Games are an ideal way to introduce preschool students to essential literacy skills. They provide fun and hands-on learning opportunities for children, capturing kids' attention and making the subject easier for them to relate to. Educational games motivate children to learn, challenge their curiosity and make them want to get involved in their educations. As such, games help to instill a greater comprehension of beginning literacy skills.

Letter Pick

This game provides preschool students with letter-sound recognition practice. On individual index cards, draw images of objects that begin with different letters--for example, grapes on one card, a zebra on another, an apple on a third. Draw an image for each letter of the alphabet that children have learned. Place the cards facedown on a table or the floor. A child flips over a card, examines the picture and states with what letter the object in the picture begins. If she correctly identifies the letter, she earns a point. The player with the most points wins the game. This game is suitable for two to four children.

Sand Writing

This game provides children with practice matching upper- and lower-case letters, as well as a tactile letter-writing experience. Cover cookie sheets with sand--one for each child. Set the cookie sheets out on a table. On a piece of paper or small dry-erase board, write a lower- or upper-case letter. Children write in the sand the upper- or lower-case match to the letter you have written on the board. The first child to write the correct match is awarded a point. The player with the most points wins the game. This game is ideal for use with groups of two to four students.

Fishing for Literacy

Preschool kids will have fun fishing for letters in this game, which is intended for two or three players. On pieces of scrap paper, write the letters of the alphabet, one letter per scrap. Write three or four of each letter. With a hole puncher, put a hole through the top of each piece of paper. Insert a paper clip through each hole. Spread the letters out on the ground, face up, so that children can clearly see them. Tie a magnet to the end of a length of yarn and tie the yarn to a yardstick--creating a fishing pole. When you say a word to students, they fish for the letter the word begins with. For example, if you say the word yellow, students fish for the letter Y. A point is awarded to each student who catches the correct letter. The player who collects the most points wins the game.

Letter Jump

This game also reinforces letter-sound recognition. On individual index cards, print the letters of the alphabet. Laminate the cards to make them sturdier. Tape the cards to the ground in a row. Provide children with a set of dice. Instruct each child to roll one die. The number he rolls indicates the number of spaces he jumps. The child must state the letter he landed on and state a word that begins with that letter. If the child correctly completes both tasks, he earns two points. If he can only identify the letter, he earns one point. The child with the most points wins the game.