Sunday, November 27, 2011

Learning with the Reading Game

Basic specs of the product: The Reading Game was invented by Kenneth Hodkinson of Worldy Wise. It can be purchased for $24.95. There are woksheets and assessment sheets for use with the game, or you can buy it and just play it for fun. Either way, you learn something. You may check out a clip of how the game is played here. The stories are innocent stories of animals; for example, the first one is about a young skunk who is not included in activies because of his appearance. However, he finds companions among the cat popualtion and becomes their defender. It was cute. Other books focus on the characters of  a bear, an unicorn, a zebra, a snake, and a penguin.

What we did with the Reading Game: I assigned one of the older kids to play the Reading Game with Firefly, our four-year-old pre-reader. Ladybug, age 8, and Cowboy, age 6, are both reading, though still have some trouble spots on non-phoenetic words and some of the high frequency words off of the Dolch lists.
Each game contains six themed books, playing cards to drill the words in each of the books, and there are assessment worksheets for FREE! online.

I felt that this game would be a fun way for them to strengthen their abilities with the dolch words since 54-60% percent of the words covered in the books of the Reading Game are present on the 100 most frequently used words list. By the completion of all of the games, you student should know 180 words by sight. I think that if you worked it into your daily schedule, you might find a child willing to read at an earlier age (their suggested range is 4 and up). I also firmly believe that most anyone learns best by doing, and even more thoroughly if they are in a teaching role, not to mention instilling confidence in my early readers by assigning them reading tasks at or just below their level. 

As Firefly's word skills improved, 
they added sets of cards to their memory game...
Cowboy is trying to look sad 
(not very successfully-it took ten tries to 
get a picture without him laughing)

The Three Amigos enjoyed playing the memory game together...
and Ladybug read the book to Firefly afterwards

Here's what we found: Playing the game two to three times a week as a reading activity, alternating Cowboy and Ladybug as the tutors for Ladybug, not only gave Ladybug a much anticipated introduction to being a "big kid" who is learning to read, but gave the other two an excellent review of sight vocabulary in an entertaining form. They all three liked the game, and never had any conflicts or difficulties with playing it. I did not have to hover over them and supervise...just check in from time to time and review any words they might be uncertain about. In fact, Ladybug took charge quite naturally and guided the others in their reading skills if I was unable to be there.

An example from Book One...the Skunk Book
(Firefly loved this since her brother tells the kids
stories about animals living in a woods and
Firefly is the "Skunkie." )

Just one issue I should mention: One thing I would like to point out is that the standard punctuation and capitalization rules are not followed in these books. Certain two syllable words, such as can-not, were presented in a way that simplified them for early readers and punctuation was not used (line and page breaks indicated breaks in reading). Other programs we have used in the past, including our favorite one, use non-standard rules early on in the process, adding the usual rules as knowledge and ability progresses. I do not have a problem with this, though some folks might.

The Three Amigos playing the memory version of the Reading Game

Did Mom Like It?: Yes. I felt the stories were sweet and simple, yet engaging...not boring. The kids liked the pictures and the fact that once they played  the game, they could get out the book and take turns reading it (though Firefly has not progressed to reading much of Book One, she is pointing out words on the game cards more accurately.) They played well together with little supervision. It was nice to have such a useful means of occupying them.

Yay! She found a match!!

 Would I recommend it to others?: I prefer purchasing educational, but fun, games for my family, and this one definitely fits the bill. It is simple to integrate into our school day. It would be an ideal activity for a family who uses Workboxes, or one who likes to play games and such on a "Fun Friday."

They also found out they could make their own sentences 
using the word cards

The older kids played "Go Fish" with the cards 
from the harder books...These are from Book Five
The Unicorn Book

If your child is in a rut with earning to read, laying off of the formal reading lessons and "playing" this game might just be the ticket to get him interested enough to pursue reading in earnest. I feel blessed to have received this game and appreciate how much the kids have enjoyed it.



Disclaimer: We received this product for the purposes of reviewing it here on this blog. All opinions you see here are my honest impressions of the product when we reviewed it. If you have questions I did not answer, please feel free to contact me or comment below. 

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