11/22/11

TOS Review: The Reading Game

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I think I've said it before and I know I wasn't the  first. Children learn through play. A child's job is to learn and their work is play. Learning to read is hard. It's work. The Reading Game by Kenneth Hodkinson "transforms rote learning into a fast paced game" (Teacher Guide).

The Reading Game uses a concentration/memory game as fun way to drill whole words. You can use this product to teach phonic rules and patterns as well after the students have mastered the 180 word vocabulary. Suggestions for how to incorporate phonics into the game are included in the The Reading Game Rules and Teachers Guide.  Visit the How It Works page to learn more about the background and approach of this supplemental tool.

For 2 players ages 4+ (one player must be the tutor), The Reading Game retails for $24.95.  The Reading Game also provides teachers and home educators assessment tools/worksheets. They also offer FREE downloads.

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What I liked:  Supergirl enjoys playing the game and she is learning to read these words. I like that the goal of the game is to get students to read real books. I like that she is gaining confidence.  I loved seeing the look on her face when she read a sentence using the words she had learned.   She needs to have a multidiscipline approach to learning to read and this idea of “hard wiring the words into memory” works well.  I like the idea of having an assessment tool that I can use to test Supergirl before we start a new word pack and after we’ve worked with those words.

What I disliked: I’ll preface this with perhaps I don’t understand Mr. Hodkinson’s reasoning about punctuation. Perhaps, I’m just too used to seeing correct punctuation, but, in the end, the reality is I disagree with the idea that punctuation marks are “mysterious squiggles and dots.”   I found it more confusing to NOT have proper capitalization and punctuation and I’m concerned that it will be more confusing for Supergirl because she is familiar with punctuation marks and she is learning that every sentence starts with a capital.  I also didn’t care for the approach to phonics.

Thoughts from Supergirl: I like it.  I read.  I read sentences.  I play the game to learn to read. There is [the word] fun in the game.  There is and, and play in the game.  There’s to in the game.  [Mom’s note.  She is listing the words she has learned in Reading Game] It’s a good, good, good game.  And it’s fun to play it.  You read books about a cat.

My Thoughts: As a supplement this has been a great addition to our learning to read process.  I don’t think this approach would have worked well for BooBear when she was 4.  I think it works great to build fluency.  Drilling words using cards has been an effective way to help struggling readers build fluency.  With that in mind, it has been great for Supergirl who has learning issues and it would have been great for BooBear around age 7. Turtlegirl was an early reader and I think she would have done well with this at age 4.

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