games Archives - Lexercise

Word Games for Children

Word Games for DyslexicsWord games are a fun and useful way to get your child to practice their skills outside of school. Practice is an essential part of the Orton-Gillingham method, so in order to get the most out of your child’s sessions, everyday practice is necessary. After a long day at school, more academic work can become frustrating, but educational games are both fun and valuable. The following games are focused for kids eight and older.

PARTNER GAMES

Words with friends

This game resembles Scrabble but your opponent does not have to be in the room with you. Your child will be tasked with making words out of the letters they are given and the letters on the board. Words with friends practices spelling, which is pivotal to a dyslexic’s development.

8720604364_2ebdc6df85_oDraw Something

Draw Something is like electronic Pictionary. Your remote partner draws out a word in a set amount of time for you to guess– and vice versa. Visualization is important for dyslexics to practice so that they can associate an image with a word. This game will help your child with spelling and vocabulary. This game can also be played with pen and paper at home.

INDIVIDUAL GAMES

Knoword

This game will most likely be challenging for your dyslexic child, but a challenge can be good! The object of Knoword is to complete as many words as possible by guessing a word based on its definition and first letter. This game requires quick thinking skills and will exercise their vocabulary, spelling, analytical, observational and typing skills.

Boggle Bash

In this game, your child will try and create as many words as they can with their given letter tiles before their time is up. This is great spelling and word processing practice.

Lexercise incorporates daily practice games in our online therapy program. We aim to make practicing vocabulary, imagery, spelling, and morphology fun! To learn more about our Lexercise program, speak to a therapist here.

The Truth Behind Screen Time

What are the screen time recommendations?

This past September, Screen TImethe American Academy of Pediatrics updated its screen time recommendations to reflect the modern use and frequency of media. Parents are most familiar with the 1999 guidelines “discouraging ‘screen time’ for children under age 2 and limiting ‘screen time’ to two hours a day for children over age 2” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2011). This recommendation isn’t practical in today’s environment where media has become integrated into our everyday lives, including parenting. To address this media shift the AAP hosted a “Media Research Symposium”, which exposed important information for parents struggling to navigate “screen time” in this media-rich age.

These are some of our key takeaways:

  • Screen media that mimics live interaction, like video-conferencing, promotes learning (Lexercise uses live,   interactive video-conferencing.)
  • “Co-viewing” and “co-participating” in your child’s media usage will increase the educational value by making them feel empowered and engaged (Lexercise daily practice guardian activities are designed for co-viewing and co-participating.)
  • Digital media can improve behavior: executive function, self-control, problem-solving skills, and ability to follow directions (Lexercise’s interactive methods are designed to improve attention and self-regulation.)
  • Media content matters more than the platform or time (Lexercise’s content is the research-backed structured literacy methodology.)
  • Well-designed, educational games can promote experimentation, interactive learning, self-efficacy, and inquiry (Lexercise’s interactive games are designed to reinforce word structure concepts and reward daily practice.)
  • “Digital media that distracts from social interactions (e.g., background TV, parents’ media over-use) clearly impairs learning, while other media (e.g., Skype, Facetime) can promote social interactions and learning” (Lexercise is built on a foundation of social interaction, both for direct instruction and for daily practice.)

 

3 C’s of a Balanced Media Diet

 

Screen Time

Parenting is without a doubt changing in today’s technological era in which, “[m]ost children under the age of 8 now have access to mobile devices in their homes” (Farmer Kris, 2015). So how can you embrace this technology and make it a benefit of your child’s life? Michael Levine and Lisa Guernsey writers of “Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens” recommend following the 3 C’s of a balanced media diet: content, context, child.

 

1. Content

Does this content support my child’s learning?

Is it well designed for learning specifically?

Does it make sense for my child’s age and developmental stage?

Lexercise is specifically designed using research-backed methods to educate and enhance literacy skills through technology.

2. Context

Is this a good balance in my child’s schedule?

Are they still getting other necessities in their life like social interaction, exercise, and sleep?

We customize everything for you and your child to accommodate your schedules and focus on distributing practice to prevent learning overload and frustration.

3. Child

How does my child respond to this media? Does it evoke positive or negative reactions?

Make sure to engage with your child’s media consumption. “Research indicates that ‘joint media engagement’ — talking with children about what they are viewing, experiencing or creating — supports cognitive development and helps children learn more from media” (Farmer Kris).

The Lexercise guardian activities are specifically designed to support “joint media engagement”.

If your child is struggling with reading, writing, or spelling Lexercise can raise their literacy skills as well as incorporate beneficial technology into your child’s life.

How to Encourage Reading Practice!

Practice Makes Perfect

We’ve all heard the saying “practice makes perfect”, and in life we’ve all seen it’s truth. Neuroscience confirms that regular practice is a crucial component in learning a new skill. Lexercise uses online daily games and table-top activities to reinforce and master skills taught by a child’s clinical educator during their weekly 1 to 1 sessions.

By the time the majority of our students have started working with Lexercise they have experienced great obstacles and frustration in learning how to read. This can lead children to believe that their efforts are hopeless or that they aren’t smart, since their prior work did not give them the results they wanted. Lexercise Clinicians work with parents to re-motivate their child using our unique approach to practice, a critical components in learning how to read and write. Here are a few tips we’ve found in making ongoing practice more successful:

Explain to your child why practice is important

Look at this as brain training, NOT Lex_prescribed-practice_child-solo_illustrationhomework! First, the Lexercise program looks and feels different. We are not telling your child to read more, longer, faster…. this won’t work for a child with a language-based learning disability. The Structured Literacy method we use emphasizes mastery of skills where lessons AND practice are delivered systemically and intensively. This approach has been tested by the National Institutes for Health and is proven to work. What we are doing through our explicit instruction and practice is making connections in our brain’s language and literacy centers that were not as activated before. To “rewire” the brain, it takes a lot of deliberate practice, approximately 100 response challenges per day. Our customized online games and table-top activities give a child more than 100 response challenges a day.

Set a goal for daily/weekly practice- Plan for smaller more frequent practice!

Working with your child to set clear goals and expectations for practice help get their “buy in” since they are involved in the process. growthBy setting goals you and your child can work as a team to accomplish the goal, while modeling a very important skill, having a growth mindset. Working towards a jointly-set goal shifts the child’s thinking to a growth mindset where s/he thinks “I am going to practice so I can reach my practice goal which will help me become a stronger reader and writer,” instead of “Someone is making me do this.” Tracking practice using an incentive chart can help the child see his/her progress towards their goal. Plan for shorter, more frequent sessions (minimum of 4 times per week), versus longer sessions. This helps a child maintain attention, and get in the optimal “learning zone” (70%-90% accuracy).

Create a set time and space for practice to occur

Having a routine helps practice become a habit! Decide what time during the week works best for your child and family. Communicate this to everyone in the family so they are aware and can be supportive. It is important that there be a dedicated space for practice that is conducive to learning (quiet and distraction-free). Also, by having others know this set time, they can help give gentle reminders that it’s practice time when needed. It is also a good idea to figure out a system for table-top activities the parent leads. When will this occur? Who in the family will do the activities? Planning in advance for practice helps to make sure that it becomes a habit.

Immediately following practice, let the child do a preferred activity

Having a child complete practice first –before a preferred activity– gives a natural incentive. This could be before something that is regular occurrence such as: a meal, playing outside with friends, etc. Using a “first-then” statement can be helpful when communicating this. For example: “First complete your Lexercise games and 5 minutes of Whiteboard Spelling, then you can go outside and play with your friends.” It is important that immediately after the “first” task is completed they earn their preferred “then” activity. For younger students having a visual and setting a time can help to communicate these expectations.

Motivate your child during practice

hand-writing-mdVerbal praise and specific error correction goes a long way! Motivating with the end goal in mind is always helpful; we want to get to the point where your child is able to read and write with proficiency. Giving specific praise and feedback, helps them understand what it takes to train their brain to get there! When you see your child using the strategies taught in the session let them know by being very specific about what you saw (e.g. “I noticed when you got to that longer word, you broke the word down by its syllable type which made it more manageable.”). This reinforces the fact that looking at the structure of the word is more reliable than guessing. When a mistake is made, it is also important to give specific error correction so that they understand exactly why something is incorrect. During your weekly sessions your clinician will teach you exactly how to do this. Remember, verbal praise and specific and immediate feedback goes a long way!

Motivate your child after practice

star2Make time to review and celebrate the progress your child makes! It is so very important to celebrate your child’s success however large or small it may seem. Each portion of the deliberate practice we assign is one more step towards the goal of becoming and independent lifelong reader and writer. During our sessions you’ll see your clinician give online high-fives, count points for sentence dictation, and more! Our online game practice also tracks progress, through point goals. Each time a child plays they are able to see that progress is being made by watching their points increase. This point system is a means of encouraging repeated practice, with an emphasis on having an increase in accuracy and response time. You also may want to build in a specific individual motivation for your child. It could be a sticker chart for practicing games, rewards for reaching a point goal, etc.

Lexercise clinicians strive to help make each child’s practice as productive as possible. The best incentive to practice is when a child sees the progress he or she is making. This most often occurs when a child feels confident with their newly developed skills to pick up a book and read (without being told to!). Moments like that show us that all of the hard work and practice really is worthwhile.

Other Helpful Articles:

Daily practice: Won’t it get boring?

How to Encourage Daily, Structured Practice

How long should a child practice each day?

Parents Need To Know: Practice Works Wonders!

Family Games and the Science of Reading

We have been hearing more and more about the science of reading and the “fight over how to teach reading”. (See the New York Times article, In the Fight Over How to Teach Reading, This Guru Makes a Major Retreat.)  

The science of reading tells us that reading comprehension is the product of understanding when listening and recognizing printed words.

the science of reading

While, as a parent, you may not think of yourself as a reading teacher, you may be curious about how family games and activities can support the two main components of reading comprehension: understanding when listening and recognizing printed words.  

In this article, we’ll list some family games that support the two main components that the science of reading has found to be foundations for reading comprehension. 

Listening Games

Word Reading Games

Simon Says

This is a classic listening game for young children. One player is chosen to be “Simon”. Simon gives directions to the players by either saying “Simon says, Do ____”, or just, “Do ____”. If Simon began by saying “Simon says…” then the players are supposed to do as requested. But, if the command didn’t begin with “Simon says”, the players are to ignore the request. If Simon catches a player performing an action that was made without “Simon says” that player is out.

Concentration

This is a highly adjustable matching game. To prepare for this game you will need to make a set of cards with 5 to 10 matching pairs, adjusted to the child’s current skill level. For example, for a beginning reader the pairs might be:

  • letters (m-m)
  • words (mat-mat)
  • rhyming words (mat-bat)

If the child is a more advanced reader the pairs might be homophones, like:

  • laps-lapse
  • chute-shoot
  • knead-need

Or they could be words with the same base, like:

  • action-actor
  • viewer-viewing

 

Using 3×5 inch index cards make 5 to 10 pairs of words. Shuffle the cards and place them face down in straight rows. Take turns turning up two cards at a time and reading the words aloud. If the two cards match, the player keeps them and gets a second turn. If they do not match, the cards are turned back over and the next player takes a turn. Play continues until all the cards are matched. The player with the most pairs wins. 

20 Questions

This is an easy, entertaining game that adapts to players of every age and language skill. Player A thinks of an object and gives a single clue: animal, vegetable, or mineral. Players B, C, D, etc., take turns asking questions about the object, trying to guess what it is. After each question, Player A answers yes or no, but can’t give any more clues. If the group can’t guess after asking 20 questions, Player A names the object and gets another turn. If someone guesses correctly, that person is next up to name an object.

 

Scrabble Slam

This is a fast-paced word game played with cards. Player A gets to choose a four-letter word. Using the letter-cards in the deck, the word is spelled out face-up on the table. The remaining cards are shuffled and then the deck is dealt to the players. When play starts – “Go!” – everyone plays at once. The players choose one letter from their hand that will change the original word into a new word, for example, using a -k- to change WORD to WORK. The winner is the first person to use up all their cards. Then Player B chooses a word.

Apples to Apples

This popular card game works best for four or more players, though it can be played with three in a pinch. Red Apple cards are dealt to each player. Player A, the judge, chooses a Green Apple card and places it face up. The other players then choose the Red card in their hand that comes closest to describing the judge’s Green card. The judge selects the best match, the winner collects a point and then Player B gets to be judged. Note: Apples to Apples Junior is targeted to ages 9 and up.

Bananagrams 

This is a timed tile game in which each player uses his or her own tiles to create a linked (Scrabble-style) grid of words. It can be played by two to seven players, ages 7 (or so) and up. You can adjust this game by eliminating the timing component, working in teams instead of individually, and/or using only words from a single category, such as animals, colors, numbers, etc. The clever game-smiths at Bananagrams have now added a number of other terrific word/language tile games (Appletters, PAIRSinPEARS, ZIP-IT and Fruitominoes) to their collection.

Categories

Another terrific all-ages game that requires no equipment and works for large groups as well as small. This game works particularly well if everyone’s sitting in a circle. Player A names a category, for example, candies, colors, and flowers. Then, starting with Player B and moving around the circle as quickly as possible, each player names something that fits into that category (a type of candy, a color, the name of a flower). When you get back to Player A, then Player B gets to name a category. This game has no single winner, but can generate a lot of laughs and stimulate vocabulary.

Categories

This game can be adapted to focus on categories related to printed words. For example, name words that:

  • start with a -t-
  • have a short vowel sound
  • rhyme with “meet”
  • have double letters
  • have 2 syllables

Do you have a favorite family game? For more reading ideas, click here.

Happy playing!

Don’t forget to sign up for our blog so that you do not miss out on any of our resources. If you suspect your child has dyslexia or other learning disability, take one of our free tests here. You can also contact us at 1-919-747-4557 or email info@lexercise.com.