Students practice phonics and spelling concepts they’re learning as they play online games. These interactive games provide opportunities for students to match letters to pictures of objects illustrating their sounds, identify rhymes, sort words according to vowel pattern, and spell words, for example. They provide engaging practice opportunities because the colorful screen displays, sound effects, fast-paced action, and feedback about game performance grab students’ attention, maintain their enthusiasm, and scaffold their learning (Chamberlain, 2005; Kinzer, 2005).
Teachers choose games based on concepts they’re teaching and students’ achievement levels. Teachers preview the games and bookmark those they want to use, and then students use the bookmarks to quickly access the game they’ll play at the computer center. They play the games individually or with partners. Because most young children are experienced game- players and because many games have tutorial features, teachers don’t have to spend much time introducing them, but it’s helpful to have a parent-volunteer or older student available to assist when there are problems.
Here are some suggested websites with phonics and spelling games:
Game Goo: Learning That Sticks
Visit the Game Goo website to play games to practice letter recognition, phonics, synonym, antonym, and spelling concepts. The fast-action games are divided into three levels of difficulty.
Check this mega-website with links to alphabet, phonics, and spelling games at other websites. Although hundreds of literacy- related games can be accessed through this site, Gamequarium is only a portal, so the quality of the games and computer requirements vary.
Play games and view video clips from the popular PBS series “Between the Lions,” “Sesame Street,” Reading Rainbow,” “Word World,” and “Super Why!” to learn letters of the alphabet, rhyming words, phonics, and spelling concepts.
RIF’s Reading Planet Club
Join the Reading Planet Club at the Reading Is Fundamental website to play a variety of phonics, word-study, and spelling games at the Game Station, and be sure to check out the Book Zone and Express Yourself to read about featured authors and books and learn more about writing.
Check Scholastic’s Learning Arcade to play concentration, make a word, word scrabble, and word find games featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog and other book characters. Also, visit the Homework Hub to create spelling scrambles and word searches using students’ spelling words (up to 10 words).
Try these interactive games about letters, consonant sounds, and rhyming words featuring Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, and the other familiar Sesame Street characters. These easy-to-play games engage young children without overwhelming them. All of the games are free, but advertisements pop up at some sites.
When primary-grade teachers incorporate technology, such as interactive phonics and spelling games, into their literacy program, children are enhancing their traditional reading and writing competencies as well as their new 21st-century literacy.
© ______ 2010, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.