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Fun Websites For the Youngest Readers

Updated on September 5, 2012
Computer lovin' preschooler.
Computer lovin' preschooler.

Early one morning (precisely 4:23 a.m.) I found my 3-year-old perched in front of the laptop, eyes glazed over, clutching the mouse. In my decaffeinated state of shock I asked, "Kaela, what are you doing?" She responded in a matter-of-fact tone, "I'm playing my Dora game." How long she had been siting there is a mystery. She sure wasn't going to tell me. She was somewhat unresponsive, completely absorbed in the task of helping Pepito, Dora the Explorer's puppy, navigate a series of slides to obtain the key for his kennel door.

And so began her obsession with computer games and my quest for websites with quality educational content and entertainment value.

She's four now and has been playing religiously for about a year. (We do set limits, in case you were wondering, but that is an entirely different topic). She recently began reading, so I will share some of our favorite sites for practice and fun, as well as some of the most interesting sites sponsored by children's authors.

Computer games for reading practice.
Computer games for reading practice.

Reading Fun & Games


Learning to read is exciting for a child. Encouragement and support will have an impact on their continued success whether they are just mastering their letter sounds or opening the pages of their first chapter book. Here are some websites that will help make this journey fun and rewarding.

  • Learn to Read at Starfall This site is used by teachers and parents around the world and has reading activities for preschoolers through second grade independent readers. The animated online books are self-paced and will help your child sound out a word with a simple click of the mouse. They have animated videos to teach the "rules" and coloring printables.
  • Funschool There are many games at this site that are just for fun, but look carefully and you'll find some reading and learning opportunities.
  • Reading Is Fundamental A must see! In addition to various games, Reading Planet has a free membership club that allows members to create their own page with a custom look and share their ideas about what they like / don't like on reading planet, vote on favorite books, and enter contests.
  • Readquarium- Online reading... More reading activities, with a special section for sight words and building fluency.
  • GameGoo - Educational Games This is a favorite at our house, for the simple, goofy animations and games with enough silliness to make a cranky child giggle. Three reading levels to choose from.
  • Kids' Place Recommended for 1st through 6th graders, this site primarily highlights authors by grade level. There are also games and activities to explore.
  • PrimaryGames.com This is a large site covering many ages and subjects. Beware: there is also some irrelevant advertising.
  • Goodnight Stories kids site Reading club, writing club and competitions.
  • Fun With Spot Preschool and K level games and activities.
  • Inkless Tales Animated stories, games, poetry and crafts.
  • ICDL Read books online in a variety of languages! "A Library for the World's Children," this site allows kids to review the books they have read and read recommendations from other kids.
  • Welcome To Seussville! If you love Seuss, this is the site for you! The games are for 1st-3rd grade reading levels.
  • Scholastic.com | Kids For readers of all ages, this site has games, author information and activities based on all your favorite books. Some examples are: Magic School Bus, Clifford, Goosebumps, Captain Underpants, Harry Potter, I Spy, and The Babysitters Club. There is also a community for older students.

Best Author Sites to Visit

  • Chris Van Allsburg If you are a fan of the Polar Express, or any of Chris Van Allsburg's incredible books, you will love exploring this beautiful site.
  • Author Jan Brett's Home Over 4,100 pages of free activities, coloring and handwriting practice pages and projects featuring Jan Brett's beloved characters.
  • RobertSabuda.com: Pop-Up Books Explore how pop-up books are made with this best selling author. Try making one of your own with templates provided.

The Big Three

My daughter still visits NickJr for her favorite Dora games and the vast selection of games featuring all of her favorite characters. Playhouse Disney and PBS KIDS are also frequent stops. PBS KIDS has the most extensive selection of reading games of the three, including SUPER WHY! , WordGirl and Between the Lions.

Subscription Based Sites

Here are just a few of the many sites that charge a monthly fee to play their games.

  • MyNoggin.com Many of the same favorites as Nick Jr. (like Dora and Blues Clues) and some Noggin exclusives. This subscription site advertises learning games for preschoolers and allows parents to track their child's progress. A 7 day free trial is available.
  • Reading Eggs This is one of my favorite resources. A subscription will give you full access to the reading game that teaches your child to read from the very basics through third grade level. Parents can also print out worksheets to use to reinforce concepts later. A free trial is available.

Programs that teach your child to read (with little effort on your part):

  • ClickN' READ Phonics® This program is $59.85 for 100 interactive reading lessons. Designed for beginning, struggling and learning disabled readers. Also includes progress reports for parents.

There are so many great options to choose from to help your struggling reader or new reader! Try a few out to see which approach works best for your child and move on to a different site if your child find a reading game frustrating or boring.

Comments

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    • odie_driver profile image

      odie_driver 

      7 years ago from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

      Great hub! My daughter's school uses a few of these to help her learn to read as she's a very visual learner. I'll be sure to check out the ones I haven't been to yet! thanks for sharing!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      7 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you both for reading. The best websites for kids are constantly changing, so if you have any additional suggestions, please let me know!

    • woodsywild11 profile image

      woodsywild11 

      7 years ago from East Tennessee

      Great site with very helpful information. Kudos to you.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 

      8 years ago

      Because I am a Martian and the equivalent of 5 years old in human life this particular hub suited me to a tee!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      9 years ago from Connecticut

      Thank you for sharing this Duchess! As far as I know the majority of the list is still active. We use Starfall.com on a regular basis at our house. It just keeps getting better! I hope you friends find this useful. :)

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 

      9 years ago

      Reading this brings a lot of people to mind that I would like to share it with. This was written quite some time ago, so I wondered if any of these have changed that you know of. Two years is a long time with technology changing all the time.

      Just thought you should know I will be posting this on Facebook and sending a link to some friends who I believe will find this a most useful Hub.

      Thank you for taking the time to put this together.

    • profile image

      Duchess OBlunt 

      9 years ago

      Reading this brings a lot of people to mind that I would like to share it with. This was written quite some time ago, so I wondered if any of these have changed that you know of. Two years is a long time with technology changing all the time.

      Just thought you should know I will be posting this on Facebook and sending a link to some friends who I believe will find this a most useful Hub.

      Thank you for taking the time to put this together.

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      9 years ago from Connecticut

      You're welcome, urban wayz. Enjoy!

    • urban wayz profile image

      urban wayz 

      9 years ago from Calgary

      Thanks for posting this hub. I really have a need for this, tons of value.

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      9 years ago from Connecticut

      Hi Kelly - thank you for sharing your site. It's a wonderful concept and a great way for grandparents to communicate and enjoy playing games with their grandchildren.

    • profile image

      kelly 

      9 years ago

      Grandparent Games is solid new site doing something pretty innovative that i liked... they have activities (reading and number practice) geared toward pre-readers: kids can "meet up" online (the site supports video and voice feed) with a grandparent or someone far away and play these games. kinda cool idea since kids this age are often better internet users than their parents :)

      http://www.grandparentgames.com/background.cfm

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Thanks Michelle, these are all of my girls favorites!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      WOw, I don't have much time to be on the internet so this saves me a lot. I'm an avid fan of reading for preschoolers so I will bookmark this hub for future reference. Thanks Amy. :)

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      You are very welcome, Rainbow :)

    • RainbowRecognizer profile image

      RainbowRecognizer 

      10 years ago from Midwest

      Thank you - this is awesome! Saves me much time, too!!!

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      Hey Blogger Mom,

      My girl has spent many hours at Disney. It is so easy for her to navigate and i do think she learned alot from the games while having fun. I just have to check in with her now and then to see what she is doing!

    • Blogger Mom profile image

      Blogger Mom 

      10 years ago from Northeast, US

      My 4 year old's favs are PBS and Disney (the free version). What I love about them is that they are very intuitive, and I don't need to sit next to him to tell him where to point and click. The easier games are great for learning mouse control, and he's actually learning to recognize words from the more advanced ones. Times have changed! =)

    • amy jane profile imageAUTHOR

      amy jane 

      10 years ago from Connecticut

      I agree, reading is so important! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      You have included quite a lot of information. Reading is imperative and I hope many kids do much more of it very soon. :)

      Best Regards!

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