4 Ways Kids Learn to Read

It is safe to say we all want our children to learn how to read and to learn how to do it well. However, the actual act of learning how to read is sometimes not fully understood. How does reading happen? Check out ways that foster a child’s passion and ability to read.

1. Phonics

Once your child knows the alphabet and knows the sound each letter makes you are good to go on this one. It’s all about sounding it out! Kids are taught to sound out letters as a way of figuring out unfamiliar words. Phonics involves letter combinations with various sounds. Talk to your child about word families, allowing them to make connections between words with similar letter combinations. For example, when learning about the “at” family, kids can learn how to read words like cat, mat, hat, rat, fat, sat and understand that they are connected with the same sound. Sound out words with your child, letting your child see how the word is composed of sounds they already know.

2. Sight Words

When reading we instantly recognize certain words. These are known as sight words. Sight words include some of the most common words kids are likely to encounter. While sight words include words such as “to,” “and,” “the,” “I” and “it,” they can also include common verbs, the words of colors, and objects. Kids are exposed to these words over and over again in various contexts. Pre-schools often label their furniture to help build a sight word vocabulary at a young age. Try labeling your kitchen chairs with the word “chair.” Label a white door with the word “white.” This is the idea behind flashcards. For example, to learn the sight word “give,” children may see a flashcard containing the word and a picture of two people exchanging presents.

3. Writing

Writing helps children make connections between letters and words. It also builds their spelling skills. (Kids who know how to spell a word while writing are more likely to recognize that word while reading). Include writing in fun activities for your child. A fun activity is to try writing with shaving cream or with chalk on the sidewalk.

Writing can also help kids build their reading comprehension skills. When children write their own short stories, they develop an understanding of the traditional story format and have an easier time finding the beginning, middle and end in the stories they read. When they write a response to something they have read, kids are forced to stop and consider what the piece was about and develop a reaction to it, even if it is as simple as “I really enjoyed the story because it had a princess as the main character and I love princesses.”

4. Read often

Practice makes perfect. The more opportunities a child has to read, the better readers they will ultimately become. However, kids do not become better readers by simply reading the same book or same type of book over and over again. Kids must be exposed to multiple types of reading material. Non-fiction books, newspaper captions, cereal boxes, signs, billboards, pamphlets and other types of texts are all reading aides! Point out words you see when taking a road trip. Ask your child to tell you what two words they notice around them at any given moment. As with anything else, make a game out of it!

When helping your child learn to read keep in mind how every brain makes connections differently. If it isn’t in your child’s nature to curl up with a good Thomas the Train book, don’t sweat it! Try an online word game or a puzzle in which you have to put together a word. Utilize technology, sports and anything else your child is interested in to guide their learning. Thankfully there is always a way to turn their interests into teaching opportunities. The brain is wired to learn, so it’s all about finding ways that appeal to the brain’s learning style.

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Reading Tips for 3rd Graders

If your 3rd grader struggles with reading, it’s time to do something about it. Research shows that not being able to read well by the end of 3rd grade may lead to students not graduating or even dropping out of school altogether. Help your 3rd grader experience reading success with these simple reading tips.

1. Break it Down

One thing that keeps kids from comprehending what they read is the inability to understand how different words and word parts interact with one another. Break down the parts of speech to improve your child’s comprehension skills. Play a game such as Word Invasion to practice recognizing different parts of speech and learn the roles they play. Watch word videos about parts of speech or prefixes and suffixes to build more word skills.

2. Build Vocabulary

The larger vocabulary a child has, the easier reading becomes. Build that vocabulary through games, worksheets and other interactive activities. Use a game like Word Frog to learn about synonyms and antonyms or tackle tricky homonyms. Introduce your child to specialized vocabulary, such as ocean animals or dinosaurs. Then put that specialized vocabulary to use by reading a book related to the subject. Focus on vocabulary that relates to your child’s individual interests.


3. Make It Fun

A child who struggles with reading will not be receptive to much that involves reading. Incorporate word games, videos and fun worksheets as a way of “tricking” the child into practicing reading skills. You can use games as a reward as well.  If a child enjoys a particular educational game, use it as incentive to read.  For example, “if you read with me for 15 minutes, you can play your game for 15 minutes.” Not only will your child build reading skills during that reading time, he will unconsciously develop reading skills as he plays the promised game.

4. Use a Variety of Books and Tools

Instead of having your child play the same game or watch the same video over and over again, introduce your child to multiple games, videos and worksheets to build reading skills. The more tools your child has, the more skills he will develop and the less likely it will be that he will get bored with practicing those skills.

Introduce different books for the same reason. Each book contains a different voice, a different set of unique vocabulary words and different information to comprehend. Look for books of different lengths, on different subjects and at different levels. Your child’s problem with reading may be that he is not reading books that interest him or is attempting to tackle books that are too difficult. As your child builds his reading skills, he will also learn what books appeal to him.

5. Read with Your Child

While games, videos and worksheets will help build those critical reading skills, none of that matters if your child does not read. The more a child reads, the more his skills will improve. To ensure your child is actually reading, read along with him.  Take turns reading passages in a short book.  Ask questions as you read such as, “what’s happening in this section?” or “what did you think about what just happened?”  This will help you identify areas where your child struggles and give you the opportunity to spend quality time helping your child build his reading skills.

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10 iPad Apps to Learn Spelling

10 iPad Apps to Learn Spelling

Teaching kids to spell takes a lot of work. Word games for kids with a focus on spelling do the work for you by providing kids with interactive games and multiple strategies for practicing spelling new words. With these 10 iPad apps to learn spelling, your children will improve their spelling skills and have fun too, making learning to spell seem less like work.

Amazing First Words

Amazing First Words by Joy Preschool Games is designed to teach sight words and spelling to early readers. This iPad and iPhone app features 264 words grouped into categories such as animals, festivals, geography and astronomy.  To play, children see a picture and an outline of the word. They drag and drop letter bubbles to correctly spell the word.

Build a Word

If your preschooler has ever seen the show WordWorld on PBS, he will enjoy Build a Word. Using the same concept as the show, children catch falling letters and drag them onto the outline of letters to form a word.  Once the word has been formed, it turns into a word picture.

Freefall Spelling

Freefall Spelling by Merge Mobile features multiple games, from word games appropriate for beginning spellers to 5th grade word games.  Children unscramble letters to form words, type the correct letters on a special keyboard and drag and drop letters onto a word outline. As they complete activities, they earn fish for their fish tank.

Intro to Letters

Intro to Letters by Montessorium is designed for the youngest spellers.  This word game teaches children to recognize letters by dragging their fingers along letter outlines.  In order to learn how to spell, children must be comfortable with all of their letters. This app is a great place to start teaching spelling without overwhelming your child.

iTouchiLearn Words

iTouchiLearn Words helps children as young as toddlers associate the spelling of words with pictures and animations related to those words. Children may simply view words or play games that have them drag and drop letters to correctly spell words.

My Spelling Test

A spelling game designed for elementary school students and older, My Spelling Test allows children to practice their spelling lists for school.  Simply input the spelling list and then practice spelling. Children receive instant feedback and you receive reports detailing your child’s progress.


SpellBoard allows you to input a spelling list and then generates spelling quizzes, word searches and word scrambles based on that list. Different levels of activities are provided to make this app appeal to children from first grade through 12th grade.

Spell Well

Spell Well by Sparkling Apps teaches children to spell by helping Frog Wordy fill his garden.  As children correctly spell words, flowers and other surprises grow in the garden and encourage children to spell more words.  All words are shown, spoken and used in a sentence.

Spelling Bug

Designed to help younger kids learn how to spell basic words, Spelling Bugs combines three strategies for teaching spelling into one game. First, children see a picture of the word.  Then, they hear the word.  Finally, they see the word and must drag and drop letters into the correct places.

Word Wizard

Word Wizard by L’Escapadou introduces children to spelling through animated, talking letters. Children can drag letters to form words and sentences. The text-to-speech feature reads what children have written.  Spelling lists are provided to help children learn to spell specific words or you may add your own words to use along with the apps spelling quizzes.

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15 Homeschool Websites for Kids & Parents

Hey homeschooling moms and dads!  We have created a list of the top 15 online homeschooling sites. These helpful resources are the cream of the homeschooling crop. We think you’ll agree!

1. Prongo – Jeff has created a comprehensive site for kids, which features free games, kid-safe jokes and interesting brain teasers.

2. Homeschool Math – Maria Miller is a math teacher turned homeschooling mother.  She has developed a fantastic resource for lessons, online math materials, puzzles and worksheets for kids of all ages.

3. Khan Academy – Sal Khan has taken a groundbreaking approach to education.  He began by tutoring his niece via YouTube videos and has since revolutionized the education space with his videos.  His site has grown tremendously and now consists of thousands of educational videos.  Khan Academy includes a map of knowledge and was recently featured on 60 Minutes.  Khan Academy is backed by the Gates Foundation and has just developed a new iPad App.

4. Let’s Homeschool – Angie developed this enriching homeschool site, because of the lack of quality homeschool sites available at the time.  She has compiled Kindergarten through 12th grade homeschooling resources, which include curriculum, standards, organization and a wide variety of subjects.

5. Arcademic Skill Builders – Great source for educational games.  As you can see, many of our favorite games come from our friends at Arcademic.

6. Mongabay – Rhett has developed this preeminent site, which provides rainforest information for kids.

7. Internet 4 Classrooms – Susan has created a complete educational website with a myriad of resources for Pre-K through 12th grade students.  This site offers a plethora of links, tutorials and grade level help.

8. Homeschool Helper Online – Dedicated to homeschoolers who want to help each other, the Homeschool Helper Online contains unit studies, worksheets, phonics, computer lessons and record keeping.

9. Mr Nussbaum – Greg Nussbaum has taken his teachings to another level by creating a wide variety of educational games.  His games are creative, fun and cover a large selection of topics.

10.  BrainPop – The subjects covered here are: Health, Science, Technology, Math, Social Studies, Arts & Music, English movies, as well as quizzes, activity pages and school homework help for K-12th grade students.

11. The Homeschool Mom – Serving homeschool moms for over a decade, The Homeschool Mom provides helpful information on curriculum, high school, college and teacher resources.

12. Curriki – Curriki is a non-profit website seeking to create a global learning community.  They run an open infrastructure for developing curricula on a commons set of open standards. Math Game Time has partnered with Curriki to create a wealth of homeschool resources.

13. Play Kids Games – Offers free online kids games that are both fun and educational. Aimed at  Pre-K through 7th grade students.

14. Cool Math Games – Don’t be fooled by the old school look of this site.  It features some of the best math games for kids.

15. Math Game Time – Lastly, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention our sister site Math Game Time.  Math Game Time is the home of free math games, worksheets, homework help and videos from Pre-K through 7th grade.

We hope you enjoy these great learning sites and find them as useful as we have!  For more homeschooling resources, check out this list of 5 tips for Homeschoolers.


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Welcome to Word Game Time

Welcome to Word Game Time!  Whether you are a parent, teacher or child…we are the home of safe, fun and free word games for kids.  Our site also features educational videos, printable worksheets and homework help.  Word Game Time is the #1 language arts educational resource online.

We at Word Game Time strive to channel the excitement for video games towards academic improvement and success.  Our games help children’s performances through higher engagement and additional practice of core language arts concepts.
Word Game Time is YOUR SOURCE for:

  • High quality word games for Kindergarten through 7th Grade students
  • Language Arts resources curated by educators
  • Lessons on topics ranging from vocabulary, spelling, geography and more
  • Valuable homework help
  • Educational videos covering a variety of topics
  • A safe and trustworthy environment

Our goal is to deliver the most fun and engaging educational experience available anywhere online.  Please feel free to email us (contact(at) with any feedback.  You can also follow Word Game Time on Facebook and Twitter.  We hope you enjoy our site!


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