Super Fun Reading Games

Each super fun reading game discussed below can have even the hesitant participant begging for more! For the first 11 games, you need mainly FLASHCARDS. By this I mean, you can use index cards whole or cut in half, or you can cut regular paper into 4 to 8 pieces. If possible, my preference is index cards.

Before I describe the different super fun reading games, I would like to emphasize up front that these games are flexible and adaptable. You will decide exactly how many cards your child can work well with at one time. Six new words at once may be too many for one child, but very appropriate for another. You decide. Try to find that sweet spot with a little challenge but not too much…

Super Fun Reading Game #1 Little Flea

This game is charming and easy. Sentences on the cards is optional, but I recommend that each card have a WORD or forms of words on one side, and on the flip side…a whole sentence. Place all cards with the WORD sides up. Tear off a tiny smidgen of a piece of paper, preferably black, or draw a black dot on the tiny paper piece. That is the FLEA.

While you, teacher, hide your eyes, have the child hid the flea under one of the cards. When he or she is done, you turn around. One at a time, until you sucessfully discover the flea, you touch a card and say, “Little flea, little flea, where could you be? Are you under ________ ?” (and say the WORD) Then you turn the card over and read the sentence, pointing to each word as you go.

Then take turns and let the hider be the finder and the reader, and the previous finder be the hider. Keep taking turns.

Super Fun Reading Game #2 Give-Me

Often I would use the Give-me game after Little Flea. Usually I would let the child decide if he or she wanted to be the Asker or the Giver. For this fun reading game, again with the cards spread out, WORD sides up, the Asker simply says, “Please give me __________ (the word).” The Giver locates the word card, picks it up and gives it to the Asker. The Asker should politely say, “Thank you,” each time.

Kids seem to get a kick out of the power that this gives them. An adult or a friend is saying PLEASE and THANK YOU, and they (the Giver) is complying and being successful. That is no small part of the fun! Kids like to be successful. Of course you help as needed!

Super Fun Reading Game #3 Hide and Find

Take turns hiding the WORD cards around the room or even outside in the yard or on the patio if you wish. The finder has to find the cards and read the front and back. Again, take turns! Kids can hide their card stacks for each other, and have the cards color coded even for this super fun reading game. Blue dot cards for Johnnie and Red dot cards for Sue.

Super Fun Reading Game #4 Travel

For the Travel game, one version is to send the kids on a journey to read the front and back of their cards to different people, in their household, perhaps at church, or to family members houses.

The other version of Travel is competitive and I would recommend infrequently, though it certainly can generate interest and the winners delight… To be done in a group, the “traveler” would stand beside a rival and when the teacher flashes the WORD card, the first child to read the card, then is the winner and “travels” to the next rival, and so the game goes. You can see why this would best be used infrequently. It can be quickly discouraging to the slower reader, but is entirely possible that he/she be inspired to study more and will next time be the winner!

Super Fun Reading Game #5 Hopscotch

Using sidewalk chalk outside, or permanent marker on an old shower curtain or plastic table cloth, draw a hopscotch. Set the WORD cards out in the squares, and have the students read the words as they hop over them!

Whack-it Shower Curtain in the background.

Super Fun Reading Game #6 Whack-it

Using cards spread out on the table, or words written on a chalkboard, sidewalk, etc., a Caller calls out a word and the child WHACKS the word with a fly-swatter or cardboard paddle as soon as he/she identifies the word. This can be a contest of race if more than one person is the WHACKER at a time.

Super Fun Reading Game #7 Spin-the-Bottle

Arrange the WORD cards in a circle. Spin a bottle in the middle. The WORD card that the bottle seems closest to pointing to when it stops spinning is the WORD that the child reads. This can be done with the friend or adult cheering the Spinner and Reader along, or the child may enjoy taking turns and seeing the adult participate as well. This is a good thing because it is an opportunity to model reading and share enthusiasm for WORDS.

#8 Paper Plate Spinner

Write the words around a paper plate near the outside edge. In the center, use a pencil or pen as an axis upon which to spin a paperclip. Where it lands pointing is the word that is read. Repeat. Repeat.

Super Fun Reading Game #9 Concentration

For this game you will need two or three of the same cards. Writing on only one side. Spread the cards out randomly in columns and rows. Take turns lifting and reading one card at a time, and putting it back, two turns in a row. Then next person’s turn to lift and read one card at a time and then put it back, to two cards.

Pay attention, and concentrate. The goal is to lift and read two the same cards (matching cards). When matching cards are lifted and read per turn, then the pair is kept but the reader. The person with the most matching pairs in the end is the winner!

Yes, I believe in letting the kids win sometimes!

#10 Go Fish

Played out like the classic “Go Fish” kids’ card game, I like to make three of each WORD (or phonics chunk). This can be played with many cards at once, and I have played with as many as 5 kids at once. I make special card holders, because a struggle to hold the cards should not be the focus.

Mix up the cards so that they are not stacked in order. Deal out the deck so that each player has 6. Take turns asking someone for a card that you already have and want a match to. If some one asks for a card that you have, whether you have one of that kind or two, ALL of that kind must be given when asked for. If you do not have what was asked for then you say, “Go fish!” and the asker has to draw a card from the fish card pile.

When someone runs out of cards, the person with the most matches is the winner. I liked to use this game to review the phonics chunks regularly with the kids and they NEVER got tired of this game.

Super Fun Reading Game # 11 Scavenger Hunt

Give the kids a list of words to look for. Explain the boundaries of the game. They go hunt for the WORDs and check them off when they find them. If you are not watching this game, you may ask for a report of where, for example, write L next to the word on the list if you found the word in the living room, write P next to the word if you found it on the porch, etc..

#12 Sorting

Do the words go in categories? If categories are obvious, make category titles and have the child sort the words by placing the cards per categories or by re-writing the words per category. Kids feel a sense of accomplishment with this game, and may enjoy working on it with a friend or sibling.

Categories may include grammatical terms such as verbs, adjectives, nouns… or maybe words with different spellings/sounds, like COW /ow/ spelled “ow” or mouse /ou/ spelled “ou.”

Language Experience

Another activity that kids often enjoy is called “language experience.” It is the use of language specifically for them. Sentences telling about them, their experiences, their stories, their words, written down for them to practice reading with, is “language experience,” in action. Here is a post about me doing just this, with my granddaughter >> language experience about a kitty cat.

Subscribe to e-mail delivery of Smartsy Reading Teacher and you will not miss a thing, plus you will be eligible to join the Smartsy Reading Teacher Resource Library closed facebook group and have access to like minded parents, teachers, and be able to see more how-to videos and access more resources exclusively for members.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s