HOT TOPIC: Word Games
Volume 2, Issue 15 - December 18, 2005

"With all the focus on literacy instruction today, the ability for Web technologies to be able to apply the study of words in interactive, meaningful ways is significant. Word games have always been a popular way to bridge the phonics of word study with the actual acts of reading and writing. In past decades these games took the form of floor mats and game boards with plying pieces and some sore of timer or random generator of numbers like a spinner or dice. These formats are still highly appropriate in some educational settings.

Still, traditional word games, even in pencil and paper format, were not able to offer feedback, coaching and encouragement the way Web-base word games can. There’s an affective component to learning which is greatly bolstered when a student can get immediate feedback on the success of the strategies the student is using. Marie Clay focused on this a quarter of a century ago and built it into the very successful Reading Recovery program. Today Web-based word games can offer that same kind of scaffolding and feedback based on student input.

Of course, where we always end up getting down to brass tacks is the question of technology’s features versus actual substantive content behind the bells and whistles. In putting together this list of recommendations, I have brought both sides of the equation into consideration, producing what I believe is a truly useful collection of resources for the classroom. These are not just game sites; these are sites which can correlate with your curriculum and make a real difference in student mastery of word study. Have fun exploring!"


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