I’ve been searching the web for some good sight word computer games. BugBoy(BB) has to learn eight new sight words a week. He’s getting very sick of flash cards. He really struggles with reading, just like my sister did. This is hard to watch because I can’t remember a time I didn’t love reading.
In first grade I was left in the library when my class returned to the room and I was off in a corner devouring books above my grade level. In second grade I spent several hours a week in the library tutoring a younger boy in reading. I don’t know how this came about or what the rest of my class was working on during this time.
Neither of BB's parents read for pleasure. He has tons of books and gets read to every night, but he doesn’t see his parents reading their own books. They only have a few, most of them gifts from me. I’m sure he hears them making comments about my dad and me “wasting” our weekends reading.
I buy him books related to his interests. He uses the insect books I’ve given him. There are dozens of books on my shelves I'm just waiting for him to grow into. I want him to love reading too. Reading expands your world. I don't want him to have a narrow view. Reading puts you in places and situations most people never dream of on their own. Reading can make you more tolerant because you are used to new ideas and open to new experiences. People question how I came to know the arcane nuggets of information I share. The answer is almost always that I read it somewhere.
He loves video and computer games. I’ve found a couple little games on the internet made from flash or Java applets, but they are a tad lame. I could probably make better myself. There has to be some decent software somewhere. Most of the sites I've surfed so far are for teachers, group activities like word bingo or group circle games.
I couldn’t stop thinking last night as I tried to sleep. I was designing a game. Ideally, each week his new words could be added. And words that he knows could be removed. I bet Esmeralda could get the words for the year in advance from his teacher. It would have to use audio for instructions and as part of the activities so it is self-directed. Must have a low cheese-factor, BB has a low tolerance for anything he deems uncool.There should be a couple different activities that approach the words in different ways. There should be a timer aspect related to a score. BB plays those video games over and over to get to the next level. If he could put the same energy into reading he’d be reading in no time.
If anyone knows of packaged software that exists already with any of these features please let me know. I’d like BB to have something before the school year ends.
Edited 9/7/2005 - Removed all pictures and edited names to protect the innocent.