Family Literacy Games

What’s better than a good, old-fashioned family game night?  Below are recommendations of literacy-related games.  The grade level groupings are merely guidelines to help you select games appropriate for your child’s skill and interest levels.  Many games listed for older children can be played with younger children and vice-versa.  Have fun!


K-1 – Scrabble Junior – Players have fun matching letters to create words. There is an option of an advanced game where players create their own words.

STARE! Junior – By trying to remember and describe an image on a card, players build visual memory and oral language skills.

Zingo! Word Builder – Players build three letter words in a format similar to Bingo, in this fast paced game.

Boggle Junior – Players match letter cubes to picture/word cards to build letter and word recognition, matching, spelling and memory.


2-3Rory’s Story Cubes – Cubes with pictures encourage players to create imaginative stories, building oral language and story-telling skills.  Adults can model different narrative techniques while joining in the fun.

        Searchquest for Kids:  The Word Adventure Game – Like a traditional word search, this game is played on cards with tracing paper.  Players race each other to find the hidden words on their individual puzzles, moving more spaces on the game board if they find more words.  Word recognition, spelling and vocabulary skills are built.

Apples to Apples Kids 7 Plus – Just like the standard version, players must try to convince the “judge” that the card they selected goes with the judge’s one-word characteristic (appropriately age-leveled with characteristics like Fuzzy, Cute or Yucky).  This game expands vocabulary and builds oral language skills.

Appletters – Players build a continuous word snake by adding a word to the head or tail.  Three levels of play build in challenge as players use their vocabulary and spelling skills.


4-5Wordplay for Kids – When given a category and two letters, players race to make the longest word, developing vocabulary, spelling, and concentration skills.

Scrabble – The classic word-building game strengthens spelling, vocabulary and word retrieval skills.

Quiddler – Players arrange the cards in their hands into words as they take turns drawing and discarding, trying not to be left with any letters uncombined.  Bonus points are given for making the longest word and for making the most words.  This game reinforces spelling and vocabulary, as well as flexibility in thinking about how letters can be used to spell different words.

Big Boggle – With more letter cubes than in standard Boggle, players have more possibilities to find hidden words in three minutes.  Variations of the game include a team version.  The game reinforces spelling, visual memory and vocabulary skills.


6-8Five Second Rule:  Just Spit it Out! – Players have five seconds to name three things that fit the topic on the card chosen.  The variety of topics on the cards makes it challenging and forces players to be good listeners (a previously shared answer cannot be used again), and use quick word-retrieval skills and sometimes a bit of creativity.

Anomia – Players must be quick to notice if the symbol on a card they have drawn matches another player’s, and then quickly think of an answer that fits the category on the opposing player’s card.  Wild cards allow unlike symbols to match and can involve all players.  Reinforces quick word retrieval skills and using background knowledge.

 Bananagrams – Players race to use all of their letter tiles to build crossword grids, reinforcing spelling skills and flexibility in using the letters they have in front of them.

Apples to Apples – Players select a card from their hand that they think is best described by the category played by the “judge”.  Using flexible thinking, players learn how to create analogies and support their choices.