Jeremiah is learning to read


I must tell you that this product was so much more fun than I anticipated!  It is a great way to begin to teach your child words in a fun and engaging way.

I feel it only fair to explain that I am not a fan of sight words.  I really am more of a phonics based mom. For this reason I wasn’t too sure how this Sight Word based game was going to work.  I want my child to have the skills to de-code words that they come across and I feel like phonics is the way to teach that.  That being said, I also have one child out of 4 (Hunter) that has struggled with phonics, not the saying or remembering of the sounds, but with the “seeing” of those combinations within a word.   That child led me to search out lists of commonly used words in the English Language, to begin reading each day so that he could have a few “tools” in his pocket for reading.

Because of Hunter and his struggles, I hope Jeremiah will benefit from a more rounded approach.  I better understand how the two philosophies, sight words and phonics, can work together to help a child read.  I don’t think sight words should be used exclusively to teach reading, I have begun to see how they can assist phonics learning if used properly.

So, let me tell you about The Reading Game.  It was sooooo much fun to play!  I really wish I could have captured the exact look on Jeremiah’s face when he matches two words together but please trust me when I say it looks an awful lot like this:

077Pure Joy.

Jeremiah, our chief product tester for this review, had no previous word recognition besides his own name and those of our family.  We started right at the beginning with Book 1 the Skunk Book. You learn the words in 5 word groups, progressing through the cards until you have learned all of the words that are contained within each book.  I liked the fact that the amount of words that you are learning are a few at a time. Thirty per book and from those 30, only five at a time. This is very manageable for Pre-School aged children. It makes the game fun and quick for them. 

Jeremiah wanted to read the Skunk Book from the time that he finished his first five words so I would let him “read” the book and pick out all the words that he knew.  Every time he found one, the look was the same as that picture up there.  Pure Joy.

I have let him set the pace with learning his words through this game.  We play it nearly everyday and some days it is played more than once.  The older kids like playing it with him, so I am not always required to help him each time. I do not move on to a new set of 5 words until he can recognize the 5 we are on with out error for a few days (maybe a week) in a row.  He’s 4, we have lots of time.

The cards are small and easy to transport, so they make a great travel game. If you know you are going to be waiting for dinner at a restaurant or at the doctors office, throw the 5 cards you are working on in a sandwich bag and toss it in your purse, you are ready to play anywhere.  I have forgotten the cards at home, yet, because I only have to remember the 5 we are currently on it was very easy to take a scratch paper and make paper cards to play with while we waited for our dinner to arrive.  It kept both the natives from being too restless!


How do I know it works?  Well,  He can write and read the words weeks later.  I give him a “spelling test”  and ask him to write his 5 words. We look for those words when we are out, on menus or signs, even on labels.  We hunt for them inside books.  They are being locked into his memory, and that is evidenced by squeals from the back seat as we drive around town doing errands, squeals that nearly make me levitate combined with “ Momm!  dat word, wite dere (pointing and gesturing wildly) dat word has an IS in it.  SEE?”  Followed by “Yes, Jeremiah I see, now mommy will be pulling over until her heart rate returns to normal…..”

If you are looking for a more formal approach to assessments, The Reading Game website has free printable assessment sheets for you to test their pre game and post game recognition skills on each of the 180 words the program uses.  The game uses 54% the Pre-K, K, and 1st grade words on the Dolch Sight Words List.  It concentrates on the words that are not easy to learn through picture cues. I would not box myself in with thinking that this game should only be used with children 4-8 years old.  I really think that anyone, young or old that needs to learn how to read or needs some reinforcement in reading would benefit from this product.

Priced at $24.95 it is affordable, especially for families with multiple children and teachers who would use it in a more traditional classroom setting.

This family gives The Reading Game two thumbs up!

Please take the time to read what other families are saying about this product.  You can find more reviews at the TOS Homeschool Crew page.


***disclaimer*** I received The Reading Game, free of charge for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation has been received.  Thank you to the creators of the game for your generosity in providing your product to the TOS Homeschool Crew to review.  All of the above opinions are my own.


” Meeples, Meeples……. set down your Peeples……”

This…….. and other crazy songs…..  were invented by the Coney Clan as we played Wits and Wagers Family.

I will start at the beginning…. because I know you are dying to know what a Meeple is.  Well, either you are dying to know or you think I have lost my mind, along with any and all abilities to spell correctly; either way, I am still going to tell you….   Meeples are the action pieces in this fast paced game for the whole family, created by North Star Games. They have been migrating across the Atlantic since 2000, and North Star Games is happy to facilitate this migration by placing them in many of their own games.


From the moment the game box was ripped open in eager anticipation………


through the intense suspense of waiting for the answer to be revealed……..


Every one was involved, engaged, and enjoying themselves around the kitchen table. They say the game is for ages 8 and up….  but as you can see, 4 year olds love it too!


The best part about the game is that you don’t have to know ANYTHING at all to play it. Nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  Zero…… The object is to be the best guesser. (is that a word?)  We all learned quickly in our house that Big Daddy was the best guesser and if you want half a chance, you put your Meeples down on his card.


There is even room to be creative with your answers…..


The only trouble we had when playing was getting people to decide on a card for their Meeple to stand on.  Some rounds, ……some people, who shall remain nameless, ….. TOOK…… FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


So…….. we made up a song as our timer.  “Meeples, Meeples,….set down your Peeples… Meeples, Meeples, set down your Peeps…. ”  and we would sing it two times through….  If you couldn’t pick a spot by then….  well, tough, your Meeple got grounded.

Feel free to borrow my musical genius when playing Wits and Wagers with your own Family, and use my catchy tune as your Meeple timer.  Smile  Call me,  I will sing it to ya…..

You can find Wits and Wagers Family at your local Target or Barnes and Noble Stores, or use this Locator Page to find a retailer near you.  Retail prices will vary so make sure you shop around and check online for a price that best fits your family’s budget.  There are expansion packs and other great games created by North Star, so be sure to visit their website to see all they have to offer



Our experience with this game can be summed up by my oldest son….


Which is saying a lot since he barely scores 3 points every time we play.  Smile

Check out the 100 or so other reviews on this great game over at the TOS Homeschool Crew Blog.  I am headed there now to see how everyone else played at their house.

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As a TOS Homeschool Crew Member, I received Wits and Wagers Family, free of charge, for the purpose of this review.  No other compensation was received.  All of the opinions stated above are those of our family as we used this game for fun and frivolity.  Thank you North Star Games for your generosity.


Flea Circus! by R & R Games

RnR Games Flea Circus

This is such a fun game! The second it arrived and was open, I had to hide the box!  I wanted the kids to wait just one day more before they played it! (We had some friends coming over the next day and I knew it would just be more fun with more kids!)

It has been played nearly everyday since.  When they wake up in the morning, I hear  “Mom, tan we pweeze pway fwee sur-tus?”  from my 4 year old.  The 8 year old begs too, he just doesn’t have quite the endearing lisp the little guy does.  Smile

The rules are easy to follow, and game play is quick.  This is a great thing to consider when you are playing games with the elementary set.  It only takes about 20 minutes to play from start to finish.  It is a very engaging game.

Who can play? ~ It was created for children ages 6 and up, but my 4 year old, and our 5 year old friend, had NO trouble playing and keeping up with the game.  Moms, Dads, Grandpas and Grandmas, don’t be afraid to join right it!

Where can I find it? ~ Click to find a store locator near you or buy directly from the R&R website.

Cost? ~ $15.95 from the R & R Games website.

The object of the game ~  The Flea Circus has come to town and all the cats and dogs have come to watch all the clowns, acrobats and jugglers.  Your job is to play your flea cards right and collect the most cats and dogs… but beware of the Dog Catcher !!

The game helps with number recognition, addition skills and early multiplication (counting by two’s), as well as, building up memory and observation skills. You need those to keep track of the cards and their functions, and who has what cards in play.  It is also apparently very important to my children to have their animals very organized and in straight lines by species. (maybe we are just a bit OCD)

RnR Games

Our family recommends this game to families everywhere and not just those with elementary aged children. ( I won’t embarrass my High School kids and tell you how much they liked the game Winking smile)  It was a great game to play with a few neighborhood friends or when your cousins come to visit.  It would even be great game to take on a trip; the box is small enough to fit in luggage and the game could be played easily on a hotel room bed.


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To see what other reviewers have to say about this product and many more visit the TOS Homeschool Crew page.

Don’t forget to stop by the R & R Games site to see what other great games they offer!  They are so sure you will like one or two of them that they are offering a 20% discount code good for any purchase from their website until 12/31/11.  Use code: CREW20 at checkout.


I received the game Flea Circus! from R & R Games free of charge. R & R furnished this game solely for the purpose of this review to Independent Contractors of the TOS Homeschool Crew Program. No other compensation has been received, and I am under no obligation to furnish a positive review.

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