Monday, July 22, 2024

Help Your Littles Ones Read Better With Popped: The Reading Game

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Popped! The Reading Game is a card game combined with the world-renowned artist Jeff Koons, starring his iconic Balloon Dog. Kids play in a high stakes game of risk and reward while teaching essential reading skills. Scientists say 95% of children can read by 3rd grade, yet, in the US, only 30% do. Based on the cutting-edge science of how children learn to read, and developed with national literacy experts, Popped! addresses this crisis, while making practicing to read fun. The game is published by Clever Noodle, who are interested in helping kids read. 

What’s in the Box?

  • 91 level 1 cards
  • 87 level 2 cards
  • 95 level 3 cards
  • 1 Rulebook
Popped! The Reading Game box art

How’s it Play?

Popped! The Reading Game card reading

The goal for this game is to learn to read while playing a game and having fun. You collect cards by sounding out the shown words, except there are some popped cards that cause you not to collect your stash of cards for that round. 

The game starts by choosing which of the 3 decks you want to use to play the game, as there are 3 different decks of cards with different levels. The level 1 deck of cards include a consonant, then a vowel, then another consonant. This pattern of words is usually for pre-kindergarten through 1st grade. Deck 2 includes words with 2 consonants followed by a vowel and a consonant, which is usually for kindergarten through 1st grade. Deck 3 includes words with a pattern of 2 consonants, a vowel, and ending with a consonant, or 2 consonants with a vowel, and ending with 2 consonants. Deck 3 is used for 1st and 2nd graders. Remember, some children are ready earlier and others need more practice when in later grades, so choose your deck based on the players, not the grade they’re in.

After choosing your deck, its placed out and on a player’s turn they flip over a card and perform 3 steps. First, they must say each letter from left to right while tapping. Second, they blend through the vowel and stop. Lastly, they blend through the vowel and finish the word. This gives good practice of putting letters together and ultimately getting to know the words. These steps follow the science of reading to really help kids to learn to read.

Popped! The Reading Game kids playing the game

After reading and performing the 3 steps on the card, the player collects that card. They can then take a chance by drawing another card with three possible outcomes. It could be another card to possibly read and collect, a popped card, or a balloon dog card. A popped card ends the player’s turn and returns all cards collecting that round to the bottom of the deck. The balloon dog adds 3 bonus points and allows the player to continue drawing cards. Players can continue drawing cards or choose to stop at any time (unless they’ve drawn a popped card). When a player holds, they can keep the cards they have collected. But remember, a popped card automatically ends a players turn.

The game continues until the deck of cards run out. Players add up their cards, and the player with the most points, including any balloon dog scoring 3 points each, wins the game.

Popped! The Reading Game reading the words

The Verdict

Popped! The Reading Game cards in the game

This is a great way to help a kid learn to read while also playing a game they can enjoy and love. The game gives you a good variety of cards with 3 different levels. Children would need to learn 250 words to achieve literacy at the 3 different levels. Along the way, they learn phonic decoding, blending, vocabulary, fluency, strategy, and grade-level standard aligned to the science of reading. 

In my opinion, this game is great. It has an admirable purpose and really has motivated my 6 year old to get better at reading. So really, the game does a good job with what it sets out to do: help kids learn how to read. The only problem with the way the game is designed is that other kids who do know how to read are either not interested in playing the game because they know how to read. Or, they play but dominate the others. So for the game to work, it needs to be either a group of kids of the same age or ability of reading. 

But, if we are comparing this game with other reading games, this one does pretty good in that comparison. There is a good variety with unique combinations of words. The game teaches words with consonant and vowel patterns. Popped! accelerates a child’s ability to blend the initial sound with the vowel for smoother word decoding. And it includes multi-sensory actions to facilitate smooth sound bending, decoding, and orthographic mapping. 

Popped! The Reading Game with 3 decks of different levels

The art is fun for the kids, and the addition of popped cards causes creates variety when playing the game, so that even a kid who knows a lot of words has to decide when to stop or when to keep going. We will definitely be using Popped! – The Reading Game for our 6 year old this summer to help him to continue to read.

You can grab a copy of Popped! on Amazon or at your FLGS!

Images via Clever Noodle

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