Do you remember decoding secret messages that were on the backs of cereal boxes as a kid and the secret decoder ring inside (or am I just dating myself?) You know, where a symbol represents a letter, or the letters are represented by numbers or some such thing?

A few weeks ago I made a secret decoder chart for 6 year old Cutie Pie and gave him a few pages of two to three words, with simple images placed above empty lines. Phrases like ‘I love you’, ‘You are smart’ ‘Dinosaurs are cool.’ (Yes, my Dino-lover recognizes that word!)

When I first gave him this activity I sat down with him and we decoded the secret message together. I thought aloud as I did it with him, saying things like ‘Let’s look at the picture above the first line and find it on our chart. Now, let’s write the letter on the line. OK, now on to the next line…’ I was intentional with sharing the thought process I used making sure it was clear how to discover the message. When all the spaces were filled in we read it together. He loved it!

Cutie Pie loved this so much that after a few tries he didn’t need my help or reminders of what to do. He came back a few days later asking if I had made any more! I actually haven’t done this with him for a week or so, but plan to. I think this time I will make messages that are clues leading him to something!

This is a great sneaky learning word game to get Cutie Pie writing. What fun ways have you encouraged your kiddos writing?