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The Reading Game Review by Brittney Rutherford

2727 De Anza RD, Suite SD21
San Diego, CA 92109

Written for ages four and up, and designed to complement most reading curricula, The Reading Game is a supplemental resource for beginning or struggling readers. 

The Reading Game includes the parent/teacher guide, six sets of memory playing cards, six sets of picture flashcards and six storybooks. Playing is fairly straightforward. Each set of cards is color coded and is divided into six smaller sets of ten cards, for a total of thirty word cards per color set. Each subset is numbered, so you know exactly which cards to use as you advance through the game. 

The Reading Game is basically a progressive memory game. Ten cards at a time, children will play memory in order to match and read five sight words at a time. After the student masters two sets of cards, or ten words, they read the matching captioned flashcard to practice reading the words in context and to recognize capitalization and punctuation. This continues through the entire color set until they’ve learned thirty words and can read all three flashcards that use those words. Then they are ready for the story book! The stories (and the words utilized in the stories) build on each other, so it is important to go in the correct sequence. By the end of the game, students have learned 180 words, many of them which are on standard sight word lists. 

All of the materials are very high quality and durable, and should last through multiple children. The books are cute, with a bit more substance than typical, “The cat sat on a mat” readers. The captioned flashcards use real photographs, and the black and white illustrations in the readers are mature enough that older struggling readers won’t feel like they’re using something for little kids. One thing I noticed is that it teaches compound words as their individual words in the card game, but writes them in the story using an interpunct (instead of a hyphen) to stress the syllables. For example, the word “without” was taught as with and out, but was written as with·out in the book.  Parents should be prepared to explain this if necessary.

Essentially, this is a sight word memorization program, but there are some examples in the parent/teacher guide for showing phonetic relationships to the student. I don’t teach sight words in the traditional way after I learned that most of the English language can actually be phonetically decoded, but I still think this is a suitable supplement to any reading curriculum. When I got this game, my six year old was already reading a little, so we used this as a summer review. I asked him to decode any words he didn’t immediately know, and that allowed him to put his previously learned skills to use. Then he could use the natural progression of the game to help him remember the words more efficiently. I can’t say this is the most exciting game, but it’s easy to implement and can be efficient with just one or two short rounds each day, or playing multiple rounds for as long as the child wants. 

I think this is a great alternative to drilling with flashcards, and I really love how the game allows children to progress at their own pace. There are also free materials online for parents and teachers to utilize. I can see this game being valuable for families, small groups and co-ops, tutoring, and classrooms. 

-Product review by Brittney Rutherford, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, August, 2016