Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps, it is a new, free online game which helps children to practise the first stages of reading in a new and exciting way. It is designed to offer instruction and practice within the framework of engaging gaming, to make the process of learning to read as compelling and friendly as possible to both on-level and struggling pupils. Aimed at beginner readers, the game is built on the principles of synthetic phonics and follows the teaching sequence in the “Letters and Sounds” programme.

The game develops children’s speed and accuracy of letter recognition by taking them on an adventure through a magical world where they meet island kings and collect letters to win prizes. Children adopt and customise a monster, who they guide through the learning process. It also explores blending and segmenting, and introduces “tricky” words in a fun, interactive setting. The game is totally free to users, having been funded 100% by the Usborne Foundation whose aims are to support early years literacy.

In the game, you create a monster and take it on an adventure through a magical world. You can travel to exciting islands, meet the Island Kings, play games, win prizes and rebuild your broken spaceship. You can play mini games on each island to help develop accuracy and speed of letter recognition.

I tried the demo version of the game where you can play on one of the eight islands. It certainly was engaging and was reinforcing sounds being learned by younger pupils in infant classes especially. You must sign up to create an account to play the games on the other islands. This website should be of interest to infant teachers and parents of younger children. To try out the game, visit the Teach Your Monster To Read website.