Play to Read: Reading Games to Encourage Literacy in Children

Carolina Ciucci


Carolina Ciucci is a teacher, writer and reviewer based in the south of Argentina. She hoards books like they’re going out of style. In case of emergency, you can summon her by talking about Ireland, fictional witches, and the Brontë family. Twitter: @carolinabeci

Play has long since been heralded as beneficial for learning, and with good reason. The fact that reading games reap benefits such as the development of language and reasoning skills probably won’t come as a surprise, but the advantages of both play and reading extend to the improvement of math skills, the growth of the cerebral cortex, and the stimulation of brain cell growth. Putting together play and reading? Now that’s a recipe for success.

Here you can find several reading games that will help the child in your life boost many of their life skills, and have fun while they’re at it.

Reading Games for Children Ages 6-9:

Word Finder: This is a very simple game, and it can be customized according to the age and the vocabulary of the child in question.

Context Clues: Choose the correct word according to the context.

Spin-a-Word: All you need in order to play this game is a sheet of paper, a pencil, and a paperclip to spin. Wherever it lands on, it must be added to the next line. When that results on an actual word, you must circle it. Whoever comes up with the most existing words wins.

Reading Games for Children Ages 9-12:

Word Scramble: Organize the letter jumble to form real words. Want to make it a real challenge? Grab a timer and implement a deadline. Oof. Even adults may have trouble with this one. (Not that I speak from experience or anything…)

Roll & Retell: Help your child process his readings by turning the discussion of it into a game. It’s easy to customize.

Reading Games For Any Age

Sight Words Snakes & Ladders: A fun twist on the traditional Snakes & Ladders game, this allows kids to practice pronunciation and memorization: when each player’s game piece moves down a path, they must read each word aloud. A failure to do so results in losing their turn.

Reading Spinner: You can give this to your child to use before, during or after the reading process. All three of them function as a guide to process their reading materials. Heads up: the version linked above is available for purchase, but you can easily make your own.

So there you have it! Do you play reading games with your kids? Do you play them yourself? Check out even more in children’s books here.