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Literacy Activities for Non-Readers

It’s important to find quality literacy activities to use with non-readers. Typically working on phonemic awareness skills and phonics, non-readers are developing their understanding of letter names and sounds. I like to repeat activities where students are constantly practicing their knowledge of letters. These literacy activities for non-readers aren’t challenging to do, but are very meaningful!

Books To use with NOn-Readers

books to use with non-readers

Here are a few books that I like to use with non-readers. I recommend using books that focus on letters, or learning how to read. The more exposure students get to seeing and hearing letters mentioned, the more likely they are to understand letter names and sounds.

books for non-readers

It is also good to use a combination of books with real photographs, and illustrations. I have a large collection of books that focus on letters including the books pictured above, and the titles below. Some of these are Amazon affiliate links and I earn a small commission.

Books About Letters

  • Every Little Letter (my new favorite)
  • The Letters are Lost
  • ABCs of Kindness
  • Eating the Alphabet
  • LMNO Peas
  • Alphabet Mystery
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Books About Words and Reading

Letter Activities for Non-Readers

There are many letter activities for non-readers that you can do on repeat, with new letter manipulatives. Students need to recognize letters, know the letter name, and sound. 

Here are a few things you can do:

  • Match uppercase and lowercase letters.
  • Pull a letter out of a container, state the letter name and sound.
  • You state a letter name and sound, student finds that letter.
Here’s another activity you can use with non-readers as they’re learning letter names and sounds. 

Once students have done well with identifying letter names and sounds, start including objects in the rotation. Students can then identify which object begins with each letter. 

literacy activities for non-readers 2

Phonemic Awareness Activities for non-readers

literacy activities to use with non-readers

It is so important to include phonemic awareness activities for non-readers in your rotation. Students need to be able to hear the individual sounds heard in spoken words. These activities can be done with just focusing on listening, and speaking. 

You want students to be able to break words down to their individual sounds. For example: you say bag. Students then say b-a-g. 

You also want students to be able to build words by identifying each sound. For example: you say b-a-g. Students then say bag. 

Depending on the readers, I also like to add in some objects, like the pom poms pictured, to help add a physical element. You can repeat the same ideas above, but allow the reader to put down a pom pom for each sound.

Here are some more simple phonemic awareness activities!

Rhyming activities are another incredibly important aspect of phonemic awareness. Students need to be able to hear the similarities in words. Here are some specific rhyming activities that I’ve always loved doing!

If your students are doing well with these phonemic awareness activities, then you can start adding in actual letter tiles and repeating the above activities. Here are 10 Activities for CVC Words!

Reading Passages for non-readers

literacy activities for non-readers

You may be looking for reading passages for non-readers. We know that phonics and phonemic awareness are absolutely imperative to developing the skills of readers. That doesn’t mean non-readers can’t try reading! 

  1. You can use very simple decodable texts that may include one or two high frequency words, like “the” or “a”, as well as CVC words. For example a sentence may be: “The cat.” Students can use their knowledge of letter sounds to decode the word cat. 
  2. You can also try using more picture heavy texts which include simple high frequency words, and some images students recognize. Readers should still be focusing on the letters in each word, when reading these texts. You can read more about working with non-readers, using these Pre-A passages.

If these would be helpful for your readers, check out my Pre-A Reading Passages!

Aylin Claahsen

Aylin Claahsen

Providing resources and support to engage all readers.

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Hi, I'm Aylin!

I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a certified reading specialist who loves talking all things literacy. I have a huge passion for providing resources and support to engage all readers!


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