Learn to Read with Stories/Games/Songs

I’ve begun tutoring a first grade reader recently, and I have to say, I really enjoy getting back to the beginning stages of learning again. Afterall, my own boys are ages 10 and 13 5/6ths years old, so their level of activities has taken on a whole new meaning comparative to the learning drills that could be turned into a game on a moment’s notice.

Their perspective of fun matures, but I find that as I grow older, I gain more of an appreciation for the simpler ways of experiencing (and learning from) life. I would say in direct ratio to how serious a person usually is or views life, is the same need to make time for more sillier pursuits.

Anyway, I began to think with my new little muse that he would respond better to games and activities that required reading, but were not long, extensive stories. Many of these same things would sharpen listening skills and reinforce following directions, yet the interactive nature gave him something to busy his hands with and control all at the same time.

I looked through a very useful site today published in England. The content is challenging for beginning readers, but varied and interesting. Whether it is reading a joke or creating crazy animals, it has many ideas that use sight words and high frequency words to get their stories across.

Another website Apples4Teachers offered a great deal of American literature, nursery rhymes, and other reading material for beginning to intermediate readers.

Click below to see reviews and links to full site:

Learn English, Kids!  by the British Council




Literacy Links to Learn How to Read English

Triceratops horridus, a ceratopsian from the L...

Image via Wikipedia

Q: What do you call a dinosaur wearing a blindfold?

A: Do-you-think-he-saw-us!

Q: Why do dragons sleep during the day?

A: So they can fight knights!


Q: Why did the computer squeak?

A: Somebody squeezed the mouse.


Q: What does Triceratops sit on?

A: Its Tricera-bottom!


Q: Why are fish so clever?

A: Because they are always in schools.

More Jokes    Child clicks for the answer.  Great for beginning-intermediate readers.

Short Stories:  Each 1 of the short stories on this site has an educational interactive game you can play while the story quickly loads.  Once story is loaded, you can skip activity if you like and go straight to the book.

“The Hungry Dragon”    Online story read outloud with text.

“Planet Earth”

“Dinosaur Dig”  This one pauses at the end of each page, so the reader turns the page to progress the story.  Great for identifying words after they have been read.  Gives the child more of a chance to look at the words themselves.  Pictures and animation will draw the eye 1st to each scene, so pausing on other stories would be necessary for them to read the words aloud.

“The Lucky Seed”   This one also has the reader turning the pages.
Animated story read aloud.


Bookworm    To play, the child will direct the bookworm to eat the letters of a word.  They must be eaten in the correct spelling order, or the game ends.

This may frustrate your child in the beginning, but it actually reinforces the notion to stop/interrupt your child when they misspell a word outloud.  My oldest son had a tendency to want to talk about it, “Oh, I thought it was spelled ….”  Although I encourage my kids to be outspoken appropriately otherwise, this is a subject that I won’t allow to be discussed because it just gives their brain more exposure to the INcorrect way.  So, later when recalling how to spell it, their brain will be in a memory battle trying to grasp what letter combination made the right word. 

Insect World    I really liked how the reader is required to listen and read to follow their own path of learning as insects are categorized by habitat, thus giving the reader control, but also more choices.

Asteroid Blaster     Wonderful graphics, though it does make a blasting sound when asteroids are shot.  Works just as easily muted as with sound.  The idea is the child blasts the asteroids until a word is complete.  They do not choose letters, but instead each successful hit gets a new letter.  When the space word is completely spelled, the mission is over; game stops and child has chance to read the word they discovered. 

I always define words as they are introduced into my child’s vocabulary.  I don’t even wait for them to ask because it is so easy for the brain to just skip recognition of the word entirely when it is still unknown to it.  Giving it a moment of special attention builds on the memory bank of knowledge they can use for recall later.

Clean and Green     Good for learning recycling words/items.

Making Questions    Click large word bubbles to put the words into correct order for a question.  Timed exercise.  Questions are ~3 words long.  May get longer as you progress through exercise.  I only played it a short while to test it out.

Label Easy Dino Parts    Interactive label dino parts.  Words are:  claw toe jaws nostrils horn back tail neck.

Labeling Games    list of labeling games – subjects:  Spring, sea animals, classroom, insects, dinosaurs, playground, bedroom, transport, clown’s face, dragon, animals,

Working with Animals    Matching job with description regarding care of animals; 1st grade sentences, but job title “scientist” they would need help reading.

Silly Monsters    Match the silly monsters with their description.  Encourages sight word reading.

MORE  Matching Games     Subjects:  teeth, personality, working with animals, fireworks safety, seasons and animals, weather, gadgets, computers, monsters, monster jokes, human body, Halloween costumes

Paint It    These aren’t just interactive paint games, but also a following directions challenge through attentive listening.  Subjects:  bedroom, flags, pets, sea animals, playground, shapes, rainbow, clown’s face, winter clothes, transport, witch’s brew

Banana Milkshake        Challenging but possible for 1st grader…Read and arrang the order of instructions teaching us how to make a banana milkshake.

Make Your Own Story     Very cool interactive story maker.  They guide the choices, your child reads and chooses their favorite option to get the story written.

Crazy Critter Animal Maker    Cute game. Simpler words are used to give directions on making crazy animals.  Both reading and following directions are worked on with this one.


“The River”      Story/song with text and animated graphics.

MORE Songs    List of animated songs with text.

Choosing Faces    Practice listening with Face Match.  Read or listen to a description of a person. You’ll see six faces. Which is the right person? Click on the face and then click on ‘choose’ to see if you are correct.

FREE MEMBERSHIP to British Council’s


Great tools, books, poems, puzzles, games for students, parents, and teachers with special emphasis on the beginning – intermediate reader.

Get more Free Rockin’ Independent Knowledge as we begin to add more learning resources to our catalog.  Check with us often!  Our goal is to update each category at least once a week.

Much thanks to my little reading muse for inspiring me to prioritize publishing this post.  🙂  The Infamous FRIK

OH!  One more thing…here’s something cute I caught online this morning.  Just wanted to share a smile…

 video of Staff Caring for Baby Orangutan


Other interesting reads:    

An attitude adjustment about learning

A different approach to learning how to write

Creatures of habit? or reinvention?

A campside reunion with philosophy

Obama Says Bring Back the Arts for Superior Intelligence, Success, & World Relations

I’ll let Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama speak for himself:

To remain competitive in the global economy, America needs to reinvigorate the kind of creativity and innovation that has made this country great. To do so, we must nourish our children’s creative skills. In addition to giving our children the science and math skills they need to compete in the new global context, we should also encourage the ability to think creatively that comes from a meaningful arts education.

Unfortunately, many school districts are cutting instructional time for art and music education. Barack Obama and Joe Biden believe that the arts should be a central part of effective teaching and learning.

The Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts recently said “The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.”

Thanks to fullbodytransplant here on wordpress for passing along this exciting and enlightening information.  I invite you to check out his website at www.fullbodytransplant.wordpress.com where you will see some fascinating artwork and complicated techniques in use. 

Peace, One Love, & most of all:  YES, WE CAN!!!   Optimistic




                                                                             Action  <<gotta give my 11 yr old son credit for that one 😀



Damona Waits (Mt. Airy natives) LIVE this Weekend–check sample tracks here

Mt. Airy, NC natives Chase O’Neal (drums), Andrew Simmons (guitar), Tyler Badgett (bass guitar), and Josh Snow (guitar) are redefining the realm of rock n’roll as we speak.

O’Neal, Simmons, and Badgett have been performing together since Gentry Middle School when, along with Will Jackson, they rocked out as The Fishsandwiches.  Since graduating high school, they have teamed up with Surry County native Josh Snow to create a rich, invigorating instruMETAL sound that is by far like no other.  Will Jackson is now lead singer of the metal band “From a Second Story Window” based further north while touring throughout North America.

Before you turn yourselves off, citing that you hate the screech of heavy metal, let me explain–I, personally, am not a metal fan.  I despise Van Halen’s exaggerated riffs and hollow lyrics, and personally can’t connect with the thrash metal scene in general.  Guns n’ Roses, Motley Crue, and similar hair bands were hot back in the day, but in my opinion, other than a couple of classics, their tracks remain stalemates in my repertoire.   There are only three metal bands that I will even consider downloading that have and will continue to withstand the test of time forevermore:

  1. AC/DC
  2. Metallica
  3. Damona Waits

You may claim or think me biased since my brother is the double-bass-pounding-phenomenal drummer that immediately grabs your attention–regardless of your classic rock heritage.  Not so–that only got me to the first show and first downloads.  Combine that along with the reverberating rhythmic thuds Badgett paces in an almost erotic fashion on bass–and no matter your hip hop preference–your torso instantly moves, popping in an instant trance, choreographed beyond your immediate consciousness.  Touched off with an electrical dance of a  lifetime of dedication by guitarists Simmons and Snow, and believe it or not even you, your own most unsuspecting metal fan, will begin tossing your own hair, hands flailing in the air. 

Whether by internet download or live where the vibrations will immediately possess you, they are a performance not to be missed.  Although they feature the occassional guest singer, their music rises above the need for lyrics.  The music tells its own story–one you will subconsciously, yet immediately, define as your own. 

They are currently in studio production fine tuning their much anticipated debute album.  The original release was expected in 2006, but once complete the musical perfectionists were not satisfied with the sound of the Wilmington producers local to their current home.  Ditching the whole project, they began fresh with their old friend and gifted producer, Jamie King of The Basement Recording Studio located in Winston-Salem.  At near completion, the album, artists, and producer are worth every ounce of your support, time, and drive. 

They will be headlining @ The Soapbox in Wilmington, NC tomorrow Friday, 9/7, with doors opening @9:00pm along with Surry County natives Eldora.  Check out their sample tracks below, download them while you can, and gather your friends for a roadtrip that promises to deliver. 

For more info on The Soapbox’s location: www.soapboxlaundrolounge.com/

Check out their 4 sample tracks here on Damona Waits’ website:  http://www.myspace.com/damonawaits.com/

Click for Category Search

%d bloggers like this: