Reading is one of our biggest homeschool challenges, at least at the beginning. Mastering the alphabet and forming first words are huge milestones for young children, so it pays to have fun resources on hand to break up the monotony and challenge your children in a novel way.
A collaboration between The Learn to Read with BOB BOOKS® and VersaTiles® provides just such a resource! Available at hand2mind, you can introduce little ones to the pleasure of reading independently with three levels to choose from for PreK and Grade 1: Beginning Readers, Advancing Beginners, and Sight Words. We received two complimentary sets to try in our homeschool.
Each set includes 10 simple little story books, a full color workbook and an answer case with plastic tiles that coordinate with the workbook pages. It’s colorful, cute and very hands on.
The plastic case opens up flat and covers the top and bottom sections. Question are at the top and answers are at the bottom. The very step is to place all the tiles in number order in the blue slots.
Uncover them one by one to reveal the puzzles. Use each tile to mark answers at the bottom.
In the example below, Erik is asked to match the lowercase and uppercase letters. He takes the tile marked “1” and places it on top of the capital “D” at the bottom of the page. Tile number “2” is lowercase “r” so Erik moves that tile and puts it on uppercase “R.” He continues until all 8 tiles have been moved to the bottom.
Now it’s time to check the answers! Your child closes the case and flips it over. Is the pattern complete and correct? That means all the answers were right! If not, the two of you can go back and figure out where the mistake is.
My children love the way the tiles feel and sound. They have a nice weight to them and clack pleasantly as you move them from top to bottom.
After letter practice with the VersaTiles pull out one of the BOB books. Boosting confidence is crucial when a child struggles to sound out words; being able to say “I read a book today!” motivates them to keep moving forward. Simple drawings and just a sentence or two on each page make these storybooks a pleasant diversion.
The same words appear several times in each story, giving your child an even better chance at quick mastery.
My two fledgling readers are thrilled with their BOB Books and VersaTiles. Susanna, in first grade, told me “I love everything about them!” Kindergartener Erik was getting burned out with our old alphabet flash cards and now asks all the time to play his “letter game.” Even better, the two have fun working with the tiles independent of me, and compete against each other for a fun challenge.
My only suggestions for improvement would be artwork and storylines. Some of the drawings are a little bit odd, the people and their clothes in particular.But some of them we do like a lot, especially the animals. Also, children love fantasy and make-believe. I’d love to see Bob and Sam and the other characters featured in some fantastical adventures, like riding a dragon or having tea with an alien!
Also keep in mind that Learn to Read is not a stand-alone reading/phonics program with daily lessons and a defined scope and sequence.
Recommended Skill Level: The sets we reviewed, Beginning Readers and Sight Words, utilize words with short vowels only. Many of the activities assume your child is reading words already. So Pre-K and Kindergarteners who know their letters and sounds, but haven’t progressed to word formation, will only be able to complete some of the VersaTiles activities.
Looking for summer reading activities to keep skills fresh? Gives these Learn to Read sets a try! Or incorporate them in your fall reading program this fall for a new spin on learning in your homeschool or classroom.