You might not think of gardening as an educational activity, but the truth is it can be! The garden is an excellent place to teach kids how to read as well as practice other important literacy skills. Take a look below at some helpful tips on how to teach kids reading skills in the garden, so that while your flowers grow, so do their little brains!
Before you begin, here are a few things you may need. Index cards are great for writing keywords and sight words on. Colorful markers and a spiral notebook are perfect for journals or note taking. Having these few items on hand can really help with the suggested activities below. Your local dollar store is a great source for these items!
How to Teach Kids Reading Skills in the Garden
1. Get them involved in the planning.
While planning the garden, browse seed catalogs with them. Point out simple keywords such as seeds, bulbs, dirt, grow, sun, and shade. Write these words on note cards for practice and referral later on. You can also look through and read gardening books and advice together so you can best plan your garden while building literacy skills at the same time.
2. Make your own garden markers.
Take wood craft sticks and use them as garden markers. Let kids write the names of the various plants on the sticks. Give them words to copy from if need be. Go through and read each marker together when you are done. These can also act as sight words for children to practice throughout the growing season.
3. Read your seed packets.
It is important to read seed packets well so you can be sure you are planting correctly. Read the backs of these packets together. Look for and listen for the keywords mentioned in step #1. You can also read bulb packets and the info packets that come with various plants, shrubs, and seedlings.
4. Enjoy some kid friendly gardening books.
After you have planted your garden, enjoy some garden themed books. Books such as Growing a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert are perfect! Let children listen and look for the words you found in idea #1, as with these texts they are sure to hear them!
5. Write about what you see.
Once the plants get growing, you will notice all sorts of changes. Now is the time to write about what you see. Get a journal for children to write their findings in as well as sketch photos. Simple word lists or basic sentences are a great start for younger children! Older children can be more detailed in their writing.
Who would have thought that the garden can act as a classroom to kids? Give these tips for teaching reading skills in the garden a try and see how beneficial the time you spend in the garden with your child can be!