Start this game with simple patterns and then progress to harder ones.
With two colors of checkers in front of you, place a few of them in a pattern. To set this up for your classroom, use whatever tools you have. You might want to draw your pattern on a dry erase board with red and black solid circles. Another idea is to use a magnet strip and cut it into small squares, one for each checker, and then place your pattern on a magnetic board. Today there are many choices for adapting this activity for small or large groups.
Then have your students make a matching pattern to yours with their group of checkers. Continue the activity with harder and harder patterns.
While pattern awareness is a valuable skill, this particular game fosters the left-to-right reading progression.
“In order to learn to read you have to be able to cross the midline of your body with your eyes.”
You can’t get much more emergent than this! First you go through the pattern with checkers. Next you go through it with letters and words… and before long reading is well underway. Makes sense to me!