My kids are always wanting to play on the computer. My rule is that they have to actually LEARN something if they are going to be on there, particularly since we only have two computers to split between 4 kids!
A program that we were recently able to try is called Samson’s Classroom. It is a great game-based learning program for kids in grade K-5. It is run completely on the web, so there is nothing for you to download. The program includes Sight Words with Samson, Spelling with Samson, and Reading with Samson.
I really like the parent area of the website. It gives me a Scoreboard which breaks it down by which child is using it and which questions they have answered or games they have played. It tells me their accuracy on each one as well. This gives me a good idea where I need to work with them on each of the subjects. I am able to see if there are problems they are consistently having. A great way to work on those issues is to use the free worksheets that Samson’s Classroom has in its resources section. They also provide great free lesson plans with games to print out like Bingo or Flashcards to work on things offline as well.
Pricing ranges from $30 per year for one student to $50 per year for a family subscription for up to 4 students.
We enjoyed this program quite a bit. While I would not use it as a full curriculum for spelling or reading, I think it does make a really solid supplement. I enjoy being able to customize it by adding in our own spelling lists or I can use the spelling lists pre-loaded by grade level. I like being able to let the kids play and basically run free on the site and then checking on it later so I can see how they did without nagging or being too overbearing while they play! I recommend this program to other families seeking to find a good supplemental, online program for their language arts curriculum. Sometimes trying the material they’re learning in new ways can really make it stick!