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Gameschooling ELA

Reading Games, Free Online Language Arts Games, and Other Resources to Make Learning ELA Fun!

Language Arts Games
By Mindy Scirri, Ph.D.

We all know that learning to read, write, and speak effectively can take time and a lot of practice. Reading and writing can also bring anxiety for many students as they struggle to organize ideas, remember rules for decoding or grammar, or otherwise untangle the complexities of the English language. For many students, ELA time is the low point of any school day. The good news is that homeschool gameschooling is a way to make learning fun through ELA games. Check out these resources!

What is Gameschooling for ELA?

Board Games for Reading and Language Arts
Free Online Language Arts Games for Kids

Other ELA Learning Games and Resources for Your Gameschool

*This post contains affiliate links. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission. Although many of the resources listed here are free, those marked with a $ have a cost or require a fee/subscription in order to access the full range of materials.


What is Gameschooling for ELA?

The Gameschool Homeschool Method can be used for one subject or across multiple subjects. If you are gameschooling ELA, you may be using games to practice letter names and sounds, letter combinations to form words, grammar and spelling rules, or even word sequences when forming sentences and paragraphs. Some ELA games will require physically picking up and putting together letters in fun ways, like fishing or building with tiles, while others will focus on speaking to find out information or tell stories. One could argue that every game—and virtually every human experience—involves ELA, but with gameschooling you can specifically target literacy skills and strategies by choosing fun ELA games and other activities.

Check out our list of multi-subject learning games and resources or try some of these ELA-specific learning games!



Board Games for Reading and Language Arts

In addition to the social interactions of playing a board game, which are inherently building language skills, certain board games can directly strengthen reading, writing, and speaking abilities. Here are a few to get you started:

Alphabet Fishing Game | Gamenote $
A great fun game for kids to learn the alphabet through play, which includes two wooden magnetic fishing poles, one wooden fishing pool, and 26 wooden fish. Build reading, spelling, and vocabulary skills through playing this game. It’s also a great teaching tool to develop your kids’ hand and eye-coordination as well as their motor skills. See It, Say It, Catch It: Call out one word. The player who catches the corresponding fish can keep it, and the one who wins the most fish wins the game at last. There are two poles for kids to compete with each other, and they can also create their own unique challenges.”

Apples to Apples Junior $
“The game of hilarious comparisons; award-winning card and party game for ages nine and up; players will delight in the crazy comparisons while expanding their vocabulary and thinking skills; 576 cards provide hours and hours of fun! The KIDS and JUNIOR card sets contain no duplicate cards; sets may be combined for thousands of new comparisons.”

Bananagrams Word Game $
Gather your family and friends and race against each other to build crossword grids. This anagram game that will drive you bananas. While this game is easy to play, Bananagrams is also educational. Teach your kids how to spell words and have fun at the same time. Bananagrams comes in a fun banana-shaped case. This game doesn’t take much space like other board games and brings tons of fun while traveling. […] Perfect for anyone 7 years and up. 1-8 players.” Is your child just learning to read? Try My First Bananagrams!

Boggle Junior $
It’s a Boggle game for younger kids. This first game for preschoolers grows with your child by introducing the ABC’s with different ways to play. Kids as young as three can play this simple Boggle Jr. game. Players match the big letter cubes to picture word cards in two multi-level games. In this kids’ version of the popular Boggle word game, players are introduced to letter and word recognition, matching, spelling, and memory.” Older homeschoolers may enjoy the standard Boggle game. 

Rory’s Story Cubes | Zygomatic $
Combine items, characters, places and animals to create and share unique tales in this game of limitless imagination and infinite stories. Roll all nine cubes to generate nine random images and then use these to invent a story that starts with “Once upon a time…” and uses all nine elements as part of your narrative. Full instructions include several other ways to use the cubes to solve problems, break up writer’s block, enhance your imagination and heighten your ability to find unifying themes among the diverse images. […] This creative storytelling game for adults and family can be played with 1 or more players and is suitable for ages 6 and older. The average playtime is 10 minutes.”

Scrabble Junior Game | Hasbro Gaming $
“For two to four players, Scrabble Junior is letter-matching fun for your little one; game grows with your players; two-sided gameboard has an advanced level on the opposite side; players create their own words in the advanced level; four adorable tokens.” Try regular Scrabble for older homeschoolers.

Scrabble Slam $
“Fast-Paced Scrabble Slam game challenges you to get rid of all your cards; easy to set up and play; change the existing four-letter word to another one; includes 55 cards and game guide.”

Sight Words Swat Game | Coogam $
“The package comes with 400 words featured on Dolch’s and Fry’s sight word lists. Cover commonly found words with four heavy-duty fly swatters and ten large index card lists of words leveled by five different colors. Each color represents a level from pre-k to grade 3. A fast-paced swat game for one-four players for multiple fun!”

Super Sleuth $
“Detective-themed vocabulary game with 180+ mysteries to solve! Practice synonyms, antonyms, homophones, and multiple-meaning words; includes 184 cards in four different vocabulary categories and 16 special assignment cards, four category dividers, 48 die-cut badges, special decoder card, and guide; students draw clue cards, read aloud, and check the answers on the backs of the cards with the magnifying glass answer decoder. Be the first detective to earn three badges from each case category and get promoted to Super Sleuth!

Very Silly Sentences | DK Games $
“This fun board game lets children use puzzle pieces to construct sentences, both serious and completely off-the-wall silly. Roll the dice again and again and prepare for laughter! Developed with the help of a leading educational consultant, this game is great for your child’s first steps in reading and grammar. Color-coded cards help children learn parts of speech and sentence construction. Ideal for children 4-7 years of age. Perfect for playing with friends and family!”

Word on the Street Junior | Educational Insights $
“Easy-to-learn and fun-to-play word game helps to develop vocabulary skills, creative thinking skills, and encourages teamwork; includes game board, 26 letter tiles, 108 category cards (216 categories), card holder, 30-second sand timer and game guide. Place all letters in the center of the board. Flip the timer—that player has 30 seconds to come up with an answer—in the category! Player moves the tiles found in the answer one space at a time toward their side of the street. The first player or team to claim eight letter tiles wins! Perfect for two players or teams!”

Zingo Bingo | ThinkFun $
Perfect for pre-readers and early readers, builds language and matching skills in preschool kids through fun, fast-paced play. […] Zingo has won many awards including an Oppenheim Gold, Parents’ Choice Award, ASTRA Best Toys for Kids Award, and is a three-time Toy of the Year Nominee, which makes it a great gift for boys and girls ages four and up.”

Zingo Word Builder | ThinkFun $
“Gameplay provides a stealth learning experience, where players build vocabulary and learn spelling patterns. Two levels of play support both early and more advanced readers. […] Award winner – Oppenheim Platinum Award, Teachers Choice Award for the Classroom, Parents’ Choice Gold Award and more.”


Free Online Language Arts Games for Kids

If cost or space are challenges for you, or if your child simply enjoys computer games, there are also plenty of free online language arts games for your gameschool. Try these to get you started!

Arcademics—Language Arts
Arcademics combines the excitement of video games with educational content to produce a high rate of learning through exciting, focused repetition that enables automaticity and fluency to be achieved quickly.” Try these great games to practice language arts and spelling.

Arthur Games | PBS Kids
Explore this collection of games for children who are fans of Arthur.

Detective Shell’s Word Search | Learning Planet
Help Detective N. A. Shell find the hidden words on different topics from basketball to winter. Start with an easy puzzle; then try a harder puzzle when your detective skills improve!

Knowledge Adventure
Find educational games that are easy to access by grade (preschool to grade 6), subject (word, reading, spelling, science, math, animals), and age (toddler to age 12), plus arcade games that are just for fun. An index of game titles helps you go back to your favorites with one click. Check out these links directly for word games, reading games and spelling games!

Learning Games for Kids
“Want educational games that make learning fun for preschoolers up to middle school kids? You’ve come to the right place! […] We’ll be adding new educational games often so make sure to come back and check us out frequently.” Have fun with alphabet, word, spelling, vocabulary, and literature games!

Mr. Nussbaum Learning + Fun—Language Arts
Try games about the alphabet, antagonists, and authors, or games like Paragraph Paramedics, Parts of Speech, Phonics, and Punctuation. And lots more!

PBS Kids Games
Choose from online single-player and play together games related to storytelling, as well as reading games, ABC games, vocabulary games, and more!

Sheppard Software—Language Arts
Check out this library of free online language arts games like the Noun Explorer Game, Verbs in Space Game, Adjective Adventure Game, Adverb Action Game, and Parts of Speech Grammar Game. For a challenge, try the Easily Confused Words Game! More are coming, too!

Toy Theater—Language Arts
Search this collection of language arts games, including alphabet and spelling games. You can also find story, word find, and writing activities, too!

Word Games and Puzzles | Merriam-Webster
For your older kids…. Play Universal Crossword, Daily Jumble, Word Roundup, Play4, Up & Down Words, or Lexigo online.


Other ELA Learning Games and Resources for Your Gameschool

Still looking for more resources? Here are just a few more ELA games and game-like activities, ways to make your own ELA games and puzzles, and resources for playing with language:

Anagram Genius
Try out this service that rearranges the letters of any name or phrase into something new!

Crossword Puzzle Maker
The crossword puzzle maker is used to make simple crossword puzzles. It turns out that good crossword puzzles of the type found in newspapers are fairly hard to generate, and require a pool of lots of words, not all of which are used. This program puts all of the words you specify (no more, no less) into a simple crossword puzzle.”

Cryptogram Maker | KidZone
Choose one of our pre-made cryptograms or create your own!

Going on a Noun Hunt Games | 123homechool4me
“Kids will love the idea of reinforcing nouns with this fun, free printable noun hunt activity that can be used indoors or outside. This grammar game is perfect for 1st grade, 2nd grade, and 3rd grade students. […] Simply print noun games and you are ready to play and learn with this noun scavenger hunt.”

MacScouter’s Bad Puns and Real Groaners
“I love Shaggy Dog Stories. When I was Cubmaster our Cub Scout Pack had a tradition of having someone read a story at the beginning of every Pack meeting. The shaggier, the sillier, the better. A real groaner is best. Following is a collection I’m working on of Complex Extended Puns and Shaggy Dog Stories.”

One Across
Welcome to OneAcross! According to Will Shortz, editor of the New York Times crossword puzzle, perhaps as many as 50 million people do crosswords just in America. Whether this is your first puzzle ever or your fourth today, if you get stuck, OneAcross can help. Enjoy and good luck!”

Once A Pun A Time
Check out these graphic puns showing how punny words can be!

Puzzle Maker
Puzzlemaker is a puzzle generation tool for teachers, students and parents. Create and print customized word search, criss-cross, math puzzles, and more—using your own word lists.”

Story Fun!
This is a student-run site, sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, that allows you to enter words and create a unique Mad Libs-like story. You get a new story each time you click on the link!

U.S.A. Secret Code Puzzles for Kids $
“Kids love secret codes, and this book offers dozens of intriguing challenges with insights into U.S. history, geography, pop culture, and a host of other subjects. Suitable for ages 8 to 12, the 36 puzzles reveal fun facts, from the extent of the Appalachian Trail to what Paul Revere really said on his midnight ride. Solutions included.”

Wordplay Web Site
This site is “dedicated to amusing quirks, peculiarities, and oddities of the English language: wordplay. Playing with words and language is both entertaining and educational. Here you can have plenty of fun with words with over 500 pages of word puzzles, games, amazing lists, and fun facts.”

The Word Search
For your older kids…. “Make your own word search game on any topic you like, simply by providing between 10 and 30 words. Once submitted, your puzzle will be instantly playable on-line as well as easily printed, so you can share it with friends.

Word Turtle | Funbrain
For your younger kids…. Create your own word search by typing in the words, and then click on the first letter of each hidden word to complete the game.


Check out these A2ZHomeschooling pages for even more resources:


Know of a good language arts game? Please share your ELA gameschool tips and resources in the comments below….

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