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Teach Your Monster to Read: Case Study

Read how computer teacher Deborah Grmela uses Teach Your Monster to Read in her classroom in Texas, USA.

I teach computer skills to all the Prekindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade classes in my school district. This amounts to 500+ students each year. I also only teach these students one day a week for 45 minutes.

As with most schools one of our school district’s goals this year is to improve the reading scores on the standardised tests our students take each year. As I use to be a classroom teacher (Kindergarten and First Grade) I knew that I might be able to help the classroom teachers out if I could figure out a way to incorporate phonics into my computer technology curriculum.

I began researching on the Internet for free (this is an important factor) web based phonics programs. That is how I stumbled upon the Teach Your Monster to Read website. The website was very eye catching and when I tried the website out myself I thought “The kids are going to love this!”

This past Fall, when the new school term began, after reviewing basic computer skills with my First Graders I began letting them use Teach Your Monster to Read. Granted I took the time to introduce the program to the students and got them excited about creating their monster the next week and asked them to think about how they wanted their monster to look. I also told the students that I wanted them to come up with a creative name for their monster.

What fun we all had reading and looking at each other’s creation after I posted them in the hallway for everyone to see. The student’s monsters were still hanging in the hallway when Open House was held. The students were very excited to show their families their monsters. I even had some parents asking me how their child could “do this” at home.

The Teach Your Monster to Read website is very intuitive and engaging and once the student is on the program I rarely “hear” from them. In fact, the students get so involved in the program that they do not want to stop and I have been asked by several of them if they can do this at home. One of my student’s mothers happens to be a Third Grade teacher. When this student began working on Teach Your Monster to Read at home she saw that the program would be a great review for her students and asked the Elementary School Computer Teacher to try to incorporate the TYMtR program in her lab for those students who need extra “reading” help.

When I introduced Teach Your Monster to Read to my First Grade students I hoped that it would be a program that: 1) Reviewed the alphabet letters and sounds that the students were taught in Kindergarten and: 2) Was a springboard in helping students blend those letters and sounds together to begin reading. I believe the program has done that.

I am now using the Teach Your Monster to Read program with my Kindergarten students. At this time of the school year I believe that the Kindergarten students are going through Game 1: First Steps much quicker than their First Grade comrades. After each class time is over I hear students making remarks such as, “I’m on Island #”, “My monster got a reward”, “I am on Island 8 – what happens when I finish?”, and “I’m in Crystal Village!” I think it is great that they think they are playing a game and do not realize they are learning. I get this impression because with excitement they exclaim “I’m on the next level!”

When the students move from Game 1: First Steps to Game 2: Fun With Words, I like to bring them over to my desk where I have the teacher portion of Teach Your Monster to Read pulled up and I show them how they did on their letters and sounds. Some of the classroom teachers have used the results from the teacher portion of Teach Your Monster to Read as documentation of skills mastered.

I personally believe that Teach Your Monster to Read is a program that fits all different types of learning styles as it seems to me that all of my students are learning – from my students labeled “Special Education” to my students who are considered “Gifted”.

Thank you The Usborne Foundation for bringing such a wonderful learning tool to our young learners – for free!

Article by Deborah Grmela, Computer Teacher, Gatesville Primary School, Texas.

Phonics game: ‘Phonics i-spy’

Create a phonics i-spy bottle and help children practice their letter sounds. Thanks to The Imagination Tree blog for creating this fun phonics game.

This activity starts of with a treasure hunt (monsters love treasure hunts!) and ends up with a portable phonics game that children can take on journeys or use at home.

Monster tip: You can use a sandpit or a box full of shredded paper to recreate the game in the garden or in school.

Phonics activity: ‘Digraph BINGO!’

This wonderful activity was discovered on the www.education.com website.

‘Digraph BINGO!’ helps children practice the letter pairs that make a single sound.

It’s a fun activity that involves children photographing objects and matching pictures to digraphs. We think children will love shouting “Bingo!” when they match the pictures to the sounds and love hunting for objects to photograph too.

To find out how to set the game up go to: www.education.com.

Please send in your suggestions of any other successful phonics games, activities and resources you’ve made for your students and children, we’d love to share them with our fans.

Make Your Own Monster

Download this Make Your Own Monster PDF and build our fabulous green monster in 3D!

Parents, teachers and older kids can help younger children with the cutting and sticking. It’s a lot of fun.

Here’s our finished monster – RAAARRRRR!

We’d love to see your finished monsters – email them in to [email protected] or post them to Facebook, Twitter or tag us on Instagram.

Phonics Resource: ‘The car-park game’

This fun phonics resource was found on the I can teach my child blog.

A lot of kids love playing with cars and will park and drive those cars everywhere. Combine cars and learning phonics by playing the car park game. This will help them with blending and segmenting.

For more details about how to create and play the game then click here: Car park game.

Monster tip: some children may find it easier to hear digraphs at the beginning of words but adding words with the digraph at the end can add an extra challenge.

If you have any other successful phonics games, activities and resources you’ve made for your students and children then please do send a link. We’d love to see what works for you!

1,000,000 game plays!

Teach Your Monster to Read is celebrating 1,000,000 game plays! What an achievement. We’re grateful to all our players and fans who have played, shared and enjoyed the game. Thank you!

Letter-sounds: Alphabet sound machine

There’s lovely craft project and phonics game over at The Imagination Tree blog

In the exercise, children create a magical machine that children use to rehearse letter-sounds.

But – oh no! The machine is now broken so children must make the sound with their voices! Try some different monster voices once you’ve got the sounds right.

Find out how to make and use the machine here: Alphabet Sound Machine

If you have any other successful games and resources you’ve made for your students and children then please do send a link. We’d love to see what works for you!

Phonics activity: ‘Rocket spell and read’

Occasionally we post links to our favourite phonics and teaching activities by talented teachers and parents around the web. If you have any other successful games and resources you’ve made for your students and children then please do send a link. We’d love to see what works for you!

The Imagination Tree blog have a fantastic phonics activity which complements Teach Your Monster to Read with its spaceships and rockets! Create new spacecraft for your monsters and practise blending at the same time.

For full details on how to make this game go to the The Imagination Tree blog.

Monster tip: Make sure the child rehearses blending all through the word. You can also adapt this game for longer words too!

Phonics game: ‘Alligator Words’

Here’s a great phonics game we found on Reve Pounds’ Pinterest page.

Raaarrr! Create your own creatures to blend and segment. Children put the parts together to practise blending all through the word with different grapheme-phoneme correspondences.

Check it out on Pinterest: Alligator blending game.

If you have any other successful games and resources you’ve made for your students and children then please do send a link. We’d love to see what works for you!

Phonics game: “Walk the word and sound it out”

Occasionally we post links to our favourite phonics teaching activities by talented teachers and parents around the web. If you have any other successful games and resources you’ve made for your students and children then please do send a link and explain how this helped your students practise their phonics. We’d love to see what works for you!

Check out this great phonics game from the Coffee Cups and Crayons blog that kids can play outside on the pavement to help them with their blending practise.

It’s a bit like hopscotch – which happens to be one of the monsters’ favourite games.

Find out how to play at: Walk the word and sound it out.

Our Monster tip for this game: Some children may find reading the letters difficult this way as they do not look the same as they do on the page. If they do, children could face each letter (stand on top of it or below it) and jump to the right saying each sound as they go.