My DS will be entering first grade in the fall. He has learning disabilities and gets a fair amount of help from school and will be going to summer school. What I am looking for are games that will engage him and help him learn. Our focus now is beginning to read. He needs a lot of repetition and different ways to get the information into him. Board games we can both play, games for the computer, iPad or Wii. He has a Leapster but generally will not play with it. Being the second child he much prefers his older bother's nintendo DS. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks!
I think you need to figure out where he is -- does he recognize all the letters (upper and lower case)? is he able to link the letter with the sound? Is he able to rhyme? Can he tell you what sounds a word starts with when he hears it? If he has those skills down pat, he'll be on track for reading in first grade. In order to get games that help, you'll need to know what skills he needs to work on.
Games you can play:
"I spy" -- something that starts with 'p' or something that rhymes with 'net'.
Build scrabble words together (or bananagram)
You can try educational games for the DS or the computer (my kids liked Reader Rabbit; PBS kids has some really nice games as well)
Other than that, I'd simply focus on limiting screen time to 60 minutes a day and getting him outside and playing. He needs to experience the world before it will make a lot of sense to him when he reads about it. If he's got learning disabilities, the more experiences he has the better he'll be able to understand something once he does learn to read.
Readingeggs.com was dd's favorite. Time4learning is good too. Reading eggs gives you a free trial and time4learning is around $20 a month.
The book Games for Reading by Peggy Kaye has a lot of ideas too, if you are looking for nonelectronic.
My son was around that age (and on the highest functioning end of the autism spectrum) when we used HeadSprouts, which practically taught him to read. He'd always been read to and knew his letters already, but this program covered all the phonics, with lots or repetition and rewards of silly dancing characters and little "books" that he could read all on his own because they were constructed to include the content covered. All of these things encouraged him and he breezed through learning to read. I will say that I personally found the program cheesy and was wondering what on earth I was paying for when I first saw it, but holy cow did it ever do the trick! It's an online program and I think the site is just headsprouts.com, but you could google is easily enough.
He and his sister also like to play on Starfall, but that site has so much to do that doesn't require reading or learning, even in the stories, that I don't think it actually did anything for him except entertain him a bit and improve his mouse skills, which just about anything can do.
We have Starfall ABC's app for i-pod (4 yr old dd loves it) and also one called "Pocket Phonics" (which emphasizes letter sound and how to start blending the sounds into words, not the names of the letters). Google "Jolly Phonics" also - they have some great videos and resources. The more you can point out examples of words in the real world, and say the sounds in them (e.g. s-s-s stop sign) the better. We make a game of guessing if a store is open or closed by looking for the signs. Putting labels on drawers/cubbies, e.g. socks, mittens can help foster that awareness of letters and sounds (if you are pointing them out and saying them in a fun, non-instructional way).
This is not a game, but a reading series: Ball-Stick-Bird. My ds is 6.5 and is reading with this now, so if you end up needing a different approach,keep this in your pocket for later. It's really worth a try! I tried to get ds interested with Starfall, but he never really found it engaging. I didn't have him evaluated (we homeschool) but IMO he has some learning difficulties in this area. He could read 3 letter words like in the BOB books (ugh) but it was just excruciatingly boring for both of us and he'd give up. He likes space and aliens and robots, though, so BSB is a story that he loves. We had tried so much other stuff that I didn't really think it would work. And when I read the first story myself I was skeptical... but something about the way it's all set up works for him. He loves "building" each letter with the paper balls, sticks and birds that came with the set. After a couple of months, my boy who was struggling with anything besides CAT, MAT, RAT, PAT etc is reading out loud to me about about meteors, planets, and all sorts of other big words!
Anyway I just thought I'd mention it.
Tallulah Dare 8-01, Marcos Gael 12-04, Cormac Mateo 9-09, Leonidas Ronan 11-11
We're thinking of getting, and putting together the Reading Games In A Bag:
I'm new to the forums but just had to second Starfall and Headsprout. I used Starfall to teach my oldest (now 12) to read and my middle DD loved Headsrprout in school. I helped in the classroom for computer time and saw for myself how much it helped EVERYONE in the class. (It starts out very basic with basic blends and can take the child as far as they want to go.) There's an awesome book called 1-2-3 Reading Rescue that we used to get my DS through a plateau in his reading and to get middle DD started. I'm about to check it out again for my youngest who's got a different thing going on out of all of them.