Black Friday Shopping: Put Games that Improve Reading in Your Cart

Black Friday Shopping:  Put Games that Improve Reading in Your Cart

Black Friday deal shopping? Educational board games make great holiday presents and bring families closer through spending more time together. Purchasing and playing games that can help your child improve their reading skills is one “deal” you can’t put a price on!

One game that our family continues to play over and over is Scattergories. Basically you are provided with a random list of categories, a letter of the alphabet is chosen by rolling a die, and a timer is started (to provide pressure) while you fill in answers to the categories. Your goal is to fill in an answer for each category on the list that begins with the assigned letter before the timer runs out. The answer you use must be at least a little unique so as not to match with anyone else playing –otherwise, your answers will cancel each other out.

A few months ago we played Scattergories with the player’s ages ranging from 9 through 70! We got such a wide range of answers that it made for some interesting discussions and a few laughs! For example, for a boy’s name my 6th grader wrote “Roderick” and his grandmother wrote “Ricky Ricardo.”

As a reading tutor, my fellow teachers and I liked to give the students a break from the battery of tests they frequently took by having a game day every once in a while. There is real educational value inside those cardboard boxes; not to mention the ability to illustrate social skills- like taking turns, sharing, and good sportsmanship.

My colleague liked to use Story Cubes and Apples to Apples with her students. One of my favorites was Boggle. I was always thrilled to see the students’ reaction and interest in playing the games and liked observing how they improved at word building and thinking skills over time. I always tried to encourage them to play them at home with their family. Give those “remote controls and video game controllers a break.” Their enthusiasm for the board games reminds me, that even though we all love our technology and video games- we still need to make time for those “old school” games that require social interaction and thinking skills.

Here’s a list of some to put in your shopping cart:
Scrabble Flash
Apples to Apples
Rory’s Story Cubes

Many of these games have ‘junior’ versions for the younger set. According to fellow ChicagoNow blogger, Shannon Younger – it is National Game and Puzzle week. Read her thoughts and suggestions on games from her recent blog post. Good luck with your shopping and don’t forget the board games.

If you want more reading tips for younger children, you can visit my past blog post, Help Your Kindergartner Learn to Read.

Do you have any other games that you can suggest? What games do you and your family like to play? Please tweet, comment, share, or contact me at


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  • Great column. I enjoy scattergories not to build vocabulary but to keep it. Things you replace? H? hips

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    My name is Lisa Stiegman and I have been a Chicago area resident all my life. Besides being the mother of three children, I have been a writer, editor, and teacher.

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