This post may contain affiliate links. You may feel free to use them or not use them. It costs you no extra, but I make a small commission. (Please see my/our full disclosure for further information.)
Students with dyslexia often get overwhelmed easily while reading. They might have difficulty spelling, and doing tons of interventions and school work might be fatiguing for them. Dyslexia, or learning disabilities in the area of reading and writing, can be challenging for students to manage. A great way to help is to have a selection of games for kids with dyslexia in your back pocket.
Do your students with dyslexia often get fatigued? Is it a challenge to get them to stay focused and do meaningful work through their intervention times? To a degree that is totally normal.
Kids often feel tired after dealing with their typical classwork, and then we interventionists or 1:1 providers come in, asking for even more work and effort.
It can be draining, and for kids with dyslexia, we’re asking them to work on something they find difficult.
When you’re new or something or find it difficult, it’s normal for it to be draining.
Fun fact about me, I take Latin dance classes twice a week. Each class is an hour and a half and is done in a crowded room. After the first class, I thought I was going to die. My feet hurt from the heels, and I was covered in sweat.
The next day I was completely exhausted. My muscles hurt, and the last thing I wanted to do was go back to class.
However, after a few weeks of dancing, I was fine. Sure I was still sweaty and needed water. It is a workout after all, but I no longer thought I was going to just keel over in the studio. I had built up muscles and tolerance.
When we exercise muscles and get in shape, we become stronger. What used to be draining isn’t anymore. It’s the same for our students with dyslexia.
At first, your kids might find the interventions to be challenging and draining, but over time as they get better things will progress much faster.
That doesn’t mean we should push them too hard though when they are feeling tired. You want to be child-centered in your approach to what your kids need.
Sometimes as they’re building that stamina for reading and interventions, kids with dyslexia need a break, and that is where having some games in your back pocket is so vital.
Make sure to join my email list to access to my free resource library, which includes a goal tracking sheet. Measure how much your student’s stamina improves.
Click here for access to the free resource library.
Why Are Games Good
Games are wonderful for kids for so many reasons. To learn more about why I love games and get tips on teaching board games click here.
Games are great for kids with dyslexia because they can allow them to practice their reading and spelling skills in a more low key fun way.
Kids can even get so into games they forget they’re learning.
On top of that, games ask students to apply the skills they are learning outside of interventions and school work. It can help with generalization.
Lastly, and this reason is my favorite, it can help you enjoy time with your students and improve bonding.
Students are incredibly intuitive, and they can tell if you’re having a good time or if you don’t like them. If you play games with them, then you’re having fun with them, and that can improve your relationship with them.
If your kids like you, and look forward to seeing you, they’re going to work harder during intervention time, rather than dragging their feet and rushing through your sessions.
On top of that, what teacher doesn’t just feel like playing a game sometimes?
Games for Kids with Dyslexia
This list contains my favorite games, all of which can be played for free or with minimum supplies.
This one is obvious. But Hangman is a classic. All you really need is paper, a writing utensil, or a whiteboard and expo marker.
I like to give lessons on specific blends or sounds before we play, and then make the rule that my kiddos can only use words that contain that sound.
For example, we might cover the sounds “th” makes and then brainstorm a bunch of words containing “th.” Then end the session with a round of hangman, only using “th” sounds.
You can also customize this game so it’s not just a man hanging from a noose if that’s too violent. I have done, build the evil robot, or eat the cake. You just change what you draw.
Change one Letter
This one is even simpler than hangman. Start with a three or four-letter word. Try to pick something with a common ending or letter combination.
I often start with something like “BIKE.”
Then your student has to change one letter, and one letter only. They cannot add a letter or take away a letter. They have to change a letter.
For example, with BIKE you can change the B to an H and make HIKE.
Or you can change the I to an A and make BAKE.
Then the turn passes to the next kid in your group or back to you, and you have to change one letter in the new word, and so on and so on.
All my kids love this one, and some of them can go for ages and ages. It’s a great game to pull out when you have an extra five minutes at the end of the session.
This one might not be great if you have kids who have visual skills or need to improve their scanning abilities.
I always say pick one thing and work on it. And it’s not fair to ask a kid with dyslexia to play a game in an area they’re also weak in.
However, if your kids are good with visual skills and scanning abilities, word searches can be a great way to practice remembering spelling patterns.
I keep a few on hand that are appropriate for each of my students.
To see the word searches I use with sight words, click here.
You might be thinking, wait Sarah you said free or no supplies. Now you’re saying I have to go buy boggle?
No, you don’t. You can get a great online version for free, which lets you change the size of the board and even checks the kids’ words automatically.
For those of you who don’t know, boggle, the rules are you have to make a word, but the letters have to be touching on the board, and you can only use each letter once.
Click here for the free online website I use.
Be warned this one is addictive. I use my New York Times app mostly for playing spelling bee.
The way it works is there are seven letters arranged in a honeycomb pattern. There’s a letter in the center of the honeycomb that is your magic letter. You have to use it in every word.
You have to make as many words as you can using the letters in the honeycomb, using the magic letter in each word. There’s also a bonus for finding the panagram, which is the word that uses all seven letters.
I use this one for my more advanced kids, and they can really get in the groove.
The New York Times will let you play their version for free up to a “solid” rating before it will prompt you to pay to continue. I actually prefer for my kids to play the free version because the paid version can take forever.
Click here to see Spelling Bee.
Teaching kids with dyslexia can be stressful, but there are tons of fun games out there for you to play with your kiddos that will help you both feel more relaxed and have more enjoyable sessions.
Just relax and don’t be afraid to experiment with different games for different kids. Each student will enjoy and take to something different.
Find me on Instagram and send me a message about what your favorite game for kids with dyslexia is!