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Teach Your Monster to Read
Pros: Cute and silly designs -- including personalized avatars -- appeal to kids, making phonics practice more fun.
Cons: There's not much variety in the games, and gameplay can be confusing.
Bottom Line: Great style and character that'll get young children exploring letter sounds and sentences, but games could grow old quickly.
Teachers can have students play the game at home or at school. Each student creates an account, which allows teachers to monitor their progress through a dashboard, including how often they play, what games they're playing, and how well they're doing. This makes it a great way to assess basic reading and prereading skills as well as a fun way for kids to learn, on their own time and on their own terms. Students can also use the story as a starting point to come up with their own creative ideas: writing stories about how their monster damaged its ship, for example, or designing their monster's home world in art class. Flash cards also provide an opportunity for students to review frequently confused sounds.
Teach Your Monster to Read is an early literacy game available as an app and on the web. Kids play as an alien monster whose spaceship crashes on a deserted island. Missions focus on learning letter and vowel sounds, featuring a series of mini-games spread out across several islands displayed on a colorful map that visually tracks kids' progress. There's a lot to do, from designing the monster's appearance to conquering the mini-games to earning new rewards (such as underwear!) for the monster. The goal is to complete games to fix the monster's spaceship and escape the islands. There are three games in the series: First Steps, Fun with Words, and Champion Reader. The games build on each other and provide a logical, fun way for kids to improve their skills. It's free to play these games on the website, and users can also download a paid version of the same games for their mobile device.
Teach Your Monster to Read is a slick, colorful, and charming package that gets kids practicing essential ELA skills including sounds, blends, segments, phonemes, graphemes, and eventually sentences. If they have trouble with a specific part of the game, those sounds appear more frequently later on, so they get more chances to practice.
Though the games aren't showstoppers, they look great, and -- in combination with the customized monsters -- they should hold kids' attention. The game doesn't always explain exactly what needs to happen, so students may need some teacher support. The Champion Reader level offers more functionality for older and more advanced students.