Smart Skills You Need to Take You Far
“Perseverance!” That’s the rally call chosen by the class of adult learners I work with as a literacy tutor. Learning to read isn’t an easy skill to master, and it takes time and practice. But sometimes practicing the skills needed for reading can be fun! Many websites provide free online games that make learning more fun.
When I began volunteering with the organization literacykc.org to help adults learn to read, I discovered something astonishing. I may have learned to read a long time ago, but I didn’t realize how little I knew about the process of mastering this skill! I wanted to be a super good tutor, so I began to look for information on the Internet to learn more about how to learn to read.
There are many tools and sources of information for learning to read that are available online, but it takes a lot of time to find the best resources. If you are looking for great resources organized logically in one place, check out the Phonics Kit for learning reading. This leads to separate posts on literacy skills with more links to free online games, printable games, and videos. Save tons of time with everything you need to learn how to read organized and easily accessible in one place: get 16 games, 24 worksheets, 11 word sorts and more in the Phonics Toolkit.
In becoming a literacy tutor, I learned about the importance of phonics: understanding the relationship between letters and sounds. There are 44 sounds in the English language. With a few exceptions, the consonants make one sound. Vowels can make different sounds, and there are some clues to tell if the vowel is long or short. Finally, there are some other sounds made by different combinations and conditions. The games in this post are targeted to practice the skills needed to understand the sounds of the English language.
3 Clues of a SHORT vowel:
- CVC (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant) Words, which have closed syllables.
- Closed syllables.
- A vowel that comes before double consonants, like apple, letter, dinner, off, summer.
3 Clues of a LONG vowel:
- Silent e.
- Open syllables.
- Vowel teams – some make a sound like a long vowel.
Please note that many of the games require Flash and may not work well on some tablets and smartphones. It can be helpful to download Mozilla Firefox. Some more mobile friendly games are collected at this Symbaloo.
|ABCs/Letters-uppercase & lowercase||Shoot Out game at funfonix|
|Letter Sounds||Letter sounds at Turtle Diary (pc only), initial sounds at funfonix, Mr. Nussbaum Letters|
|Short & Long vowel sounds||
Long or Short at softschools. Short, Long or Other at learninggamesforkids.com. Cloudy Day, Vowel Popper and Vowel Ace at roomrecess.com (choose short vowels) Vowel Sort & Short Vowel Sort games at education.com (with sign-in). Coconut Vowels at abcya (free on pc only), color short & long vowels at turtlediary.com (free on pc only)
|Syllables: Open & Closed||syllable games at learninggamesforkids.com. Silly Bulls at vocabularyspellingcity.com. Syllable Skycoaster at gotkidsgames.com. Syllable Slurp from Room Recess. Syllable Split at fun4thebrain. syllable football at eslphonicsworld.com|
Double consonants at roythezebra.com
|CVC words (Consonant-Vowel-Consonant)|
|Vowel teams that make a long vowel sound|
|Consonants w/more than 1 sound: hard & soft c & g, s|
|Consonant Digraphs||Digraphs at softschools.com Forest Phonics also has some digraphs.|
|Diphthongs that make new sounds||other vowels at galacticphonics.com|
Online Quiz: purposegames
All the websites in this post in alphabetical order:
abcya.com – a teacher-created website that provides fun and educational games for kids. Pre-K through 5th grade, and includes games for learning letters (also numbers and more) It is free for use on pcs (ads) and can be obtained for mobile or tablet use with a subscription.
arcademics.com – arcademic skill builders are free online educational video games that offer a powerful approach to learning basic math, language arts, vocabulary and thinking skills. These are highly engaging and some are multi-player. Apps are available for both Android and iOS.
www.education.com – has many resources on a variety of topics. To access worksheets and more resources there is a subscription fee, but there are many games available for free (with a sign-in) for learning reading skills. Alphabet, Syllable Counting, Short vowel sort, Long/Short sort, Blends, and Silent E
Funfonix.com – free online games (and worksheets) for phonics.
Ictgames.com – free online games for phonics
Kizphonics – an online phonics program which provides a few games on each level free, access beyond that requires a membership.
Learn English Kids -from the British Council
Learninggamesforkids.com – free online learning games
pbskids.org – a website from the Public Broadcasting System which is aimed at preschool kids.
phonics bloom – many games that work on pc and mobile devices, some free and more with subscription
readwithphonics.com – free for schools, libraries, & educational organizations with 10 or more students. Parents can pay for access, and there is an app available.
RoomRecess.com has lots of reading games. Many are available for both pc & mobile.
roythezebra.com – some content free, more with registration
Skillswise – provided by the British Broadcasting Corporation, this website includes a section of English Games. There is lots more about reading, writing, and math for higher levels.
softschools.com – provides many resources for free, including Phonics plus other resources. A premium subscription is available that removes ads and lets teachers set up student account to track progress.
yourchildlearns.com – some free online games for reading.
Glossary of Literacy Terms
- Digraph-a pair of letters representing a single speech sound (consonant digraphs, and vowel digraphs or vowel teams)
- diphthong-two vowels combine to make one sound with mouth positions that change.
- grapheme–the written representation of a phoneme
- phoneme-the individual sounds that make up a word
- phonics–the relationship between letters and sounds
- schwa–a lightly pronounced “uh” vowel sound that can be represented by any vowel
- syllable–a unit of speech generally containing only one vowel sound
Too many people struggle with learning to read. Low literacy levels often mean limited options for employment, according to “A First Look at the Literacy of America’s Adults in the 21st Century ” at the National Center for Education Statistics. Help to make a difference by sharing these resources with anyone who wants to learn how to read.
Which games do you like the best? I’d love to hear your vote for a favorite game, or if you know of some others that would be great to add. Also I appreciate knowing if any of the links change. Just leave a comment at the Daily PlanIt Facebook page.
The Free eBook “Phonics FUNdamentals plus online games to practice reading skills” is available at the Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes a free chapter of “Learn How to Read the Wordplay Discovery Way” on understanding phonics, plus access to many free online games and other resources. Download it to your computer, smartphone, and/or tablet for easy access wherever there is an Internet connection available.
Printable Games for sale at my Super Tutor Tools store at Teachers Pay Teachers, plus some free resources.
Find still more resources at my:
Pinterest Board on Reading
Youtube Playlist on Reading