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10 Best Word & Spelling Games for Kids Rated in 2019

last updated Jun 03, 2019

Reading comprehension skills provide important, lifelong benefits. Learning to read, write, and spell can be challenging though, especially at first. If you’re looking for a game that will improve your child’s vocabulary and spelling abilities, we applaud you! Games are a fun, far less-stressful way to help children develop many of the academic skills with which they struggle. Below, we’ve collected ten of our favorite spelling and word games for you and your little ones to enjoy together!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 21 hrs of research

icon
Bananagrams
90.3/100 our score
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
94
Ease of Use
87
Effectiveness
85
Bananagrams
Why is it better?

Super portable

Easy to learn

No paper, pencil, points, or gameboard needed

Pace can be as fast or slow as you want

No need to wait for your turn

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Bananagrams
Test Winner: Bananagrams
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
19
Researched Sources
Hours Researching
21
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
14
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Lyndsey Fosher:

A fun way to get your little one excited about spelling is through word games! We have the highest rated word and spelling games on our top ten list that your families will love. We also converted this guide to our new layout.

Sorting Options
Educational Value Entertainment Value Ease of Use Effectiveness By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
94%
Ease of Use
87%
Effectiveness
85%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$10.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
94%
Ease of Use
85%
Effectiveness
81%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$14.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
92%
Ease of Use
85%
Effectiveness
82%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$8.99
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
90%
Ease of Use
85%
Effectiveness
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$24.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
90%
Ease of Use
85%
Effectiveness
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$5.56
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
90%
Ease of Use
85%
Effectiveness
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$9.99
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Educational Value
95%
Entertainment Value
90%
Ease of Use
85%
Effectiveness
80%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$14.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Educational Value
91%
Entertainment Value
90%
Ease of Use
84%
Effectiveness
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$14.88
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.5
Educational Value
90%
Entertainment Value
85%
Ease of Use
80%
Effectiveness
75%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$5.95
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
Educational Value
90%
Entertainment Value
84%
Ease of Use
80%
Effectiveness
73%
Price Comparison Last Updated (20.06.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
In Depth Review Top 10
  • Bananagrams
  • Apples to Apples Junior
  • SET Enterprises Quiddler
  • Not Parent Approved: A Hilarious Card Game
  • Level A Flash Cards
  • Learning Resource Pop For Sight
  • Little Treasures Matching
  • Scrabble Junior
  • Gamewright Rory's Story Cubes
  • ThinkFun Zingo Sight
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Word & Spelling Games Reviewed

1. Bananagrams

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.3
Bananagrams
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
94
Ease of Use
87
Effectiveness
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$10.99

Super portable

Easy to learn

No paper, pencil, points, or gameboard needed

Pace can be as fast or slow as you want

No need to wait for your turn

Small parts posse choking hazard

Easy to lose tiles over time

Bananagrams might be a hard word to write but it's a classic, as fun to say as it is to play. You'll see this cute yellow banana bag hanging around daycares, libraries, coffee shops, and basically everywhere. Players collect a certain number of face down letter tiles in the center pile to start the game. Then each player flips over their tiles, creates words, and connects them crossword-style.

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Educational Value

Not only does the game teach rules, word recognition, pattern building, and spelling, but it includes checking for mistakes. All the adults and kids can double check for misspellings as a built-in aspect of the game. Plus there are no penalties for any mistakes.

Entertainment Value

Eventually, all the tiles will be used up and the first player to finish says, "Bananas!" At that point, everyone checks for any mistakes. If the first player to finish made no mistakes she wins! Buying this game for your home will ensure there's a familiar favorite for any get-together, large or small.

Ease of use

This provides a safe context for everyone to learn. And unlike say Scrabble, where players keep their letters private, in Bananagrams, everyone sees all that is going on. Peeking isn't a problem so kids can learn from the adults in case they are stuck.

Effectiveness

The game is real-time, no turn-taking here, which means there is always something to keep everyone busy.

2. Apples to Apples Junior

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Apples to Apples Junior
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
94
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
81
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.99

576 total cards

Helps expand vocabulary

Works on correlating adjectives with nouns

Easy rules to follow

Kid-friendly content

Pop culture heavy

Not as many red cards so it’s easy to cycle through

With 576 cards, Apples to Apples Junior provides near-endless opportunities for matches. The game revolves around one player drawing a Green Apple card and other players dealing one Red Apple card from their hand. The player that drew the Green Apple card then picks the Red Apple card they feel best correlates. It’s a great game to expand vocabulary skills. Green Apples are descriptors (adjectives) such as Crunchy, Smelly, Tasty, etc. The Red Apple cards are nouns such as food items, animals, or clothing articles. You can play anonymously, or let each player attempt to convince the judge that their card is the best match.

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Educational Value

Great for ages nine and up, this game can be played in larger groups at a party, or in smaller groups amongst just the immediate family.

Entertainment Value

Apples to Apples Junior promotes critical thinking during gameplay. It asks children to categorize as well as to expand their vocabulary. Additionally, having to explain why their card is the best pick allows them to work on expressing themselves and forming concrete reasoning and arguments.

Ease of use

The first player to win four Red Apple cards (rounds) wins the game! This game features easy rules and instructions and is a wonderful way to get kids thinking, comparing, and learning more words.

Effectiveness

The adult Apples to Apples game is a hit and has inspired many other card-matching games of a similar nature. This version guarantees that all the content is kid-friendly and that the vocabulary won’t be too frustrating for young players.

3. SET Enterprises Quiddler

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.5
SET Enterprises Quiddler
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
92
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
82
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$8.99

Quick and easy to learn and play

Very portable

Teaches language and math skills

Good for kids and adults

Super popular

Quiddler dictionary not included

Recommended ages 8 and up

Winner of 20 awards, Quiddler is a word based card game consisting of word formation over eight rounds (four rounds in the mini version). Each round, players get one more card dealt, so words can get bigger, or they can form more words during a turn. Letter cards have point values with higher values for less commonly used letters.

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Educational Value

Not only do kids learn word formation and proper spelling, but they get a secret education in probabilities. Like Scrabble tiles, Quiddler's point system indicates letter frequency in the English language. Point values also teach them math skills, while taking a new card from the draw pile or the discard pile is a great lesson in statistics.

Entertainment Value

The player with the most points wins. Since bonus points get awarded for both most words, and largest word, kids with smaller vocabularies don't necessarily have a disadvantage

Ease of use

Every turn you get to discard a card too, maybe helping or hindering another player. It may pay to be skilled, but don't rule out luck for the last minute victory.

Effectiveness

Is the draw pile getting low? That could be good or bad depending on what letters people have played. This game is deceptively simple because it actually contains a lot of important everyday skills!

4. Not Parent Approved: A Hilarious Card Game

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Not Parent Approved: A Hilarious Card Game
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
90
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$24.99

Short or long games are possible

Smaller sized cards for kids

Ultra-portable

Absolutely hilarious

Easy for anyone and everyone to play

Some references may go over everyone's head

Reading required

If you've heard of Cards Against Humanity, you should know it has a lot of things you shouldn't repeat around children. But it is very very funny. This kids version is totally acceptable, albeit with lines like, "For the science fair I made...Gymnastics leotards that ride up your butt." If you have any concerns, you can always remove any specific inappropriate cards.

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Educational Value

This game includes lots of informal, unusual, and pop culture reference words that kids might have heard but never actually seen in print. It's a hilarious way to expand vocabulary and general knowledge. Kids also build social skills.

Entertainment Value

One player decides which he thinks is the funniest or makes the most sense. The player with the most accepted cards at the end of the game is the winner!

Ease of use

The best players have to think like the player who is choosing the winning card that round. Would your younger brother's favorite card be the same as your grandmother's? You'll have to strategize and read people to win.

Effectiveness

So why is the game so silly? Reminiscent of Apples to Apples, a topic card gets played each round. Players finish the sentence on the topic card with one of their own answer cards.

5. Level A Flash Cards

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Level A Flash Cards
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
90
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$5.56

Simple game, no need for a rulebook even

Ultra-portable design

Rounded edges for easy sorting

Opaque so you can't see through the card

Use it to also build sentences

No game rules

As per the Dolch and Fry reading lists, this pack contains the 108 most common basic sight words. There are 56 cards in total, all double-sided and made from thick cardstock kids won’t be able to see through. The corners on these cards are rounded to allow for quick sorting. This pack is most suitable for children ages 4-8.

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Educational Value

Flash cards are perhaps the fastest and easiest way to build vocabulary and reading skills. Sight words are especially tricky for new readers so the only way to learn them is practice, practice, practice.

Entertainment Value

Kids can test themselves or a teacher can show these to a whole class. Build your own game around this portable card set.

Ease of use

Most of the included words are one syllable (occasionally two) and all of them are terms that will frequent your child’s literature no matter what they pick up. As a “Level A” pack, it is geared towards very basic words. When your children are ready for a challenge, level them up to the next set of vocabulary flashcards.

Effectiveness

The best way to get the kids ready for reading is repetition. This card pack is a great added resource combined with other games and study materials.

6. Learning Resource Pop For Sight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Learning Resource Pop For Sight
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
90
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$9.99

Durable materials

Simple concept open to more additions

92 sight words in one box

Very portable design

One of the many options

More luck than skill based

Are and our; two words with two completely different meanings that nonetheless sound the same. They are otherwise known as homonyms, and they are a big problem for anyone learning to write English.

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Educational Value

Pop is a series of games and this one builds literacy, increases vocabulary and improves fluency. You can even be a stickler for pronunciation if you want.

Entertainment Value

Sight words are particularly tricky words we use a lot in English but that are very difficult to sound out. The better your child knows her sight words, the better off she will be learning to read quickly and effortlessly.

Ease of use

Instead of using a chalkboard though, use popcorn! Players say the name on the popcorn cards correctly. If you a draw a "Pop" though, say goodbye to your card stash. The player with the most cards wins.

Effectiveness

Pop is very simple and there lots of great modifications players have made to tailor it to their liking. And if you buy any other Pop games, you can mix things up and keep it fresh.

7. Little Treasures Matching

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.5
Little Treasures Matching
Amazon Link
Educational Value
95
Entertainment Value
90
Ease of Use
85
Effectiveness
80
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.99

Multimedia system helps to keep kid's attention

Easy to use pieces

The colorful, fun, artsy design looks great

Adjustable difficulty settings

Designed mostly for preschoolers

The Little Treasures Matching Game is a great option for little ones just beyond their toddler years. It involves blocks, pictures, and letters, giving children visual cues as well as something tactile to hold onto and stimulate their little brains. This preschool-level game challenges memory skills, strategic thinking, word recognition, and spelling. The blocks help advance hand-eye coordination and playing with friends also increases sociability!

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Educational Value

Whether you have a tactile learned or a visual learner, this game is helpful for many different little ones. It promotes hand-eye coordination, memorization, word recognition, strategic thinking, and spelling skills.

Entertainment Value

We like that this game has many different components to facilitate learning. Use whatever tactic teaches best: pictures to start and then calling out words for kids to spell on the fly as they progress.

Ease of use

Meant for two or more players ages three and up, this game includes eight letter cubes, 30 picture-cards, and sixty word-cards, all with basic three and four letter words. Children work to match the objects to their names using the flashcards and letter cubes.

Effectiveness

The cardholder covers the name of the picture, allowing children to guess for themselves before the answer is revealed. Or, use the deck as flashcards!

8. Scrabble Junior

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Scrabble Junior
Amazon Link
Educational Value
91
Entertainment Value
90
Ease of Use
84
Effectiveness
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$14.88

Two sides that fit different ability levels

Gets the kids ready for the big kid version

Made of soft materials

Flashy and colorful style Cardboard tiles don't last as long as the hard versions

The playmat is not as stable or durable

Cardboard tiles don't last as long as the hard versions

The playmat is not as stable or durable

Scrabble might be the biggest, best word game out there so you got to give a standing ovation to anyone who pulls off a good kids version. Well not only did they make a kids version, but they gave it two sides. Why? Well, every parent is faced with the challenge of adjusting the game difficulty for their kids as they grow. Scrabble Junior gives you one game board side for the tots to learn on and the other once they can form their own words!
.

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Educational Value

Scrabble is classic for a reason. Its competitive puzzle-solving tests vocabulary, spelling, strategy, and creativity. The Junior version does just the same but is much more approachable for kids. The whole family can play the advanced side of the board. But if the kiddos are just learning to read, the handy intro side teaches word formation with handy illustrations too.

Entertainment Value

The beginner side includes pictures and some key letters to fill in. Players get points for each word they complete. The advanced side looks more familiar. A blank board is ready for any words

Ease of use

The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. Now you might recall the crushing weight of a "Q" tile with no "U" insight in regular old Scrabble. But in this Junior version there is just one tile for that, "QU" to make things a bit easier.

Effectiveness

With two sides of play it's a great way both to teach the young ones basic reading and spelling skills, or play a simple word game with the whole family. We like how much thought the designers put into this one, or actually two games.

9. Gamewright Rory's Story Cubes

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.5
Gamewright Rory's Story Cubes
Amazon Link
Educational Value
90
Entertainment Value
85
Ease of Use
80
Effectiveness
75
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$5.95

NO RULES! Well...hardly any rules.

Design your own experience.

Totally open-ended

Super portable

Super easy to learn, just start playing!

You get what you put in

Every game of Rory's starts the same: "Once upon a time…" But that's about the only thing that will ever be the same. The game includes nine oversized dice, each with six unique images to spark your imagination into weaving a tale.

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Educational Value

Ever feel like kids have too many rules to follow these days? Rory's awards creativity and sheer imagination over all else. With a roll of these story cubes, kids get a chance to build their own story instead of watching someone else's on the TV.

Entertainment Value

In this game, nobody loses. It is a free space to have fun, enjoy, and be creative with one another as a social experience.

Ease of use

Will the story end up all clunky and awkward? Or can you child pull off a short story that is as funny as it is original? The game comes with a handy guide to give some direction. Compete with one another or get everyone to join together and craft a classic you won't ever forget.

Effectiveness

Rory's Story Cubes is simplicity on a Zen level. Not only can they prompt unforgettable social events for the whole family, but they get used as icebreakers for work retreats and even story ideas to cure writer's block!

10. ThinkFun Zingo Sight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
81.8
ThinkFun Zingo Sight
Amazon Link
Educational Value
90
Entertainment Value
84
Ease of Use
80
Effectiveness
73
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99

Made for kids 7 and under

Durable parts

Fun and educational

Visual cues for words

Expandable design

The base set has only 24 words total

Don't put the cards upside down in the Zinger!

There are all sorts of Zingo sets out there but Sight Words contains all the most commonly used words in English. By learning these words first, kids are way ahead when it comes to reading their first book. Zingo makes learning them a game by combining Bingo with a neat word dispenser: the "Zinger!"

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Educational Value

Said is not spelled S-E-D. But how should a child know that? Zingo does a great job at connecting these weirdly written hieroglyphs to their spoken word equivalents. The game builds concentration, vocabulary, and word recognition

Entertainment Value

If you see a word that matches your sheet, call it out! You get the word and filling in your whole sheet first wins you the game

Ease of use

. Once kids are old enough, they can play it themselves, no adult required. And since it's geared towards the youngest crowd they learn valuable gaming skills like social interaction, turn order, and of course no cheating.

Effectiveness

This game is specifically designed for teaching those young ones the fundamentals they need to get reading. It's educational through and through.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Educational Value

Learning is such a breeze when kids are enjoying themselves and isn't it just THE WORST when it is boring? All of these games are educational and fun. Most of the games on our list do require at least some reading skill and all of them help encourage social interaction. These games can also help your child think more creatively as they challenge their growing problem-solving abilities.

Entertainment Value

While a few games here don't have many or any rules, others have a lot to make the gameplay rewarding. There is no wrong way to go here. We believe children need both open-ended games to exercise those rambunctious imaginations and stricter rule sets to keep things fair in a competitive context.

Ease of Use

Fun and educational are the primary criteria for all of these games. We want kids to learn, but we know it can get a bit boring and difficult. After that, we considered simplicity balanced out with the game's longevity. Easy to learn is good but it isn't perfect if the game is the same after the 10th playthrough.

Effectiveness

You can't beat simplicity. Even for adult games, a simpler game can often be the first choice among many possibilities. Junior games always do that work for you. Every great game balances luck and skill and we took those factors into consideration too. Rolling dice is simple, but it is not really skillful. Always look for a game's age category and total play time. Most games print them right on the box.

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Parents, Did You Know?

Games like Tapple and Bananagrams have a lot of replay value making them fun time and time again. But other games are really specific to early ages like preschoolers. Either way, people rave about kids loving all of these games from the simplest to most advanced.

Parents, Did You Know?

For instance, sight words are essential to learning for reading but they are just plain tough. Many are non-phonetic which means they cannot be sounded out in order to be spelled properly. Several games we found magically make these tricky terms fun to memorize.

Other Factors to Consider

Emotional Development

Word games are a wonderful way for families to bond. Game night is a great way to get children away from screens and explore their critical thinking and creative skills. Not only will your house be filled with laughter but these will be the memories that your children will remember growing up.

Social Development

Word and spelling games are perfect to get your children excited about learning. They're a a way for your child to enhance their vocabulary and reading skills. Your child will be able to tell stories, learn a different way of spelling all while having fun as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

q: Is this game going to be fun for my child?

a:

The secret of making games fun for individuals is making new rules. A lot of game designers are happy about such game modifications. Sometimes they include different game modes in the rulebook. Other times, families and even kids themselves make up rules to keep things more balanced or moving quickly. Feel free to experiment! A boring game can become amazing with a few simple changes.

q: How do I play this game? Are we playing it right?

a:

Games come in many forms. Some simple toddler or pre-K word games don't come with many rules. With these, the plan is to really tailor it to your child. It may take several tries before kids master the concept of turns, plays, points, or word orders. You may have to wait before your child reaches the appropriate maturity and try introducing it to them again. When in doubt, consult the manufacturer's website, game blogs or online videos. Watching is always the easiest way to learn from our experience.

q: What age level is this for? Is that a requirement?

a:

Not at all. Almost all games include an age requirement because of the reading and math skills required to play. But those are just guidelines. Does your child read a year ahead of her age? Then she might be able to play it earlier.

q: How many people can play at a time?

a:

This really depends on the game. Some games are very strict about the number of players because it changes to core mechanics of the game. For other games, it really doesn't matter, that would include any that say 1+ without an upper limit. On rare occasions, the stated number of player can be overly optimistic. Things can get really unwieldy around the dinner table with more than six players.

q: How long does this game last?

a:

In terms of the longevity of the pieces, that all depends on specifics for each game. But developers know kids are harder on games than adults. In terms of the number of playthroughs for a game, it depends on what the game was designed for. Sight word games might only last kids a few years before they advance beyond them. You can always add more rules to keep it fresh. Many games include modified rules for changing things up. Beyond that, check for game expansions packs or new sets.

q: What about electronic word games? My kids are always on their phones!

a:

Any form of word and spelling game can have a positive effect on your child’s language and spelling skills. There are many games available for free for both Android and Apple smart devices such as phones and tablets that can give your child an opportunity to learn in environments where traditional games may be difficult to play such as the in the car. The downside to electronic games is that they are typically designed only for a single player and remove the important social aspects that come with playing together. For this reason, screen time should be limited to no more than two hours per day and only used when other multiplayer formats would not be possible

q: We finished the game and now my kids are bored. Where do we go from here?

a:

The fun thing about the word and spelling games is that they never really end. Many of the games on this list have expansions or add-ons available that can add high skill levels or extra challenges. Adult word games like the popular Cards Against Humanity are also on the rise and can keep the fun going while past your children’s school age. Some adult-themed games can be easily modified to suit children by simply changing a rule or removing a few pieces but make sure to check the instructions and reviews to determine if a game is suitable for your child prior to purchase.

Contributed/Written by Collin Pointon

Sources

  1. Kelly B. Cartwright, Insights From Cognitive Neuroscience: The Importance of Executive Function for Early Reading Development and Education, Scientific Study
  2. Cunningham, Anne E. Stanovich, Keith E. , Early reading acquisition and its relation to reading experience and ability 10 years later. , Peer Reviewed Article
  3. Muter, Valerie Hulme, Charles Snowling, Margaret J. Stevenson, Jim, Phonemes, Rimes, Vocabulary, and Grammatical Skills as Foundations of Early Reading Development: Evidence From a Longitudinal Study. , Scientific Study
  4. Child Devlopment Staff, Types of Play, Informative Article
  5. Raising Children Network, Literacy activities for children, Informative Article