Sunday, January 10, 2016

Genius...Super Genius!

My daughter is in the process of learning how to read.  She's on the verge but for whatever reason, is resisting and has hit a bit of a wall which can get frustrating for this mom!  Part of me thinks that she is afraid that once she learns how to read that we will stop reading to her.  Even though we have promised her that we will always have our nighttime reading routine, she doesn't seem to want to take the final leap and read herself.
In the process of her learning, I have also tried to find fun word games that will help us work together to get her over this hump.  As you all know, there are a ton of options out there and many of them are just too educational which is just not going to be what works with my daughter.

The other day, I spent some time at one of my local Park Slope toy stores at their game choices.  My eyes quickly spotted the Blue Orange logo on a learning game and I was sold.  For those of you who aren't familiar with Blue Orange, they are the masterminds behind some of my favorite games:  Thumbs Up, Doodle Quest and all of the Spot It games.  Not only are their products fun, they are educational.  But they are more fun than educational making kids want to play them over and over again.

I picked up Super Genius First Words and Super Genius Reading 1 to use with my daughter who is still focusing on learning simple sight words (at this point, we are trying to master 3 letter words) and so far, so good.  There are other versions of the game for those who are already reading and can handle the challenge of larger words.  There is also a math version of the game that works on addition and multiplication.  I've used this a bit with my daughter and can't wait to bring it to work to test out with some of my other kids there.

If you are familiar with and love the the Spot It games, you will be a big fan of the Super Genius games.  The concept of the game is pretty similar:  you have to find the matches between two cards.  The biggest difference is that instead of finding the matching pictures, you are trying to match the word to the corresponding picture or in the case of the math ones, you are looking for the matching number and math problem.  There are many ways to play the game which keeps it fresh and exciting for you and your kids:
Face Off-Score the most cards at the end of the game by being the first to find the match between the two faceup cards
Flip Flap-get rid of your cards as fast as possible
Sardines-have the most cards at the end of the game
Click Clack-find the pair between two cards
Cooperative-remove all the cards from the table by matching them to their neighboring cards

Super Genius works on the following skills:
Visual Perceptual Skills-great way to work on improving eye-hand coordination, visual tracking and visual attention.  As you scan your cards for matching pictures and words, you are building crucial visual skills necessary for reading and writing.
Executive Functioning Skills-fun game to work on improving focus, attention and organizational skills.  These are critical skills for school aged children as the academic expectations increase and they are required to focus for longer periods of time.
Speech/Language and Reading Skills-clearly this game was meant for working on improving reading skills.  But it is also great for improving speech and language skills.  This can be used by parents and speech therapists to also work on building a child's language and conversational skills.
Graphomotor Skills-If you are working on a 1:1 basis with a child and they are also working on handwriting skills, you can adapt this game so that they have to write the words as they find the match.  Encourage them to work on spacing, sizing and/or upper and lowercase letters.  If you have a child who needs to develop drawing skills, you can have them draw a picture for every word they write as well.  When possible and appropriate, encourage kids to work on holding their writing instrument with an appropriate grasp.
Social Skills-what I love about almost every single one of the Blue Orange games is that they all have a social focus.  Whether it be working as a team to find the matches or encouraging kids to be a good sport when they win or lose, Super Genius can be used to work on many social skills that are vital for kids growing up to work well with others.

For any of you who are dealing with a kindergartener (or any student) and all the unrealistic learning expectations, I completely sympathize and understand how important it is to try and keep learning fun. Due to the nature of my job, my own kid ends up not getting as much of my focus and attention at the end of the day when it comes to her school work.  Because of that, I have made it a point to find fun games that will motivate both of us at the end of our busy work and school days.  I was so happy that my daughter was excited to play Super Genius.  I was even more excited that she didn't feel stressed out and ended up feeling proud of herself as she sounded out the words and then found the matches between the two cards.  Keeping learning fun is my goal with not only my daughter but every single child I work with.

What are your favorite educational games?  Specifically, what educational games focused on reading and literacy are your favorites?  I'm more personally interested these days...I know the power of reading and how magical it is and can't wait for that for my daughter.  Please feel free to share your ideas with me.  I am always a click away and love hearing from you all!

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