I haven’t met a kid who doesn’t like to play, so it makes sense to use games as learning tools in the classroom. That’s what I did back in those years when I wanted my first graders to learn and polish their reading skills; I introduced some fun and interactive reading games that helped motivate them to become better readers. These games can be used along with online reading games for a balanced reading experience. Feel free to check them out!
Guess the Word
Skills taught – Word recognition and sequencing
How to Play
- Identify a “secret” word from a random chapter or story.
- Write that word on a piece of paper.
- Give your students a hint of the word’s location in the book; for instance, you can say “The word is on page 79.”
- Let the students take turns asking you yes-no questions to help them arrive at the correct answer. For instance they might ask “Is the word on the top half or the bottom half of the page?” Or, “Does it come before the word “careless”?
- The student who zeroes in on the correct word wins the round.
- Continue playing the game for as many rounds as you want to. Once the students have mastered the rules, they can play the game in small groups.
The Reading Wagon
A reading wagon is a good investment for your classroom. Acquire a wagon or use any pull vehicle and invite your students to decorate it. Then encourage them to fill it up with their favorite books. Even better, have everyone collect books that fit into a theme they are studying in class and place them all in the wagon. When it’s time to do independent reading, choose a student to pull the wagon around and deliver books to her fellow readers. Each time the wagon stops, students can choose a book and read it. The wagon can go around again when reading time is over and collect all the books.
Skills – Spelling and vocabulary
How to Play
- This variation on the classic Spelling Bee is loads of fun to play in the classroom. First, invite the students to form a circle.
- Give them a word to spell. The first student says the first letter, the second student says the second letter and the round continues until the word has been spelled.
- A student who provides the wrong letter must sit down.
- When the word is completed, the next student says “Done!” and the student next to him must sit down.
- The game continues until only one student is left standing.
Elementary students would hopefully enjoy playing these games and become better readers as a result. What do you think?