By contributing writer Marci
My 9-year-old son is a hands on kind of kid. He would rather do science experiments, paint, play games, or run through the woods, than sit down to read, write, or do anything that has to do with words. I’ve had to get creative when it comes to teaching that boy language arts.
Instead of making him sit and write spelling and vocabulary words over and over or having him read dry lists of words, we play word games.
Two of our favorite word games that have worked wonders for my son are Quiddler and Bananagrams. Both are games that involve spelling and word knowledge. Here are some of the benefits of word games that I have found.
My son first started playing these word games when he was 6 or 7. At that age, he didn’t know how to spell a lot of words. He struggled at first to put the correct letters together, but I let him sound the words out and try his best.
I offered help and hints when he needed it. It gave us a great opportunity to talk about phonics and let him apply it to what he was working on.
After a short time of getting spelling help from mom, dad, or big sister, and watching us spell words, he started to become an excellent speller. He didn’t need as much help from us. His confidence grew, as did his spelling abilities.
These days, he rarely asks for help, and he often wins!
Kids have a large vocabulary. The average 6 year old knows about 10,000 words, but the learning and accumulating of words doesn’t stop there.
As my son watches the words other people in the game create, he notices unfamiliar words (especially when we draw a Z or a Q!). He is able to add these new words to his vocabulary and use them when he gets the opportunity.
We always keep a dictionary app available on our phones or tablets. (Remember the days of flipping and searching through those thick paper dictionaries?) My son is allowed to search the dictionary to see if a group of letters he put together is a word or not.
It’s important for him to realize that even though something might sound like a word, that doesn’t mean it is. And, if it is a word, he gets to see the definition. Another new word added to his vocabulary!
What About You?
Do you play any word games in your house? What are your favorites? Do you and your kids learn from them?