 contour images (objects, geometric shapes, letters, numbers), superimposed on each other. Try to name all the images.

  • “Hidden images” - Give several figures consisting of elements of letters, geometric shapes. Try to find all of the hidden images 

  • “Noisy” images” - Present several contour images of objects, geometric shapes, numbers, letters, which are noisy, for example, crossed out with lines of different configurations. Try to name and identify all of the objects.

  • “Find a pair” - Look at an image with several objects that look similar but have subtle differences. Try to identify the two objects that are identical.

  • “The unfinished images” - Study an image with unfinished elements, for example, a bird without a beak, a fish without a tail, a flower without petals, a dress without a sleeve, a chair without a leg, etc.. Name the missing details or finish the drawing so it’s complete.

  • “The images made of dots” - Show images of objects, geometric shapes, letters, numbers, made up fromf dots. Try to name the objects.

  • “The inverted images” - Demonstrate the schematic images of objects, letters, numbers, rotated 180°. Then try to draw an object rotated. 

  • “Cut images” - Make parts of 2-3 images (for example, vegetables of different colors or different sizes, etc.). Children should collect the whole image from these parts.

For school-age children, all the proposed games can be played with letters and numbers so that you’re working to develop not only visual perception, but also fluency with numbers and letters The following games can be really fun and educational!.

  • “Letters” - Offer several rows of randomly arranged letters of the alphabet. Then try to find and circle:
  • Everytime there is the letter“i”;
  • all vowels;
  • mark with one color everytime there is the letter “B”, and with different color “P”.
  • “Find the letter” - ook at the text and underline with one line the letter “A”, with two lines the letter “N”, and put a dot under the letter “O”.
  • “What has changed?” - The child is offered to look at the several cards with letters (words, numbers, geometric shapes, etc.) and turn away (leave the room). The teacher removes (adds or swaps) cards. The child should determine what has changed.
  • “Find mistakes” - Give a card and try to explain and correct the following mistakes:
  • Spelling - one letter is mirrored (skipped, inserted extra letter);
  • Arithmetic exercise - a mistake in the calculation, for example one digit is mirrored;
  • In sentences - the wrong word is omitted or inserted.

Regular use of the mentioned games will positively influence the intellectual development of the child and will prevent difficulties associated with visual and auditory perception, in writing and reading. Go ahead and try to start playing these games with your kid and see how it can be fun to learn and play at the same time! You’ll be amazed at how fast they will learn and get better as well. Let us know if you have fun playing these games with your child and good luck! 


Yopp, H. K. (1992). Developing Phonemic Awareness in Young Children. Reading Teacher, 45, 9, 696-703.

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