Whole Class Reading Games

Students have to master many skills to become good readers. They begin with alphabet knowledge and awareness of sounds. Next, they learn how to blend sounds to make words in order to begin reading and comprehending text.

Teachers use a variety of instructional techniques to help their class master these essential skills including direct instruction and guided practice. Whole group games are also effective because they give the teacher a chance to observe the class applying what they have learned. These games also help teachers target students who may need additional help.

  1. Alphabet

    • Kindergarten students begin reading instruction with letter naming and recognition activities. Teachers usually have the class recite the alphabet every day and may also use flash cards to review with the whole group.

      To add some variety to this routine, teachers can help students improve their letter-naming skills with fun classroom games. Mrs. Alphabet.com is an educator's resource website with ideas, printable sheets, and interactive games that teach the alphabet.

      Musical Alphabet Chairs is one suggested whole group activity. It is just like the traditional game, except that the teacher tapes letters to the back of the chairs. When the music stops, the teacher calls out a letter. If a child is sitting in the chair with that letter, they leave the game.


    • Fluency is the ability to read words accurately, quickly, and expressively. Children become fluent readers with frequent practice and exposure to words. One way to do this is for the teacher to make overhead transparencies of selected passages from stories and have the class read them chorally for several days until they can read them without difficulty.

      A whole group game that teaches students how to decode (sound out) words quickly is called "Quick Erase." The teacher writes a word on the board or overhead projector like "wet." The class sounds the word out together. Then the teacher erases the letter "w" and writes "g" in its place. The class sounds out the new word. The teacher continues to replace letters and make new words. This game teaches students spelling patterns and word families and builds fluency and vocabulary.


    • Comprehension is one of the main goals of reading instruction. Students have to understand what they read by using strategies like predicting, inferring, questioning, and summarizing.

      To reinforce these skills, teachers can play games with the entire class like Book Jeopardy. The teacher is the game show "host" who gives statements about a book that the class has read. The students take turns answering in the form of a question.

      For example, the teacher says, "He was a imaginative boy who got others to whitewash the fence for him." The student that is called on will say, "Who is Tom Sawyer?"

      This game is effective for upper elementary students. It is listed on Reading-Activities.com, a reading resource site for teachers. Other suggested activities on this website are Game Shows and Story Bingo. In Game Shows, three students choose a character from a book or story and represent that character by answering either "yes" or "no" to questions posed by their classmates. The class has to guess the name of the character.

      In Story Bingo, students make the game cards by writing information in each square that pertains to a book that the class has read; information like the setting, characters, conflict, and author. The teacher writes their responses on index cards, folds them, puts them in a bucket and then plays Bingo with the class.

      Game Shows and Story Bingo are fun for older students and allow them to practice strategies necessary for comprehension.

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