Games For Reading or No Reading At All

In third grade our daughter’s teacher who had been with her for 3 years called us into the school to go over Stephanie’s test results. Stef was reading at 12th grade level! Nine years above where her teacher expected. Her teacher wanted to know how this could happen. I didn’t know. I had created a series of games for reading, but just so we could get Stephanie to love reading. It didn’t occur to me that she would gain so much skill so fast.

Three years earlier, the five year old, Stephanie, announced, “I’m sorry mommy I’m not going to learn to read.” She had failed once too many times to sound out non-phonetic words and she just didn’t want to try anymore. Right then I knew that we had two battles: having reading win her heart and resolving the craziness of a language that has 13 vowel sounds, but only 5 vowel letters. (Vowels are in every word.)

Solving the craziness problem took a little out of the box thinking. But to win her heart we played games. She and I stuffed animals to read. (They never caught on.) We created cards with pictures and letters to make a one-to-one phonics system. But once she saw that reading is fun, she was willing to try again.

Games For Reading Won Her Heart

Eventually, I put those games into our reading program and much more. Our words are color coded so that our readers will always be able to use our phonics system. We borrowed centuries old children stories and color coded them. We even had UCLA study our approach. (Our students gained nearly four months for every month of the controls. Even better everyone who did more than 1 lesson gained.)

The result of using games for reading is 25 years later Stephanie sent me this picture of the books she is reading!

Clearly, reading won her heart.

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