Original Post (see my updated post here)
I’m always on the lookout for great sites to use with students, especially the little ones. Our students have never had “formal” technology classes and the kindergarten students had never even entered the lab. Finding sites that are age appropriate and educational can be challenging.
“Teach Your Monster to Read” is a site I stumbled upon one day here. This site, based out of the U.K. teaches beginning readers about sound and letter matching as well as blending sounds together to form words. It uses the context of monsters going on an adventure to different magical islands (eight islands in all). On each island there are four mini lessons that works on accuracy and speed of letter recognition. Students must complete the game sequentially. When logged off the next time they log back in the program remembers where they were previously so they don’t have to start over. One of the best features is that the game is adaptive; sounds and letters the student has struggled with will come up again on different islands.
Fun for Students and Teachers!
“Teach Your Monster to Read” is free! It is web-based with an iPad app in development (said to be released this summer) and another game in the works. While slightly labor-intensive to set up, it is well worth it. Teachers will need to sign up in order to create accounts for each student.
The Teacher Area includes lessons that can be downloaded and used outside of the computer lab to keep students excited about the game. One activity allows students to draw their monster. If sent in, it may appear on the game’s Facebook gallery page. Another prints out a copy of the student’s individual monster (students design their own) with sentence prompts for additional personalization.
After accounts are created teachers can print a PDF that contains each student’s login and password on a separate card. This feature made it easy to color code my cards for the different classrooms using the program.
One of the best features for educators is the student dashboard. The dashboard provides detailed progress for each student and generates a certificate once students pass the game. These features of progress can be shared with parents.
Why do the students like it? When they first log in students get to design their very own monster. They receive rewards when they leave each island after passing its lessons. The game has outstanding illustrations with vibrant colors making it visually appealing to the little ones. My kindergarten students enter lab with excitement asking to play weekly!
Try a demo island to see for yourself: http://www.teachyourmonstertoread.com/game/demo
Never underestimate the power of the PLN!!
After I created this post I created a goo.gl address for it (that's Google's version of shortening a URL). The reason for doing so allows me to see how many visitors have been to the site. It also tells me where the viewers are located:
Furthermore, I posted a link to my blog post and included "Teach Your Monster to Read" in the posting. The response from TYMTR was the same day. It resulted in them sharing one of my pictures on their Facebook page. Professional learning networks allow you to spread your knowledge to areas around the world!