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Archive: July 2015

Using the game in school

Ewa Wilson, Deputy Headteacher at Bonners Church of England Primary School in East Sussex has used Teach Your Monster to Read with her students over the past few years. She currently teaches Year 1 and 2 and is also the SLE (Specialist Leader for ICT/Computing) at the school.

I discovered Teach Your Monster to Read while searching for phonics games online. I was looking for a fun and engaging phonics review game for students in Reception and Year 1.

Teach Your Monster to Read is relevant for key stage 1 and works as an effective additional tool for classroom phonics teaching and intervention groups. It is also free to play.

The game was a instant hit with the children. It captured the children’s imagination in an interesting and colourful way and the children just wanted to play it.

How do you use it in class?

I have used Teach Your Monster to Read in our phonics and literacy lessons, with the Reception class students, Year 1s and also with the after school reading intervention class.

We generally use the games for 20 minute individual computer sessions, 5 minute bursts (when children had some spare moments free), or as a class IWB session.

During our IWB sessions, children identify the sounds using a button within Teach Your Monster to Read that enables you to press on the grapheme so you can hear the phoneme. This works as a brilliant introduction to the sounds they will be working on that day and it also helped the children practise the sounds that appear on the screening test.

Screen shots from Teach Your Monster to Read 3: Champion Reader
Who plays the game?

The game is split into 3 levels. The reception class use the first game in the series, First Steps which is an introduction to the letter sounds, high frequency words and also includes simple blending and segmenting practice.

Even young reception class students were able to access the game, log on and go straight into playing. This accessibility encourages independent practice and also mouse control.

Year 1 students progress on to the harder levels and begin to practise sentences, learn further graphemes and phonemes and also tricky words. Game 3, Champion Reader has been particularly useful for those children who were coming up to the phonics assessment.

The game is also used in the after school intervention class. The children are always excited to show their parents their monsters and the game. It’s a good homework resource and parents can easily sign up their children to the game. It’s also simple to set up as a teacher, and there’s a parent letter that you can download and share.

Why does the game work?

What stands out for me is that children are completely engaged with the game. They are immersed in the world of Teach Your Monster to Read. It is an adventure rather than a set of stop and start mini games, so the reading practice flows along without stopping, which helps with independent learning.

The children become very attached to their monsters and want to make sure their monsters are learning to read. They also see the monster as their little learning partner, and this is one of the unique features of the game that really brings it alive.

The children are teaching their own monster to read and this is taking the pressure off their own learning. They grow in confidence because they are acting as the teacher and this confidence helps them engage with wider reading in general.

It’s so easy to use too. Sign in and off you go. Children can very easily use this at home or in the classroom, and work through it at their own speed.

How does Teach Your Monster to Read improve teaching/learning?

I noticed a big impact in their phonics knowledge, particularly when using the ‘sound button’ within game 3’s Champion Reader.

The game also helped children learn their ‘high frequency words’. These words are integrated into Teach Your Monster to Read. The children have to collect the little ‘tricky’ creatures and put them in their monster’s pocket. They see the words, and also read them within a sentence, which helps retain this new knowledge.

Progress is also monitored in the game and it is possible to see which sounds need extra work. This helps me to make an instant formative assessment of the student’s level and ability.

What difference has it has made to the classroom?

The children’s enthusiasm for Teach Your Monster to Read is astounding, and it has created a real excitement around learning to read away from the computer.

Teach Your Monster to Read can also be relied on as a homework tool. The game contains all the relevant information to help fill in the gaps in learning; high frequency words, blending and segmenting practice and lots of sentence practice.

It’s made phonics lessons more exciting, and it is a brilliant addition to a teacher’s phonics toolkit.

Going forward…

It would be very easy to integrate the game into other classroom activities; storytelling, character and personality descriptions. We’ll be using Teach Your Monster to Read in the coming year, and hope to make more of this fantastic resource.

Sign up and play for free at:


Watch the new game trailer!

Happy summer holiday from Teach Your Monster to Read!

Teach Your Monster to Read would like wish all our teachers a very happy summer holiday and we’d like to thank you for all your support over the past year.

It’s been a fantastic year for Teach Your Monster to Read and the Usborne Foundation with the launch of our third game, Champion Reader, which has surpassed all expectations. It has been played over 30,000 times in its first month of launch!

We’ll be sharing some new resources with you in September; including phonics songs and animations, physical game ideas and IWB activities. Exciting stuff!

We’re looking for teachers in the coming months to work through some improvements to the first game. If you’re interested in testing our new games and products in class then do get in touch: [email protected]

Thanks and enjoy your summer!

The Teach Your Monster to Read team.

Beta testing Champion Reader

Children and teachers from several schools across the world helped to beta test the new Teach Your Monster to Read game, Champion Reader, over the past few months. They played it extensively, looking for bugs and reporting back on educational issues and playability.

It was an insightful experience for everyone involved and we had some fantastic suggestions from the children. Our favourite suggestions was a vampire cloak and a pink dress to go in the shop, more stars to collect, and the mega treasure chest stuffed full of treats.

Teachers suggested many improvements, such as a map for the new world and better ways to navigate the monsters through the game. Teachers had a big input into the words and sentences used in Champion Reader, too.

It was invaluable to have this kind of insight into how the game works in a classroom setting and has helped make Champion Reader even better.

Thank you to our teachers Helen, Matt, Gina, Kimberlee, Nicky, Kristal, Tom, Dawn, Ewa, Debbie and their students!

Ms Lewis’ class in Florida using Teach Your Monster to Read on the whiteboard.

Geavoni, testing the new game for bugs while teaching his monster to read.

Here’s what one of our testing teachers said about Teach Your Monster to Read. Thanks Kimberlee!

“The Teach Your Monster to Read program is a truly amazing addition to the classroom curriculum. After teaching or reviewing phonics I would allow students to work with their monsters to reinforce what they had learned. The activities presented helped students practice phonemic awareness as well as essential word building skills. While my students enjoyed creating and teaching their monsters I felt that the most important part of the experience was the deep joy they discovered in reading. – Ms Lewis, First Grade Teacher

If you would like to join in and test for Teach Your Monster to Read in the future, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

Find out more about Teach Your Monster to Read 3: Champion Reader.

I was stunned to see how much they enjoyed this. It blew me away.

Matt Lovegrove, Cippenham Primary School

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Why Play?

  • Covers letters and sounds to reading full sentences.
  • Designed in collaboration with leading academics.
  • Computer version is 100% free.


Why is the computer version free?

The game has been funded by the Usborne Foundation, a charity set up to support initiatives to develop early literacy.

Our mission is to help as many children learn to read as possible. The computer version is 100% free and we put profits from the app back into the Usborne Foundation, to continue to create new and exciting ways for children to learn.

The charity was founded by Peter Usborne MBE and his children, Nicola and Publishing, one of the world’s leading children’s book publishing companies and Children’s Publisher of the Year 2012. He was previously one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye.

What age is it for?

The game is for children in the first stages of learning to read, or for older children who need a bit more practice. Read more details about the three games.

How do children learn from the game?

The game takes children on a magical journey, meeting colourful characters along the way and collecting fantastic rewards. When children are engaged, they’re motivated to learn.

As they progress, they rehearse a range of essential reading skills; matching letters to sounds, blending, segmenting, tricky words and reading full sentences.

Find out exactly what the game covers.

Will it work on my device?

The game runs on any normal laptop or desktop computer (including Apple Macs) and the app works on iPhone, iPad, Android and Kindle tablets.

Who are The Usborne Foundation?

Peter Usborne is the founder and Managing Director of Usborne Publishing, one of the world’s leading children’s book publishing companies and Children’s Publisher of the Year 2012. He was previously one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye, and was recently awarded an MBE for services to publishing.


"I was stunned to see how much they enjoyed this. It blew me away."

Matt Lovegrove,
Cippenham Primary School

"The kids absolutely love this game - and they're learning!"

John Hole,
Wray Common Primary School

"This is a fun and engaging way to help your child learn to read. My son warmed to the game quickly and didn't want to stop playing it!"

Sarah Fox,
mum to Leon aged 5

This is a fun and engaging way to help your child learn to read. My son warmed to the game quickly and didn't want to stop playing it!

Sarah Fox, mum to Leon aged 5

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