50 Free Games for Teaching Literacy Online

October 10th, 2005

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Anyone striving for an education must absolutely display some degree of literacy in the language of their classes. English, in this case. It is common knowledge by this point that young children pick up language skills far easier than those of a more advanced age, and those with a predilection for the visual and interactive are not at a loss for stimulation. Parents and teachers hoping to nurture the best reading, spelling, and vocabulary in their children should explore all the different literacy games available on the internet. There are obviously far, far more than the 50 that are listed, which can be revealed through a quick search. However, the following activities provide an excellent place to start when it comes to a well-rounded educational supplement.

1. Writer’s Block : Similar to Boggle, Writer’s Block promotes a healthy vocabulary by asking users to make words out of lettered tiles.

2. Wordz : Wordz is available in 6 different languages, challenging participants to nurture their spelling skills by blending crossword puzzles with letter switches.

3. See ‘N Spell : Anyone wanting to play See ‘N Spell has 7 mini-games to choose from, emphasizing everything from vowel types to digraphs.

4. HangARoo : The classic game of hangman receives a marsupial upgrade, making this a very fun way to learn about spelling.

5. WORDO : Tiles begin to stack up, and in order to win the user has to find 3-letter (or more!) words before the piles get too high.

6. Super Why’s Storybook Creator : Nurture creativity and literacy by customizing classic stories and taking them into new, exciting territories.

7. Red’s Rhyme and Roll : This game helps kids form rhymes and understand how words operate and interact.

8. Lickety Letter Bingo : Bingo receives a literary upgrade, teaching very young children how to identify the letters of the alphabet.

9. Anagram Sleuth : Solve the mystery of a kidnapped musician by using anagrams, learning new things about spelling along the way.

10. Super Speller : Build up words based on a series of clues revolving around the different parts of speech, building both vocabulary and grammar skills.

11. Gator’s Smash ‘Em! : Pick out misspelled words in order to strengthen not only spelling skills, but vocabulary and reading as well.

12. ABCs : Targeting pre-school children, this interactive alphabet nurtures valuable reading skills very early in life.

13.Learn to Read : 1 game comprised of 15 mini-games, stories, and videos to guide very young children through the reading process.

14. It’s Fun to Read! : Like Learn to Read, It’s Fun to Read! Is comprised of several games in one, allowing users to pick what aspect of the skill they would like to focus on.

15. I’m Reading! : Get a nice reading lesson using an eclectic mix of books ranging from comics to Chinese fables.

16. Thesaurus Tangle : A lesson in synonyms come packaged into this race against the clock to unscramble a word with a similar meaning to the given one.

17. Topic Tangle : Similar to Thesaurus Tangle, Topic Tangle gives users a word and wants them to unscramble a puzzle to find one that relates to the subject at hand.

18. Same Difference : Play around with synonyms and antonyms with Same Difference, which involves quite a bit of matching to achieve the game’s ultimate goals.

19. Funbrain.com Vocabulary : Suitable for very small children, Funbrain.com’s Vocabulary game helps them build their language skills by playing with pairing words and pictures together.

20. Antonym Memory Game : Both a simple matching game and a great lesson in opposites as well, this game works best for kids with a more advanced vocabulary at their disposal.

21. Synonym Memory Game : Synonym Memory Game features the same interface and similar goals of the Antonym Memory Game, only focusing on words with identical meanings.

22. Ball Hogs! : Ball Hogs! sports a multiplayer mode, asking for participants to compete to find the word matching the clues that bounce by.

23. Analogies Jeopardy : This version of the popular television game show focuses on honing proficiency in one particular literary device.

24. Character Traits : Understanding how character traits operate and define literature is one of the cornerstones of reading comprehension.

25. Words in Context : Play a gallery-style shooting game that teaches context clues and how one word can carry multiple meanings.

26. Main Idea : Another hallmark of basic literary comprehension involves being able to zero in on the core themes of the text at hand.

27. Finding the Main Idea : This game is structured like a test, asking participants to pick from a list of possible answers before revealing whether or not they got it right.

28. Inference Battleship : Borrowing a concept from the beloved board game, Inference Battleship teaches children about the common and necessary literary device.

29. Fuzzy Lion Ears : This game combines listening comprehension skills along with reading, requiring participants to hear a word and pick out the missing letters.

30. Same Letter, Different Sound : Because many letters – such as C and all the vowels – boast multiple pronunciations, kids beginning their reading journeys should learn how to tell the difference.

31. Magnetic Chat : This online version of the popular magnetic poetry series offers a simple interface for kids to write out words and sentences of their own.

32.The ABC Game : The ABC Game asks preschool-level kids to look at a letter and pick an object whose name begins with it.

33. Clifford the Big Red Dog Sound Match Activity : Very young children enamored of the beloved literary figure will delight in learning basic phonics with the crimson canine.

34. Phonic Fighter : Phonic Fighter blends a fun story involving aliens and space travel with training in pairing letters with their corresponding sounds.

35. Picture Match : Aimed at a preschool-level crowd, Picture Match features 3 different modes of playing – each of them emphasizing one different element of phonics.

36. Make a Match : Make a Match sports an extremely simple interface that teaches children how to recognize words and pair them with their proper pronunciation.

37. Rhyming Rockets : Users are offered a target word, then asked to stop a series of moving rockets sporting ones that rhyme with it.

38. Reggie loves to rhyme! : Pick one of any number of locations and play relevant word matching games with Reggie the Rhyming Rhino.

39. Alphabetical Order : Roy the Zebra and Mo ask users to place a series of words in alphabetical order in one of the site’s 4 different games on the subject.

40. Phonics Games: Blends : Play another matching game, this time illustrating how to properly pronounce consonant blends.

41. Rooting Out Words : With a cheerful dog sidekick, kids can develop their vocabulary by learning about prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

42. The Plural Girls : Some plurals are not necessarily formed by simply adding an –s at the end of a word. Learn how to properly identify these grammatical phenomena with a pair of elegant cats.

43. Grammar Gorillas : Users receive training in all the different parts of speech by playing this fun little identification game.

44. 2Bee or Nottoobee : Two versions of this game exist, with one focusing on identifying the proper verbs in the present tense and the other sporting the same goal in the past tense.

45. Word Confusion : Another game focusing on context clues and proper word choices, this time helping a little rabbit find the right homophones to complete her salad.

46. Spell Check : Practice basic spelling skills by identifying which words on a given list are incorrect.

47. Decoding Words : Decoding Words offers up a great, comprehensive lesson on prefixes, suffixes, and how they alter the meaning of the root words.

48. Analogy Battleship : Give young children a head start on one of the SAT’s more challenging facets with this low-pressure, educational game inspired by a popular board game.

49. Who Wants to be an Analogy Word Master? : Quia provides another excellent learning opportunity when it comes to analogies, this time targeting a more advanced demographic.

50. Analogies : This fast-paced game for older children helps teach them how words compare and relate to one another for use in figurative or comparative language.

Because children absorb literacy skills better at an early age, parents and educators alike desiring to further the next generation’s reading, comprehension, vocabulary, and spelling skills may want to look into infusing free internet games into lessons. Whether at home or in the classroom, they help support formal schooling by challenging kids to think, learn, and grow without the pressure of grades and competition with peers.

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