Free and Fun Elementary Reading Websites for Kids
10 Outstanding Reading Websites for Elementary Readers
Children become fluent in reading with practice, practice, practice. I've used these free, engaging reading games to hold their attention and keep them motivated. They are among the best methods for turning the hard work of learning to read into play.
These 10 excellent sites for preK and elementary children are backed by a tremendous amount of research into how kids learn to read and how they become fluent readers.
Between the Lions
for K-3rd grade
PBS Kids hosts some terrific educational material for children and their Between the Lions reading games and interactives are among the best. There are read-along folktales and fables with a twist, clever song videos of letter sounds, and amusing games.
Another invaluable resource here is the Between the Lions Curriculum Guide. It shows teachers and homeschooling parents how they can incorporate the games and interactives into their reading lessons. And it provides an excellent background on the basic building blocks of reading skills using phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension.
(My teenage daughter has fond memories of Between the Lions and I had to tear her away from this website so I could finish this review!)
Starfall Learn to Read with Phonics
reading games for preK to 2nd grade children
Starfall Education has created an engaging group of games and activities that range from the ABCs to fables. The stories and poems can be read by the narrator, the child, or by your child with assistance. Your child can read it and click on a word they need help with.
Reading material includes simple sentences, short stories, poems, plays, fiction, nonfiction, comics, folk tales, Greek myths, Chinese fables. The phonics section includes videos to illustrate letter sounds and patterns
Literacy Games from BBC Schools
for 1st-3rd grade children
BBC Schools Literacy Games has a wealth of games and interactives for beginning readers. Because the site is based in the UK, pronunciations and a few of the spelling and vocabulary words will not be as familiar to American children. Also, videos on this site are only available to UK users. Nevertheless, BBC Schools educational games are favorites among most of the American students I've taught. Below are links to some of the most useful reading activities for Americans.
KS1 Bitesize Literacy Games, for children ages 7-9, has games for phonics, rhyming words, alphabetical order, spelling, pronouns, conjunctions, synonyms, punctuation and sentence construction. Kids choose from among medium, hard and really hard games. A printable worksheet accompanies each activity.
KS2 Bitesize Literacy Games, for children ages 7-11, has games for deductive reasoning, using dictionaries, finding information, and poetry.
Starship English, for children ages 7-9, lets kids build a story and play with syllables, homonyms, punctuation, describing words, verb tenses and synonyms.
Strivney Teach Your Child to Read
for K-1st grade and ELL/ESL students
Strivney Teach Your Child to Read is a series of phonics lessons that begin with letter sounds and combinations and include essential English vocabulary words. Basic grammar lessons accompany them.
An excellent feature allows you to monitor your child's progress and performance as she continues through each lesson. As of this writing, Strivney has more than 1000 activities, interactives and animated learning games for beginning readers.
Deborah Delin, a British teacher with more than 20 years of experience in the UK and Israel, started the Strivney program.
Free registration is required.
for K-3rd grade students
The Screen Actors Guild Foundation has a wonderful story read along website, Storyline Online. Well-known SAG actors of all ages read 24 popular children's picture books. The narration is accompanied by illustrations from the book. Some of the stories use storybook cutout animation.
Each book has accompanying lesson plan ideas and activities. My kids love to hear the actors read the stories, as they're very expressive. I've heard many of them copy the tone and pitch of the readers when the children read the books aloud themselves.
ReadWriteThink Student Interactives
for K-2nd grade kids
ReadWriteThink Student Interactives, from the International Reading Association and National Council of Teachers of English, are jam-packed with lessons and interactive games for students of all ages learning reading and writing skills. For children learning to read English, they have six interactive games listed below. Each student interactive is accompanied by lesson plans for use in the classroom or by homeschoolers.
ABC Match - Match initial letters and letter sounds with pictures.
Construct-a-Word - Kids choose a word ending, then add beginning letters and letter blends to create a word bank.
Picture Match - Match a picture to a beginning-letter or short- or long-vowel sounds.
What's in the Bag? - Develop vocabulary skills by listening to descriptive words to identify objects.
Word Family Sort - Helps beginning and struggling readers recognize word patterns using onset and rime.
Word Wizards - Helps kids develop reading comprehension and spelling skills, using clues and scrambled letters from popular children's books.
PBS Reading Games
for kids in preK-3rd grade
PBS Kids has more than 60 Reading Games, connected to characters from their television series such as Sesame Street, Clifford, Martha Speaks, and Cailou. When your child successfully completes them, many of the games provide instant rewards, such as video clips or more fun games.
Make a book with Elmo by choosing characters and decorating the pages. Then Elmo reads a story designed by your child to your child. The completed story in printable. Play Rhyme Time Bingo with Wonder Red. Print the completed picture or choose from other instant prizes. Learn vocabulary by helping Martha add captions to her scrapbook pictures. When you correctly caption all the pictures, you get to watch a brief video clip from Martha Speaks.
The PBS characters are captivating and much loved by generations of kids, so their games easily hold the interest of young children as they learn basic reading and math skills.
for K-2nd grade kids
Game Goo's reading games are hosted by Houghton Mifflin Company, a major publisher of literacy textbooks for children. The games increase in difficulty as you go up the grid, but all the games are designed for reading readiness and beginning readers.
Your children play games to develop skills in letter-sound correspondence, recognition, alphabetic order, recognizing fact vs. fantasy, sentence word order, poetry and spelling.
The Fearless Frieda games are particular favorites among the children I've taught. She performs tricks on the skating ramp, but takes a fall when your child makes a mistake.
preK-1st grade children
In WordWorld, words morph into the objects they name. That creates a powerful connection between the letters and the words they represent. Children are captivated by the vibrant colors and graphics, and it's an excellent vocabulary building site for beginning readers.
All of the words your child acquires in a game are added to their Word Space. Kids can use their collection of words to create pictures to print or send to friends and family.
for K-2nd grade children
MeeGenius has a collection of eight free read-along classic children's books. A good electronic read-along book for beginning readers has attention-grabbing illustrations that mimic the story line, and it highlights the words being read as they are spoken to make it easier for the child to follow along. MeeGenius! succeeds on both counts.
Even better, when you register (for free), your child has additional options to customize the book. You can save your custom creations on your website "bookshelf" so that you can read them again.
MeeGenius! Kids Books are now available with the eight classic books free as an iTunes app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. Additional books, such as Jack and the Beanstalk, are available for about $2.
Reading Help for Parents from Reading Rockets
I love this interactive Kindle version of one of my students' all-time favorite stories.
All the Dr. Seuss stories are excellent because of their rhyming and sound repetition. Kids that master these kinds of sounds are well on their way to becoming excellent readers.
Using this interactive version, kids can read alone, read along, and touch words to learn new vocabulary.
Although it's not free, for just a few bucks, this version of The Cat in the Hat adds a whole new dimension for beginning readers.
More Reading Resources from Parents
Offers effective teaching strategies, activities, lessons, lesson plans, worksheets, exercises, skills, tests, assessments for reading comprehension, language arts, literacy, fluency, phonics and phonemic awareness for children, especially those with dyslexia and other reading difficulties.
Project Gutenberg has 36,000 free ebooks for Kindle, Android, iPad, iPhone.
Motivate your child through play. Find some great ideas for Reading Games which both you and your child will enjoy.
Discover a range of children's ebooks and activities online in the Oxford Owl Library. Books include Biff, Chip, Kipper and Floppy, plus Project X and Winnie the Witch.
More than 10 free online ebooks for beginning readers, with read-along audio option in English, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese.