Using Games to Promote Literacy
Written by Julie Slack, First Literacy Marketing & Communications Manager
Games have been around for hundreds of thousands of years. A popular past time for all ages, games promote problem solving, enhance memory, increase motivation and are a form of social interaction. It’s no surprise that games are used widely in the field of education as a fun way to learn a new skill or subject.
When it comes to reading, writing, and language learning, games are an excellent way to reinforce specific learning concepts like letter recognition, language acquisition, phonics, reading comprehension, and storytelling mechanics.
- Scrabble is a challenging word-building game where players compete in building words with letter tiles on a board.
- Bananagrams is a simple but addictive game where players aim to use all of their letters to build a word grid in a race to the finish.
- Boggle is a word search game where players try to create as many words as possible from a few jumbled-up letters.
Games In the Classroom
Many presenters in our professional development workshops also use games as recommended teaching tools to engage adult learners in the classroom.
- Prefix UNO is a fun take on the classic game UNO. Instead of numbers, cards include words with common prefixes like reread, pretest, and disable. Directions and sample cards for this game can be found under the Introduction to Morphology: Word Study for Vocabulary Development
- Syllable UNO is similar to prefix UNO, but with this version of UNO the objective is for students to recognize and read all six syllable types. Details and sample cards for this game can be found under the First Literacy workshop titled Pronunciation Strategies for the ESOL Classroom.
- Wheel of Names is a creative way to teach students six syllable types and syllable division patterns. More information about this game can be found under the First Literacy workshop It’s All About the Vowel Sounds: Syllable Types and Division Patterns.
Supporting Adult Literacy with Fun and Games
While games are often thought of as child’s play, here at First Literacy we believe that games can be just as much fun for adults too. Every year First Literacy hosts a spelling bee to shine a light on adults struggling with low literacy.
The First Literacy Spelling Bee is one of the oldest adult spelling bees in the nation. This year will be our 32nd year hosting the event. During the Bee teams of 3 compete and test their spelling skills with words like lacinia, terpsichorean, misoneism, uhlan, and mordacious. All proceeds from the event support our mission: to fund innovation in adult literacy.
If you want to test your spelling skills, support adult literacy, and watch the teams compete, we invite you to host your own game night and tune in to watch the First Literacy Spelling Bee on April 7 at 6PM. The participant that spells the most words correctly using the First Literacy spelling app will win a prize!
Learning to read and write are essential skills that impact so many aspects of an individual’s life. Literacy is vital; so why not make it fun.
What’s your favorite literacy boosting game?