Summer is Here! Keep Your Child’s Literacy Skills Sharp with Online Games

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It’s too hot to go outside. Your kids are “bored”. You’ve run out of ideas of things to do…and there’s still one month left of summer vacation! Many children gravitate towards computers and video games when they have “nothing to do”: so, why not incorporate educational time with the screen time? Below is a sampling of online resources (by grade level) that will reinforce those all-important literacy skills.

Primary Level (K-2nd Grade)

  • “Primary Games”

  • This site offers numerous reading games that develop vocabulary skills. Identify the picture that matches the word in “Whack-A-Monsta”, or select the correct word to fill in the blanks in “Funland”- a carnival-themed game.

  • “River Rhyming”

  • In this game, the player helps Max cross the river by selecting the rock with the correct rhyming word on it. Beware, though: if the player selects an incorrect rock, Max goes for a swim!

  • “PBS Kids: Reading Games”

  • Reinforce reading concepts on this kid-friendly site from PBS. For example, your child can deepen his/her understanding of vocabulary words in the game “Wordplay”, where the player selects a word (like “melt”) and then clicks on the screen to melt an ice cream cone, melt cheese on a sandwich, etc.

  • Core Content Standards Correlations:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.2.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K.2a Recognize and produce rhyming words. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.5c Identify real-life connections between words and their uses

Summer Learning Kit for Parents

Upper Elementary (3rd – 5th Grade)

  • “Wordout”

  • Even though this site caters to primary children, “Wordout” is a true word challenge for older kids. The game creators ask, “Can you master the wordtris by using the descending letters to form meaningful words?” This game requires the player to expand his/her vocabulary by forming more complex words to earn higher scores.

  • “Funbrain”

  • Your son or daughter will hone grammar skills, with games such as “The Plural Girls” (to practice making singular words plural) and “Grammar Gorillas” (to identify parts of speech).

  • “It’s A Mad Libs World!”

  • Practice parts of speech and laugh at the same time by filling in the blanks with the required part of speech. When your child finishes filling out the information, an entire story will appear, complete with the words s/he provided. Not knowing how the words fit into the story results in some crazy, comical tales!

  • “Vocabulary.Co.Il: Vocabulary Can Be Fun!”

  • This site provides many games to choose from to build your child’s vocabulary. In “HangMouse”, for instance, the player is given a category and must choose the correct letters to form the desired word (similar to “hangman”). The sidebar offers other games that focus on analogies, antonyms, synonyms, contractions, and more.

  • Core Content Standards Correlations:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.6 Acquire and use accurately grade-appropriate general academic and domain-specific words and phrases, including those that signal precise actions, emotions, or states of being

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Middle School Games (6th – 8th Grade)

  • “Game On: Increasing Learning Through Online Games”

  • This site offers writing and vocabulary-related lessons and games for students to enjoy. “Wacky Web Tales” is a “Mad Libs” styled game that asks students to provide words from different parts of speech, and then those words are inserted into a story that becomes humorous – based on the words the player has selected. To improve understanding and proper use of prefixes, click on the second link (below) from the “Game On” site to give your child practice in the “Prefixes Say Plenty” fill-in-the-blank activity.

  • “”

  • This grammar game gives students the opportunity to practice identifying pronouns, a skill that is one of the required content standards for sixth graders. When students click on the balloons with pronouns, the balloon pops, but if a non-pronoun is selected, the balloon merely deflates.

  • “”

  • This site contains a Jeopardy-style game that quizzes the player on verbals and other verbs (gerunds, infinitives, participles, linking verbs, helping verbs, and main verbs). As a core content standard for eighth grade, this is an excellent reinforcement activity.

  • Core Content Standards Correlations:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.6.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.7.4b Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., belligerent, bellicose, rebel).

    CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.8.1a Explain the function of verbals (gerunds, participles, infinitives) in general and their function in particular sentences. Important note for teachers and tutors: After identifying games and videos that you would like to use with your students, you can assemble these online resources into a streamlined format via the “Lumos Quill”. This collaborative authoring platform allows the user to repurpose meaningful content that you have developed and integrate it with the Lumos Teacher website to monitor your students’ progress. To learn more and to view a demonstration, visit:

Beating the Summer Academic Loss – A FREE Webinar

Summer Learning eBooks to practice for students

Free online Summer Learning Programs

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Julie Lyons