Saturday, May 30, 2015

No Summer Learning Loss Here! Resources to Help ALL Summer Long!---Part 2

Part 2: Reading & Learning Games That Count! (The 2nd in a series of 5 articles)

Our first article in this series presented good ideas and resources to help you Build a GREAT Book List as the first step in preventing Summer Learning Loss. This second article in our series will enable you as a parent, teacher or care giver to add interesting reading and learning games to the mix of educational resources, further promoting literacy and learning all summer long.

What child or teen doesn't like a board game or video game? Why not incorporate the "game idea" into summer learning or enrichment? Either you, your child or student, depending on age level, can design and create the games. However, if you prefer or if time is limited, ready-to-use reading and learning games are widely available for FREE or at a low cost both online and in parent-teacher supply stores. (Please see the lists of resources to follow this article.)

The reading and learning games you select should keep in mind the various learning styles and individual interests of the child(ren) or student(s) who will use them, as well. Create a list of game resources that will appeal to boys as well as girls and will provide variety, too. Try to incorporate all content areas into the games list. Be sure to include games that involve art as well as literature and history as well as critical thinking or problem solving games in the collection. This will also add to student preparedness for the fall term and provide more background knowledge for the child, something often found to be lacking in many students with reading and learning deficits. (Please see Other Related Resources to follow this article.)

Also consider including games that support STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), too. These additions will help prepare a child or student for STEM or "Maker" programs currently being developed in many schools and in homeschool settings. Allow for readers and learners to choose the literacy or educational games they wish to make and play from a grouping or collection of options. Children are likely to participate in a more engaged fashion if they have a choice in what they might be do able to do. They will also develop more ownership of a game project if permitted to choose from an array of choices, especially with older children. These factors will combine to help increase learning success AND retention of what is learned.

In this week's article, we have gathered a number of game resources (both physical and digital) to help you develop your own list of reading and learning games to prevent the Summer Slide in your child or student(s). We hope these reading and learning games will not only keep brains sharp over the summer months but also provide some excellent resources to better prepare students for their next grade level in school---while also having FUN all summer long!

Physical Reading & Learning Games to Help Prevent Summer Learning Loss

How to Make Educational Games (FREE)
by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.
Learn how to make educational games that are entertaining and fun. Get the whole family involved in making and playing games that challenge their minds while they have a good time.

Seven Ways to Build Your Own Educational Games (FREE)
by Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers
There are hundreds of places to find educational games and quizzes on the Internet. That said, sometimes you still cannot find quite what you're looking for. In those cases you're better off creating your own games. Here are seven good tools you and your students can use for creating games.

Free Kids' Educational Games (FREE) from (FREE)
All kinds of printable math, word, logic and memory games (some are online & not printable)

Fill-ins, Mixed Words, Mazes, Magic Squares, Crossword Puzzles, Word Squares, Sudoku Puzzles, Word Links, and others. (SKIP the Word Searches, as they rarely provide the "brain benefits" that the other games do!)

Printable Board Games from (FREE)
Printable board games are a fun and challenging way to help your child learn! Great for practicing math, reading, critical thinking, collaboration, fine motor skills, and more. Just download, print, and let the fun begin!

Fun and games: 8 summer reading activities for kids with learning disabilities (FREE)
by: Valle Dwight
Help your child keep reading skills strong over the long, lazy summer.

Digital & Online Reading & Learning Games to Help Prevent Summer Learning Loss

Online Games from Read | PBS KIDS (FREE)
Practice reading skills this summer with PBS KIDS reading games, videos and more.

Word Games, Puzzles and More---from Summer Reading at New York Libraries (FREE)
Fun & Games, Dinosaur Dive; Geology Quiz Your Noodle – Do you know the hard facts about rocks and the Earth? Undersea Treasure Hunt – Watch out for the octopuses!

Best Educational Apps for Kids of All Ages (Priced from $.99 to $4.99)
by Erin Dower
Looking for high-quality, educational apps for your toddler, preschooler, or school-age child? These award-winning and noteworthy mobile apps help kids of all ages learn a thing or two during tech time.

20 Free Educational Apps for Kids (FREE)
by Erin Dower
Mobile apps can be a life-saver, but the cost of buying them can add up. These 20 mobile apps aren't just educational — they're FREE to download on your iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Android mobile device.

STEM Video Game Challenge | PBS KIDS Lab (FREE)
A short list of online games that support STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) for ages 3 to 8 years. The 2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge contest was open to four different categories: Middle School students (5th grade – 8th grade), High School Students, College students and Teachers/Educators. Participants who wished to produce games as part of the PBS KIDS category were encouraged to develop games for children ages 4-8 that focus on early math skills. This project is part of the Ready To Learn Initiative, and funded by a grant from the U.S Department of Education.

STEM | Games for Change (FREE)
Excellent lists of online STEM games (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) categorized by age (for 7 to 18 & up).

You Can Go Anywhere! from PBS Kids (FREE)
Get ready to go places with PBS KIDS this summer 2015. From reading to geography, summer learning can take kids anywhere! Each week you can share learning with your children with our suggested games, videos, and daily tips. We've also created related activity sets for you to download and take anywhere.
Week of July 20 - August 2:
Explore And Count With THE CAT IN THE HAT. Count up the points when you explore Clatter-Clang Island from THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT! Practice map skills with THE CAT IN THE HAT. Use map skills when you help the bees get back home in THE CAT IN THE HAT KNOWS A LOT ABOUT THAT'S Beehive Follow Me! Brush Up On synonyms and antonyms with WORDGIRL'S Maze Mania!

Math Games That Give Your Brain a Workout! (FREE)
Math, logic and word games to challenge your brain and keep it sharp! Kids who play these math games learn multiplication, fractions, addition, geometry, algebra, problem solving and more! Math Playground has 100s of fun math games and more!

Games from PBS Kids(FREE)
300+ FREE online reading, adventure, math, health, sci-fi games and more (for nearly all content areas)!

Super Games: Art Games (FREE)
Welcome to Super Games, the number one place on the Internet to find the free flash games to dazzle your eyes and blow your mind! We've got tons of Popular Games from all over the web, and with brand spanking New Games coming in every week, there's no way to ever be bored at Super Games!

Art Games from GameHouse (FREE)
Create a masterpiece of fun with the best art games at GameHouse! Have you ever wanted to be an artist among the likes of Van Gogh, Degas, and Michelangelo? It’s easy! All you have to do is assemble the pieces of the world’s greatest masterpieces of art in Super Jigsaw Great Art. Play this and a variety of other high quality art games and computer art games today.

Online Games for Critical Thinking & Problem Solving (FREE)
by Laura Ketcham & SmartTutor Education Programs
Article listing and describing FREE online games that are a fun and interactive way for children to learn about critical thinking and problem solving, especially during the summer months.

Other Related Resources

Background Knowledge and Reading Comprehension: The Evidence Grows
by Robert Pondiscio and The Core Knowledge Blog
Researchers looked at dozens of variables to determine which instructional factors were associated with student reading achievement. They found the most important factor in reading achievement was the frequency with which the teacher used materials from other subjects in reading instruction.

For information on customizable low-tech & digital reading tools for all kinds of challenged readers, please visit: Tools for struggling readers of all ages! Info and support for struggling readers

Image courtesy of:
Brennan Innovators, LLC at

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