To encourage my son to read, I picked up some simple books at our local library. I like the “Rookie Reader” books published by Children’s Press. They’re around 25 pages long, have 10 words or less per page, and often use repetitive words or phrases. My son’s reading has improved and he can read these on his own, which boosts his confidence. I like the vocabulary list on the last page of the books because it makes creating a word search a snap.
This week, I used the book “What Is Up When You Are Down?” by David F. Marx to create a customized word search with the book’s vocabulary list. I’ve discovered that you don’t need expensive software to do this (YAHOO!). I use the word search maker on the A to Z Teacher Stuff® website. What I like about this site’s free tool is that I can customize:
How big I want the puzzle to be (10 letters by 10 letters).
How large I want the font to be (14 mm).
And the directions in which I want the words to be laid out (Forward words only, no diagonal words, up and down words).
Since I printed the crossword so large, I wrote the list of words at the bottom to save paper; it would have printed the list in 14-point font otherwise.
Knowing that he got to do a word search when he was done reading was just the incentive my son needed to read Marx’s book without whining. [Excuse me while I pause to pat myself on the back.] And when it was time to start searching, he didn’t even hesitate to read through the list of words to get started. This is a great activity to encourage early readers and help kids concentrate on how words are spelled, too.