10 Sample Reading Games

By Brent R. Evans, Copyright 1999 - 2002   http://www.learningsuccess.com


Games can be powerful tools that significantly boost personal development, learning achievement, and school success if:

1. The games are specially designed to develop important abilities or teach specific skills or concepts.  When a collection of games is organized to cover a complete subject, then the games become a tremendous support system that practically assures success.  This is particularly true when a quick test and recording system provides the tracking of each playerís progress and continually pinpoints his or her best current learning opportunities.  It also makes sure no important reading skills are missed. What advantage can this be for your child? Well, consider that even a 5% increase in learning rate during a childís school career can result in a three-year advantage due to the power of compounding! Truly, even small differences can result in greatly increased success opportunities!

2. The games are designed to put into instant action powerful teaching methods and particular learning principles, conditions, and strategies that would best teach or develop each specific skill or concept.  This means parents do not have to be professional teachers or learning experts to provide the best learning conditions for their children.  Even professional teachers at school can extend their impact to additional individuals and small groups within the classroom without one-to-one assistance and still be assured each learning activity is appropriate, effective, and targeted to specific learning objectives.   An added advantage is that players become increasingly aware of the power of learning strategies and start making it a habit to apply these same principles in other learning situations. 

3. The games are fun!  This means players will want to spend many extra hours developing the skills the games are targeted to achieve.  Time spent playing the games will not be experienced as work or study!

4. The games are instantly available and require no hard-to-store pieces.  The best games are game ideas that use items that are usually around anyway, like paper, pencils, dice, cards, etc.  This means players have instant access to all of the games and do not need to learn complex instructions.

5. The games are economical and you do not need to continually buy new ones as your child progresses from grade to grade.  For example, in the Learning Success Reading Games for School Success book, there are over 350 games covering the most important reading skills from Pre-school through the Eighth grade.  It is a complete support system for each child through all of those years!




Alphabet Slap - Make a set of alphabet cards or buy a set at the store.  Shuffle the cards and then call out a letter.  Start placing the cards face up on the table.  First player to slap the right card when it comes up wins it.  Name another letter and continue until all cards are played.  Player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.  If playing the game with one player, place the cards down at an even rate.  If the player does not slap the right card before the next card is placed down, the card belongs to the dealer.  The game could also be played with words that have particular phonic or letter patterns.

Letter Scavenger Hunt - Each player or group is given a set of letters or phonetic elements (e.g. ph, oa, nt,).  Players try to locate examples of these in their surroundings, such as on signs if you are traveling or in newspapers, books, or on television.


Word Attack


Step to Prizes - A prize is set a certain distance from the player. The player may take as big steps as he can to reach the prize, but for each step he takes he must say a new word having the chosen sound in it.  No word, no step. Example: The sound is m and the player takes a step when he says moon. He takes another step when he says man.  When he reaches the prize, he gets it.

Sound Duel - A champion is selected to start the game. Another player then challenges the champion to a duel. The leader could determine the sound or letter pattern to be used in the duel, or the challenger could get his choice.  The challenger first says a word with the sound in it. Leader writes it under the challengerís name or challenger could write it himself. The champion must defend by saying another word with that same sound. The same sound is used throughout the duel. Play continues back and forth until one of the duelists is unable to think of a new word (by a slow count to 5) or makes a mistake by saying a word that in fact does not contain the right sound.  This, of course, is fatal and the other duelist wins. When the game is over, the leader reviews the sounds, the words written, and possibly some additional words that could have been used.  A parent could play the game with a child by having the child win if he can reach a certain total of words in the duel.




Draw to Remember - Each day, select 3 to 6 words a player does not clearly understand the meaning of or canít read by sight.  Using blank index cards, write each word in the top left corner along with a short definition.  Discuss the words and then have the player draw a picture on each of the cards that illustrates the meaning of the word written at the top.  The picture can be silly. What is important is that the player uses his creative imagination to come up with it.  Visual associative memory is a powerful force to make something part of our permanent memory.  Print each cardís word on the other side. The cards can then be used periodically to check a playerís continued mastery.  The cards could also be used to play in games or challenges, such as getting five cards in a row correct.  The cards with the pictures showing could be placed on the refrigerator for everyone to admire and enjoy.

Definition Pickup - Write new vocabulary words on cards. Discuss their definitions, and then place them face down in rows on a table. Players take turns picking up a card. If the player can give the correct definition for the word, and then use the word in a sentence, he keeps the card and can take another turn. Whenever he makes a mistake, the correct definition is discussed and the card is placed in a used pile. That playerís turn ends and the next player has a turn. When all remaining cards have been won, the used pile is shuffled and placed in rows on the table and the game continues until those, too, have been taken.  Player with the most cards at the end of the game wins.




Three to Five Sentences - Have each player read a story or watch a television program and then try to write or tell what the story was about in three to five sentences.  This means the player must be able to identify the plot of the story rather than just tell loosely connected details.  Teach players that the plot or problem is the key part of any story. Once the plot or problem is clearly established, summarizing is easy.

Cartoon Strips - After a player has read a story or watched a television program, have him draw a cartoon strip illustrating it.  Doing so will help the player learn about cause and effect and how one event leads to another.




Words Per Minute - How many words can you read per minute? Hereís how to find out. Read for 10 minutes, and then divide the number of words read by 10. This gives you your average words per minute reading rate. Try different types of reading, such as fiction, history, poetry, science, the newspaper. Does your reading speed change according to the type of reading? It should, but many people try to read the same way regardless of what they are reading or their purpose in reading it. You will read more effectively if you take into consideration what you are reading and why you are reading it. Some ways to increase reading speed include using your fingers to direct your eyes smoothly across a page, reading more than one word at a time, and reducing the amount of mouthing the words or hearing yourself as you read. Here are some possible speed standards for relatively light reading at different grade levels.

Grade 2 (100-140); Grade 3 (120-160); Grade 4 (140-180); Grade 5 (160-180); Grade 6 (180-220); Grade 7 (190-230); Grade 8 (200-240).

Fast Action - Two players or teams. Leader writes directions for doing certain things on cards which players may not see before the game starts.  This could include such things as rubbing your tummy with your right hand while patting your head with your left hand, shutting the door, picking up three objects and placing them on the couch, Ö  The cards are shuffled and an equal number given to each player or team.  First to complete their actions wins.  One player could play the game by being timed and trying to beat his best previous time.


An Added Suggestion


Make it a Family Tradition to Share What You Read - Make it a habit in your family to share what you read.  Parents should share with their children the books or articles they are reading and children should do the same with their parents and siblings. Good times for this include mealtimes, special family sharing time held each week, or right after regular reading time set aside each evening.


For more than 340 more games and activities to develop reading skills,

order Reading Games for School Success.


You will then have the tools you need to significantly increase your childís reading achievement.  You will have:

(1)     A clear explanation of the sequence of reading skills important for your child to learn from pre-school through junior high.

(2)     Simple tests to quickly evaluate what skills your child has learned and what he or she needs to learn next.

(3)     Fun games the whole family can enjoy to teach each reading skill and designed to put powerful learning principles and strategies to work for your child.

The cost is only $24.95.    Click Here to Order Now

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