Monday, November 7, 2011

Read and Run: A Movement-Based Activity for Early Reading and Sensory Diet all in One

The other day, Luke was opting to spend a lot of time sitting or lying while playing with figurines, drawing and doing Math and Reading work.  Although I enjoyed the peace of having him in low gear, I also knew that if he did not get a decent burst of strong movement in, we’d all likely pay consequence later.

Luke is definitely a child that needs regular physical activity.  Thus, when Luke asked for more Reading lessons for the day, I decided to try an activity that I often assign my more kinesthetic tutoring students as a between-session challenge to try out with their parents or siblings -- a game that easily compliments Montessori "pink" words work.

Read and Run
A fun game that requires little to no preparation and ties together two things many young children need:  practice reading and ample opportunities to move.  


  • a writing utensil
  • index cards or paper cut into small rectangles
  • objects around your home or working space


  1. Choose five or more words that your child will be able to decode and write one on each index card or rectangle of paper.  Choose words for objects that will require your child to move to different rooms or areas of a space and to bend or reach to different levels. 
  2. Hand these to your child and challenge him or her to label things in your home or work space with them as quickly as possible.
  3. Ask your child to show you where he or she put each label, encouraging him or her to correct any that were put in illogical places.


  • Reading (Decoding Skills and Vocabulary)
  • One-to-One Correspondence
  • Gross Motor
  • Vestibular Input/Heavy Work
  • Motor Coordination/Motor Planning

Quick Tips/Extensions

  • To add extra challenge and fun, set a kitchen timer, sand timer or Time Timer and have your child try to beat it.
  • To include estimation and time concepts, have your child count how many words he or she has to Read and Run with and then decide how long he or she thinks it will take to complete the task.  Use a timer or count to see how long it actually does.
  • To add fine motor and spelling skills in, have your child make a set of cards for you to label the house with.
  • To encourage more vestibular and proprioceptive input, add another guideline to each round of the game played, such as, “You must hop (skip, gallop, slither, jump, crawl) around as quickly as possible to place these labels on things in our home.
  • To help your child gain confidence, begin by using only five or six words.  Then, as your child begins to decode and label with greater accuracy, add more words and/or words that are more difficult to decode.  (For example, begin with Consonant-Vowel-Constant, or CVC, words, such as bed or cup.  Then, add CCVC or CVCC words, such as plug or sink.
  • To work on memory, keep word label cards in three bags: one for brand new words, one for words that your child has mastered once and one for words that your child has mastered more than once.  Each time you play, be sure to add a few words from each bag.  (Playing with words multiple times will help your child move them from being words to decode to words known by sight and give your child confidence.  Adding new words each time you play will keep the game fresh.)
  • For fun, make this a hide and seek game.  Close your eyes while your child runs to label objects and then open them and try to find where all the labels are.

What movement-based activities do you use 
to encourage early reading skills?
Do you have any frugal, fast, fun and effective 
early learning games to share? 
Please add ideas or links in the comments.

Please feel free to link up at the bottom of my initial BloTaAcMo post with any posts, tutorials or reflections you succeed with getting off your task list this month!

This post is also being linked to Montessori Monday at  One Hook Wonder  and Living Montessori Now, because although it is not traditional Montessori, it is inspired by the Montessori philosophy of following the child and guiding them with activities that fill their needs and fit their interests, as well as because I feel the activity nicely compliments traditional Montessori word work.

This post is also being shared at Homeschool Creations Preschool Corner and 5K, too, where you will find many fabulous ideas for teaching your pre-k and 5k students.


Ami said...

As a mother of boys, I LOVE this idea! :) I'm pinning it, and I will definitely use it in my own homeschool.

Thanks! :) Ami

Martianne said...

So glad you and your boys can use it, Amy!

Deb Chitwood said...

What a great game, Martianne! I love reading activities that work on motor skills as well - and are just fun! Thanks so much for linking up with Montessori Monday. I always love your posts! I featured your activity at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page:

Forest Rose said...

Great idea...I pinned it too! Thanks for sharing my girls will love this! Blessings from you newest follower from preschool corner.

Forest Rose


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