I was so excited to try The Reading Game with my kids. Until just recently, Jacob (5) really wanted nothing to do with reading a book. I thought "Hey, this is a game. Maybe I can "trick" him into reading!"
The game is very simple. You play Memory with 5 words at a time. After playing 6 sets of words, the student will have learned 30 words and is ready to read the first book. That book, Skunk, uses only those 30 words. From there, you move on to the first set for the second book, where the student will learn another 5 words and so on. The cards and books are animal and color-coded to match the books, making the whole game pretty self-explanatory. By the end of the game, the student will have memorized 180 words. Almost half of them are among the 100 most commonly used words in the English language.
The Reading Game, created by the author of Wordly Wise, is sight word based. Since Jacob already knows how to read phonetically, he sounded the words out to read them (except for the true sight words.) Then, we worked on learning them by sight and reading the words more quickly. Alyssa (3) played along with us. Even though I wasn't overly concerned about her learning the words just yet, she was able to recognize when she found matching words.
Jacob is the type of kid who is going to prove you wrong if you tell him he can't do something. You tell him he's not strong enough to pick up a heavy box, he'll try to lift it. You tell him he can't run faster than you, he'll challenge you to a race. You tell him he can't read a book until he knows all the words, he'll learn the words as quickly as possible. He did enjoy playing the game (what kid doesn't love playing Memory?), but for him it was more about the prize at the end - the privilege of reading a new book!
The exciting part for me was hearing him read these words in other books. Seeing him put the game into practice ensured me that he truly was learning these words by sight not just knowing that these letters make this word in this book, kinda thing. Over all, the speed and accuracy of his reading have improved.
The Reading Game retails for $24.95 and is intended for pre-readers, struggling readers, or those needing a little extra practice. Jacob did not feel like it was a chore to learn new words, but instead enjoyed learning and memorizing words and reading the special books. The Reading Game is a wonderful fit for our family. I know that we will play it many more times, especially as the younger children grow. I already told Alyssa I think she may be ready to play it all on her own. Jacob was not happy to hear he was going to share "his" game. Must be a winner!
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* I was given a copy of this game in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.