Earobics has developed a series of educational games gathered into their “GameGoo” resource. Earobics® is a program sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, but other than a copyright footer on the site, there isn’t a major corporate feel to the site. Access is free, and there are no ads. The games are intended for 5+, although reviews recommended ages 6-8.
Fearless Frieda is a spelling game, in which children type out the spellings of simple words. The words in a set rhyme, and as a letter is typed out the character makes the phonological sound for it.
Alien Scavenger Hunt Letter Bugs has a similar format, that asks students to spell simple words and then sound out each letter as they go. In this game, children click on letters as they flash by, and they have the opportunity to select letters out of order (if they know “cut” ends with a t, and t is the first letter to fly by, they can select it immediately).
Wizards and Pigs Poetry Pickle introduces children to poetry, including rhyme, rhythm, and alliteration. Children find goblins, who use one of these styles. After identifying which tool the goblin uses, they can move on to the next room.
These games, along with the many others, provide children with ways to practice early literacy skills, from identifying capital and lowercase letters, to learning rhymes and spellings.
The site says that GameGoo provides educational games that “help students develop early reading and language skills… The games are also based solidly on education and literacy research.”
I didn’t find the games engaging. I understand how they would be helpful for literacy skills, but they felt like educational games; it wasn’t subtle that they wanted children to be able to spell certain words, learn how to use their keyboard, etc. It definitely seems like more of a tool for educators rather than a game children would choose to play on their own. The audio quality of the recordings was poor as well, so when words were read out, it was difficult to tell exactly what the characters were saying. For a site that relies heavily on improving phonological awareness, there’s a disconnect here.
SpeechGadget recommended the site, saying that “Many speech/language clinics and schools use Earobics software to target phonemic awareness and auditory processing skills. I use Earobics software both at work and at home with my children.” http://www.speechgadget.com/2011/02/game-goo-for-speechlanguage-therapy.html