Playing with Words
By: Reading Rockets
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Is your child already enthusiastic about rhyming games, Scrabble, anagrams, or Pig Latin? Try adding a new kind of word game to your collection: riddles!
What is gray, has four legs, big ears, a tail, and a trunk?
A mouse going on vacation!
Riddles are an excellent way for kids to learn how to really listen to the sounds of words, understand that some words have more than one meaning, and how to manipulate words. Riddles also help build a rich vocabulary and strengthen reading comprehension. And finally, riddles are familiar and fun — a good incentive for thinking about words and reading. Here's how to get started with riddles:
There are lots of wonderful riddle books (see Reading Rockets' booklist). Dive into one and just start reading some of the riddles out loud — the questions and the answers. Talk about the structure of the riddle (question/answer) and why the answers make silly sense if you understand the multiple meanings of the words. Share your thinking about the word play to help your child understand the riddle more clearly. Riddle books are especially entertaining for family trips or long drives, and can inspire original riddle-making by parents and kids alike.
ball: a round object used in games
ball: a fancy party
moose: the animal with antlers
mousse: a chocolate dessert
Word meaning and context
Why are fish so smart?
Because they swim in schools!
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Reading Rockets (2008)