Middle Schoolers Can Power Up Language Arts Skills With These Games

In seventh and eighth grade, students lay the foundation for skills they will master in high school and beyond. Learning how to read critically and write succinctly will set your child up for success as she takes on a heavier workload and begins thinking about college.

If she needs extra help with language arts, introduce her to these engaging videos and games. They’re fun, entertaining, and educational — the best of all worlds.

“Word Game Time”

“Word Game Time” has compiled a wide selection of interactive language arts games for students. The link above is specifically for seventh graders, but other grade levels are available. The simple, animated games range from funny and amusing (“Capital Penguin”, “Giraffe Karts”, Owl Planes) to serious and challenging (“Crossword Puzzle”, “Code Breaking”, “Traveler IQ Challenge”).

“Boggle Bash”

“Boggle Bash” is a slightly-adapted online version of the classic game “Boggle.” In the original word game, players square off against one another. “Boggle Bash,” in comparison, offers a cooperative, multi-player platform. Players must form words using a set number of letters. Similar to “Scrabble” and “Words with Friends,” “Boggle Bash” is an excellent vocabulary-building game for students of all ages.

“Crash Course Literature”

One of the greatest online literary resources in recent years, “Crash Course Literature” was created by a fantastic animation team and the acclaimed YA novelist John Green, author of “The Fault in Our Stars.” The site’s videos mostly cover individual works and give students an in-depth understanding of the classics, from “Romeo and Juliet” to “The Great Gatsby.” While many of the works covered are part of high school curricula, there is also a selection of videos on how and why we read, as well as poetry lessons. Excellent for advanced students and literature lovers of all ages.

Banned Books on YouTube

Often one of the hardest challenges in teaching kids to read is convincing them that reading matters. YouTube has compiled a range of videos in support of Banned Books Week. These videos, called Read Outs, feature people selecting banned books to read from and discuss. The short videos offer eye-opening insights into the importance of literature. Readers range from authors like Lois Lowry and Sherman Alexie to actors like Jeff Bridges and comic book legend Stan Lee.

Utah Education Network

The Utah Education Network has amassed a wealth of resources, and the site features a group of interactive games geared toward helping students build vocabulary and master language arts skills. From “New York Times Crossword Puzzles” to Analogy games to “Beat the Clock Apostrophe,” the activities here are both fun and educational. Students choose which category they want to work on: grammar, word games, vocabulary, or writing/spelling.

"Free Rice"

"Free Rice" is a simple game. A multiple-choice question appears on the screen, and if students answer correctly, they get a grain of rice in their bowl. The more correct answers they produce, the more rice they receive. The cool part is that the rice is real. Free Rice donates actual rice to empoverished people around the world. Students can track how much rice they have accumulated via correct answers, and they can see how much they are helping those in need. "Free Rice" features different categories, such as grammar, vocabulary, and literature, as well as various levels of difficulty.