Best Computer Reading Games for a 6-Year-Old?
June 18, 2006 9:55 AM   Subscribe

What educational computer games are best for teaching a 6-year-old to read?

My son is a pretty fair reader for his age, but summer is here and school is out and he could use some encouragement. We read together every day and all that, but I would like to supplement this instruction with some good educational computer games to improve his reading skills. And suggestions?
posted by LarryC to Education (14 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This is probably wildly off the mark, but I went from a mediocre to an excellent speller the summer before third grade by playing a bunch of Infocom games, namely the Zork series. these are probably too rough unless someone plays along with them, and there is a slight amount of violence.
posted by adamwolf at 10:49 AM on June 18, 2006 [1 favorite]

[XPFilter] There are lots of "games" that are really audiobooks. One series that my daughter loved was Little Critter. The software is outdated now and you may have some issues running on XP, but they are great for young readers.

This link goes to Amazon's page for "Just Grandma & Me" which is one of the series. One reviewer advises how to solve the software glitches.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 10:52 AM on June 18, 2006

I should have added that I am on XP. We have some older games created for pre-XP Windows, some I can get to run via the Windows emulator, but others won't run no matter what I do.
posted by LarryC at 11:00 AM on June 18, 2006

HopefullyNotADerail: have you tried running them under DosBox?
posted by blag at 11:06 AM on June 18, 2006

PBS Parents has a bunch of online games and activities that might fit your needs.
posted by gwint at 11:38 AM on June 18, 2006

I know that Studydog is pretty popular with schools and non-profits that advance reading.
posted by Skwirl at 11:51 AM on June 18, 2006

My son really likes this Learn to Read website. The graphics are a little wonky and it sometimes runs reeeeeaaaally slow, but it's proven to be a nice little resource.
posted by maryh at 12:34 PM on June 18, 2006

Our 6 year old son likes the old Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom adventure game. (I think it was by Electronic Arts) There is a lot of dialog and it is spoken and written, and you have to choose from a list of written responses. It certainly is not an "educational" title but there is a lot of reading to it.
If he is just starting reading, Starfall is a fun site online.
posted by coevals at 1:55 PM on June 18, 2006

Reader Rabbit, if it's still around.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 4:43 PM on June 18, 2006

Reader Rabbit and related stuff. It's at MalWart for 10 bucks, and all over Ebay. I think my obsessive son was reading at four with that stuff. My nine year old wasn't reading until first grade, and now he's knocking back the Chronicles of Narnia, among others. My daughter who is five is coming along nicely, but has been pushed off the computer to a degree by her brothers.

[moment of recognition]

We're putting the computer in her room *tomorrow*.
posted by craniac at 6:58 PM on June 18, 2006

Jumpstart phonics was the one that really worked for the four year old, and "reading blaster." I think they're all from the same company as Reader Rabbit.
posted by craniac at 7:00 PM on June 18, 2006

Not to derail -- or at least, I hope, not to be obnoxious about it but...

I think computer games, however educational, are not what you want. The interactivity of computer games, the instant gratification they offer, would seem to me to set up a standard for entertainment that the simpler joy of a book could not match.

At least, that's what I thought when my kids were learning to read. I limited their computer time when they were little, and we didn't have a TV, but they each had a library card. We went to the library every week, and all the library books sat on the coffee table. I read to them every night from a "chapter-book", as you do. We also had this designated entertainer thing where one kid would help me fold clothes or whatever, and the other kid would read to us both.

If you want to encourage your kid to read, I really think dead trees are the way to go.
posted by Methylviolet at 7:32 PM on June 18, 2006

My six year old is reading quite well, but doesn't like to slow down long enough to read some days. I sneak a little extra in by letting him play which is a Cartoon Network site. You have to be able to read to know what tasks to do. We also used Reader Rabbit and Reading Blaster when he was just starting out.
posted by Biblio at 8:53 PM on June 18, 2006

I fondly remember playing Reader Rabbit on a Macintosh IIcx, when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I highly, highly recommend it.

Yes, paper books are good, but the drill-and-kill element of reader rabbit games is fairly important for allowing the child to attain speed/proficiency, and it also provides instant feedback as to how well the child is reading. Educational software should not replace traditional teaching, but augment it.
posted by LimePi at 1:49 AM on June 19, 2006

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