Engaging in written communication is a necessary skill that kids will need to succeed in all areas of school and life. Reading comprehension is key to understanding what others are trying to communicate. At the same time, spelling helps ensure that the person or people you’re communicating with can comprehend what you’re trying to say and give you the confidence to convey your message successfully.
Although children learn these concepts in school, some of the best learning happens during play. When kids enjoy themselves, they can more fully engage with content and even remember and understand it much faster and more completely. Many types of games teach or boost spelling and reading comprehension for various ages and interests and in several formats.
The fun games here can help your kids develop their reading and spelling skills.
Context Clues Pirate Treasure is a reading comprehension board game for reading levels 2.0-3.5 (around 2nd-3rd grades). Players read story cards and answer comprehension questions using context clues to move around the board and be the first to reach the treasure.
Inference School Days is a reading comprehension game explicitly focusing on the skill of inference. The blue level is for reading levels 3.5-5.0 (around 3rd-5th grades). Players use inference to correctly answer questions on the story cards to earn their diplomas.
Dabble is a spelling and vocabulary board game for ages 8 and up but great for family game night. Each player gets letter tiles and tries to arrange them into five words of various lengths before the time runs out.
Play on Words is a spelling card game for ages 8 and up. It’s easy to take with you on the go or keep in your bag for travel fun. Players use letter cards to spell out words but can change, rearrange, and steal to make it more challenging.
My First Bananagrams is a spelling game for early learners ages 4 and up. It uses letter combo tiles and lowercase letter tiles to ease pre-readers and early readers into the game by making word creation easier. When your child is ready, upgrade to the original Bananagrams for ages 7 and up.
IXL is an online educational game site with memberships for the pre-k-12th grade. It has many subjects, including language arts, broken down by grade level, topics, and skill plans. It offers specific sections for reading comprehension and spelling, but also related concepts to further understanding.
PBS Kids has a website with learning games aimed at younger children. There is a section solely for reading games that work on reading comprehension, spelling, and more. The site also has parent resources for kids learning at home.
Teach Your Monster to Read offers three game levels for beginning readers up to older children who need practice. Letter and sound phonics practice have increasingly difficult combinations that reinforce spelling. As children improve, they move on to reading and comprehending sentences. The computer version is free from the Usborne Foundation.
Adventure Academy is a multi-subject learning game for ages 8-13 with games, activities, and interactive play with friends. The language arts curriculum includes comprehension, spelling practice, and more. It offers a monthly or yearly subscription.
ABCmouse is by the same group as Adventure Academy. It teaches subjects to children ages 2-8 through games, songs, books, videos, printables, and more for a monthly or yearly subscription. The language arts curriculum starts with basics and progresses in difficulty as kids learn.
Phone App Games
iTooch has educational apps designed for each grade from 1st-8th with multi-subject and language arts options. It aligns with Common Core standards and has engaging activities and games to promote learning. (price varies)
Spark Reading for Kids is an app for children in grades 2-8 to work on reading comprehension aligned with Common Core standards. Learners choose their favorite topics from fiction and non-fiction content, then take tests to assess their understanding. (free with in-app purchases)
Spellbee: Spelling Bee Games is a spelling and vocabulary app for grades 1-9 with over 70,000 words. Learners can play games and study words by grade level or topic to develop spelling skills and compete on a global leaderboard. (free with in-app purchases)
Khan Academy and Khan Academy Kids (ages 2-7) offer lessons by grade, topic, or age, including language arts with spelling and reading comprehension. These are aligned to 1st grade standards at Khan Academy Kids and grades 2-9 in the original Khan Academy. (free)
A+ Spelling Bee English Words is an app for young learners to work on spelling skills. Learners can choose difficulty and mode, then drag letters to make the word for the picture. (free with in-app purchases)
Kimberly Blaker is a freelance writer. She also owns an online store, Sage Rare & Collectible Books, specializing in out-of-print, scarce, signed, and first editions; fine bindings; ephemera and more at sagerarebooks.com.