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Using Games to Help Kids Learn to Read

By: Angelique Caffrey - Updated: 3 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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Tell a child, “We’re going to learn to read today,” and he or she might balk at the prospect. After all, kids rarely clamour to engage in something that sounds like it could be difficult.

But tell the same youngster, “We’re going to play a game,” and his or her face will light up like it’s a spring morning.

This is the reason that many savvy parents and educators use games to help kids Learn to Read.

The games you choose to employ can fit under a number of categories. To help you pick out the best one(s) for your son, daughter or student(s), we’ve organised them for you here:

Board-Based Reading Games

There are numerous board games available on the market to help children learn their letters and sounds. These may come in the form of traditional “boards, puzzles, cards, playing mats or even multimedia packages. Typically, these games can be found in toy stores, in kids’ learning stores and via the Internet… in fact, you may have played them when you were a young person and never realised they were educational!

Age Recommendation: Board games are fun for children who can concentrate on a task for longer than 10 minutes; toddlers may not have the patience (or desire) to play games of this nature (with the exception of puzzles).

Online Reading Games

The World Wide Web has a wealth of interactive Online Games that have been created in an effort to get kids reading and writing. Best of all, a good number of them are offered at no cost. Often, games of this nature include music and sounds to promote repetition and memory.

Age Recommendation: Online games are best for kids who are school-aged, as they have less difficulty handling a mouse. (Warning: Parents, caregivers and instructors should never leave children alone with access to the Internet. Therefore, supervision is necessary.)

Performance-Based Games *

Some Reading Games may be performance-based and may therefore be theatrical, artistic or musical in nature. Typically, these types of games involve a good deal of direction from an adult, as a key element of their success involves a proactive and knowledgeable director. Games can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour depending on their complexity and end result.

Age Recommendation: This type of reading game works for almost any age group.

*Some performance-based games are also board games.

Video Reading Games

Though many parents and instructors shy away from video games because of the inherent negativity surrounding them, there are some video games on the market that are meant to be educational in nature and not simply entertaining. Among those are games that help children learn to read; not surprisingly, these are especially popular with very young boys and girls.

Age Recommendation: The child best suited for a video reading game is probably going to be at preschool or early elementary school age student. Older children sometimes scoff at the notion of a “learning video game,” though a few might like more challenging ones.

Homemade Reading Games

Finally, there’s no reason not to make up your OWN reading game! Not only is doing so frugal, it’s also a great deal of fun. All you have to do is use your imagination and – voila! – you have a reading game! (If you’re stumped for ideas, check out the suggestions right here at this website.)

Age Recommendation: Because you’re custom-creating this type of reading game, it can be appropriate for any age or ability.

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