Frugal Ways to Teach Your Children Literacy

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Number one is such an awesome freebie! Can't wait to implement these five frugal ways to teach literacy.

Literacy–and education in general–is very important in our house. We’ve been reading books to our kids since before they could sit up. We’ve been encouraging them to practice writing their letters since before preschool.

And it’s paid off. My kids can now either read or sound out words, depending on the child and their age. It’s an amazing thing to watch. One moment you have this tiny little baby who can’t do anything for themselves, and a few short years later they have the skills they need to consume any bit of knowledge they seek after. I’m simultaneously proud and awestruck.

Along the way, we’ve used some tools that have been super helpful. They just happen to be pretty darn frugal, too.

ABCmouse has been one of our favorites since toddlerhood. It’s a curriculum disguised as a computer game, built by educators. The kiddos actually beg me to play it.

Not only has it been a huge help in teaching them how to read, but it’s also been great for teaching them computer literacy. A year-long subscription is affordable as far as I’m concerned, but you can check and see if it’s a good match for your kids by trying it for free for 30 days.

Super Why

Super Why: Puppy PowerTrue story: sometimes our kids watch TV. We noticed that after they started watching Super Why their interest in reading in general skyrocketed. It’s not like they weren’t interested at all before, but they started working harder at things like writing their letters and learning what the heck a “rhyming word” was.

We did this for $0 through Netflix, but the program will likely get rotated out eventually. You can also find episodes at Barnes & Noble.

Alphabet Magnets

Uppercase and Lowercase Magnetic LettersBefore they could write, we would practice “writing” their names on the fridge with their alphabet magnets. As they got older, we started using them to sound out words. Today, we’re using them to sort out when to use a capital and when to use the lowercase.

We got ours for free at the library, but you can find an affordable set via Discount School Supply.

Magnetic Doodle Board

The Doodle Pro SlimOur magnetic doodle board was the number one thing that encouraged our kids to work on their fine motor skills–which enabled them to write letters. While we’re definitely going to work on writing more legibly with lined paper, this device is what sparked interest at all.

Our first was a hand-me-down, and the second was a birthday gift. You easily find one for under $25, though, if you’re buying new.

The Library

Frugal tools to teach your kids literacy

The library, of course, has been our number one tool to teach our kids literacy. Every time they go, they have the freedom to pick out a book that meets their current interests. When they were younger, we did weekly story time. Every year, we participate in the summer reading program. As a reward, the library gives them a book to take home for keeps.

The best part of the library? It’s absolutely free, and odds are, there’s one near you.

4 thoughts on “Frugal Ways to Teach Your Children Literacy

  1. Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    Great list of resources! We’re headed to the library on Saturday to pick up some new reading material for the kids. I love how much they love to read.

    One thing I would add is that there are a lot of free “printables” online. We have a set of sight word printouts that have been really great for teaching the kids how to read and write their letters. Goofball used them and now Tornado is using them. We put them inside a plastic display sheet and give the kids a dry-erase marker, so they can be wiped clean.

    1. femmefrugality Post author

      Awesome tip! We’ve started using those, too, but I hadn’t thought of the plastic display sheet!!!

  2. Emily @ JohnJaneDoe

    I can’t say enough about refrigerator letter magnets. They helped a lot with sight words and rhyming words when Little Bit was smaller. Now we just use them to write funny messages on our fridge, but they’re entertaining for quite a while.

    Other things that were useful and not very expensive were letter blocks and a dry erase board. And the local library book sales were a great source for stocking up our permanent library of kids books cheaply.


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