Monster News

Coming soon to iPad: Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps

Exciting news from Teach Your Monster to Read!

We’re pleased to announce that Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps will launch on iPad this month. With all the same functionality and features that your little monsters loved about the online game, this iPad version will be just as fun and just as educational, introducing young children to the initial steps to reading.

Our monster fans have been asking about the iPad version for a few months now and we’re really excited to tell you that it’s on it’s way. We can’t wait to hear what you think!

Keep watching the Teach Your Monster to Read blog, Facebook and Twitter pages for further announcements.

Enter our competition and win £150 of Usborne books.

Teach Your Monster to Read would like to see your monsters!

How to Enter

Print the MONSTER TEMPLATE, colour it in and add some monstrous features, such as arms and legs, eyes, a mouth, teeth, ears, belts, bows, hair – any parts your monster might want or need.

Send in a photograph of your monster with the first name and age of the entrant to [email protected].

We will add all our entries to the Teach Your Monster to Read Facebook page so you can see all these wonderful monsters together.

The Prize

The winner will receive £150 worth of Usborne books for their school and a Teach Your Monster to Read T-Shirt.

Three runners up will each receive £75 worth of Usborne books for their school.

Judging and deadline

Entries will be judged by the illustrator Rich Wake (our wonderful Teach Monster illustrator) and the website Kideeko – full of great tips and advice for bringing up a family.

The closing date to submit entries is 21st July 2014. Terms and Conditions for the competition can be found here: Competition Terms and Conditions

Good Luck! We can’t wait to see your monsters!

Letter-Sound Matching Game

Play this simple letter sound matching game that helps children match the phonemes to their corresponding graphemes.

Ask the children to call out the name of the object on the image and then the letter sound and match the right ones together.

This is fun way to introduce the different letter-sounds.

For more information on how to play and create this activity go to the Teaching Mama blog.

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 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:

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.

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!

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