5 Target Dollar Spot Finds for an Early Reader

It is hard to stick to a list when you are strolling through Target. I find it nearly impossible to walk past the Dollar Spot without taking a look at what’s new. There is always something I can use in speech therapy, but some of my favorite finds help my early readers the most! 

There are a lot of important skills children need to develop prior to beginning to read. The following are the 6 pre-literacy skills children need to grow into successful readers: 1. Print Motivation, 2. Narrative Skills, 3. Print Awareness, 4. Vocabulary, 5. Phonological Awareness, 6. Letter Knowledge. We previously discussed skills 1-4 in our blog post, “How To: Increase Literacy Skills in Children with Regular Use of Story Time.

Here I will give tips on how to practice and develop phonological awareness and letter knowledge using some of my favorite items purchased from the Target Dollar Spot:

1. Phonics Flashcards 

Targets: Letter Knowledge

How they can be used at home:

  • Name the letter on the card and make the sound the letter makes. 
  • Talk about the silly pictures on the card – they all contain the letter sound! 
  • You could play a guessing game – flip through the cards and say the sound the letter makes. Your child has to tell you what letter card you have. If they are correct, they can keep the card. If they collect so many cards, they win something (ex: getting to pick the next game, movie or snack). You could even have your child quiz you!
  • Practice writing the letter on a card in shaving cream, sand, or paint. 

2. Rhyming Words Flashcards

Targets: Phonological Awareness

How it can be used at home:

  • Pick a word from a card and go back and forth naming rhyming words to see who can come up with the most. 
  • Use some of these words to create a game of Go Fish where your “pairs” are words that rhyme. 

3. Letter/Sound Matching Clothespin Activity: 

Targets: Phonological Awareness & Letter Knowledge

How it can be used at home:

  • Have your child name the object in the picture. 
  • See if they can segment the sounds in the word (cat = c – a – t) and decide which letter option makes the first sound. 
  • If this task becomes too easy, ask for sounds that are not an option (ie. “What is the middle sound/letter?” “What is the last sound/letter?”). 

4. Rhyming Clothespin Activity: 

Targets: Phonological Awareness

How it can be used at home:

  • Name a word that rhymes with one of the options and have your child put the clothespin on the rhyming word 
  • OR have your child come up with a word that rhymes with another word on the strip to quiz you! 
  • Take it a step further by having your child name another word that rhymes. 

5. Workbooks: 

Targets: Phonological Awareness, Letter Knowledge, and more!

How it can be used at home:

  • Many of these workbooks allow your child to practice rhyming, segmentation, and letter/sound or sound/letter identification on his or her own. This will help with writing letters too! Reward with the stickers included in the book!

Each of these activities help develop the skills your child needs to become a successful reader. The next time you stop in Target, allow yourself some time to peruse the Dollar Spot. You never know what you might find!

-Kay Caprez, SLP

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