There are few things more important than teaching children to read. Unfortunately, there are not many free programs available that teach reading effectively.
The ones that are available are often outdated or use methods that are not effective. This is a shame because teaching children to read is one of the best investments we can make in their future.
As I showed in this recent article, early reading is a sign of intelligence.
But there is one free reading program that seems to be generating a lot of buzzes lately.
The service I am talking about is “Teach Your Monster to Read“. Watch this video to see a short introduction to what it is about…
In this article, we’ll uncover what Teach Your Monster to Read is, how it works, and most importantly, whether or not it’s effective.
Teach Your Monster to Read Review Summary
Teach Your Monster to Read is a free reading program that is designed for children aged 3-8. It’s an easy-to-use program that is based on proven reading techniques.
It uses a mix of phonics and sight words to teach children to read. The program offers a variety of games and activities to keep children engaged and motivated.
It also keeps track of each child’s progress so you can see how they are doing. Overall, Teach Your Monster to Read is a great option for teaching children to read.
We rate the program a 4.5 out of 5.
What is Teach Your Monster to Read?
The program starts with teaching your children the basics of letter sounds and blending them together to form words.
Once the child has mastered this, they move on to reading simple sentences. The program uses a variety of methods to teach children how to read, including games, stories, and songs.
One of the great things about this program is that it is flexible and can be used at your child’s own pace.
It also keeps track of your child’s progress so you can see how they are doing. Overall, I think this is a great program for teaching children to read.
It is easy to use, flexible, and most importantly, it is free! I would highly recommend it to any parent who is looking for a way to teach their child to read.
What follows is my full Teach Your Monster to Read review. I will cover what the program is, how it works, what I liked about it, and what could be improved.
I will also provide a complete summary of my findings at the end.
Is Teach Your Monster to Read a good app?
Firstly, I have never come across such a high-quality free phonic resource as this. The voice acting, animation, and overall quality simply blow away anything else at this cost level.
This was one of the main motivating factors behind this Teach Your Monster to Read review.
Most young children learn best through actually doing things, rather than just passively listening and taking in information.
This application aims to engage your child in fun games that will, in effect, help them build phonic knowledge without realizing it.
Phonic worksheets are also too abstract for some children. These types of phonic resources bring the same information to life in a more fun and engaging way!
In this previous article, I have talked about the importance of giving learning experiences a meaning or purpose.
If you simply sit a child down with flashcards and ask them to practice phonic sounds, for example, they will likely not last long before telling you they are bored or such.
Teach Your Monster to Read makes an effort to give meaning to this process, using a series of iPad or computer games. Yes, fun with phonics IS possible!
The games in Teach Your Monster to Read all follow a storyline, including some really fun characters along the way.
The idea is that, as well as your child enjoying the game, they will also become interested in the story and want to follow it through to the end.
From my experience, this does often happen, and it does turn out to be a real help when motivating a young child to practice phonics.
However, this can also have a reverse effect. Some children, if you would allow them, would sit and play these games for literally hours. This leads to my next point……
Isn’t It Damaging For My Child To Stare At Screens All Day?
Well, in a word…YES!
We are well aware of the dangers of young children being over-exposed to more traditional media such as TV. These things have been around for longer and we have had ample time to research them.
Tablets, however, have been around for considerably shorter. Research is gathering though, and a general consensus seems to be starting to build.
As long as we adults limit young children appropriately, this technology is not all bad. Of course, this research is ongoing, and I invite you to keep an eye out for how this continues to develop.
My personal advice would be to limit your young child to no more than 30 minutes a day on Teach Your Monster to Read.
This would be more than enough for your child to build and improve their phonic knowledge, alongside whatever they are learning at school.
I would also recommend that you look online to get broader guidelines regarding technology use for young children. For example, here the Canadian Paediatric Society offers some great pointers.
Is Teach Your Monster to Read research-based?
This is an important question, and one that I asked when carrying out this Teach Your Monster to Read review.
As a parent myself, I am very interested in making sure that any resources or products I use with my children are based on sound research and evidence.
The good news is that Teach Your Monster to Read is definitely research-based. It uses a synthetic phonics approach, which has been proven to be the most effective method for teaching young children to read.
The developers of this product are also quick to point out that it is not a miracle solution. In other words, your child will still need to put in some effort to learn to read!
How much does Teach Your Monster to Read cost?
You can use the computer version for free through their website. You can also purchase a version for IPad if this is a more useful way for you to present it to your child. Both versions are the same.
Some people might be wondering why I still classify Teach Your Monster to Read as one of the free phonic resources?
Well, from what I can see, they added a very reasonable price to the apps offered, probably because of the development cost involved. They do state on their website the following:
“Our mission is to help as many children learn to read as possible. The computer version is 100% free and we put profits from the app back into the Usborne Foundation, to continue to create new and exciting ways for children to learn.”
I am sure most people will agree that, clearly, they tried to keep the resource as accessible as possible.
As long as you have a computer in your house, the phonic resources provided here ARE totally free.
The people behind this service are The Usbourne Foundation. In their own words they say:
“The Foundation is a charitable fund set up four years ago by Peter Usborne and his children, Nicola and Martin, to support initiatives to develop early literacy.
Peter Usborne is the founder and Managing Director of Usborne Publishing, one of the world’s leading children’s book publishing companies.
He was previously one of the founders of the magazine Private Eye, and was recently awarded an MBE for services to publishing.”
Is Teach your monster to read free for teachers?
Yes, it is free for teachers to use in the classroom. In fact, they have a whole section of the website dedicated to helping educators make the most out of this resource.
They have thought of everything! They provide you with step-by-step lesson plans, worksheets, and even assessment materials.
They also have a section where you can submit any questions that you might have, and they will answer them as quickly as possible.
The other main difference between the teacher version and the parent version is that the teacher version keeps track of each individual student’s progress.
This is a really valuable feature, as it allows you to see which areas your students are struggling with, and provides you with an opportunity to give them some extra help in those areas.
I think this is a fantastic idea, and I’m sure that many teachers will find it to be a valuable resource.
How Is Teach Your Monster To Read Best Used?
Well, in my experience, this free phonic tool works great when used with other Phonic or reading programs. I don’t feel that it is enough to use as the sole way that your child will pick up phonics.
At its core, Teach Your Monster to Read is a game that is designed to help young children learn how to read.
However, the game can be used in a variety of ways to support different learning styles.
For some children, the game may be most effective when played on a regular basis, gradually building up their skills and confidence.
For other children, it may be more helpful to use the game as a supplement to other reading instruction. In either case, the game can be a valuable tool for helping children learn how to read.
By offering a variety of gameplay modes and difficulty levels, Teach Your Monster to Read can be customized to meet the needs of any child.
As a result, it is an excellent choice for parents who are looking for a fun and effective way to help their children learn to read.
I personally use this program as support to my most recommended children’s reading program, you can read my Children Learning Reading Review here.
What age group is Teach Your Monster to Read for?
On the website, they describe Teach Your Monster to Read as being suitable for any young children in the early stages of reading.
You can also click HERE to look at an overview of the program and the ages it is appropriate for.
As you can see, it also suggests that the program should start when a child is around reception age in the US (around 3 to 4 years old).
The great thing about this program is that it is designed to take a child from not reading at all, to reading full sentences. This is perfect for those starting their reading journey.
Is There A Downside To Teach Your Monster to Read?
No program is perfect, and Teach Your Monster to Read is no exception. One potential downside is that the program does require a fair amount of adult supervision.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as it gives adults the opportunity to be more involved in their child’s learning.
However, it may not be ideal for parents who are looking for a program that their child can use independently. Another potential downside is that the program is only available in English.
This may not be a problem for some families, but it could be an issue for those who speak other languages.
Finally, the program is not currently compatible with mobile devices.
This is a bit of a pain, but it is not a deal-breaker, as the program can still be accessed on a computer or laptop.
Assuming you want me to continue talking about the upsides:
Some upsides to the program are that it is very comprehensive and offers a lot of different ways to help your child learn to read.
It also gradually builds up skills and confidence. This is perfect for those just starting out their reading journey. Additionally, it is very affordable, especially if you take advantage of the free version.
I would say that the main upside to Teach Your Monster to Read is that it is an extremely effective program for helping children learn to read.
The vast majority of parents who have used the program with their children have reported seeing significant improvements in their child’s reading ability.
Are there any downsides to this phonic program?
Although I really do love to Teach Your Monster to Read, there is one problem that I do have with it.
The fact that it is entirely based on a series of games means that the children who use it can actually “game” the system.
This means that they can keep trying different options until they find the correct one that helps them progress.
I have actually had children using this application, that have been able to slither through the cracks.
They literally just play Teach Your Monster to Read like a game, and almost ignore the learning phonics idea! This is not good, as they are not really raising their phonic skill.
So if you are using this amazing program with your child, you may want to check their progress along the way.
In my view, they should have a more full-proof way to check a child’s phonic progress before they allow them to continue onto the next stage.
I am not going to complain too much though, as this is a 100% free application on a computer, and everything else about it is amazing!
How do you set up Teach your monster to read?
Before we finish up the review, I would like to give some technical guidance to those less tech-savvy parents (I know you are out there!)
For you to play Teach Your Monster to Read, you will need an account. The best way to do this is to go to the official website.
Find the “sign up now” option and sign up for an account. This is the master account, not the player account. You will be greeted with the screen shown below.
Simply fill in your details and you will then have an account you can use both on the website and on the Apple and Android apps (which you have to pay a small fee for).
As you can see, it is possible to sign up as a parent or a teacher. On the teacher account, you can get printable letters and certificates to motivate your child to continue their monster’s journey!
I only have experience with the teacher version of the account, not the parent account. So, if you are sure you want those types of resources, I would sign up on the teacher account just to make sure you get them.
I like them a lot because they give more value to the monster they are controlling in the games. After you sign up for your master account, then you need to create the player account that your child will use.
Again, with the teacher account, you can track your child’s progress through the program and see what they have covered.
This is great if you are not always watching your child play. If you are sure you need this, I would sign up on the teacher account just to be sure you get access to these tools!
As you can see below, it is a simple process to set up your child’s player account.
The cool part is you can choose which level your child starts at. If they are new to phonics, you can just leave it on the default “first steps” starter level.
If your child already knows some phonic sounds you can refer back to THIS page on their website which will detail what is covered in each level. Simply choose the level that is the best fit for your child’s phonic level.
Having said all of that, the games and the storyline are fun for most young children.
They might still enjoy the earlier levels, even if they are a bit easy for them. Play it by ear, you can always skip your child forward if they seem bored!
The final step is to go and sign in to your account and go to the bottom of the page. Download your child’s password card, which should look something like this:
The important thing to note is the number by the star. This is the account number you need to use on the smartphone app version of Teach Your Monster to Read.
When logging into the website, you just use the child’s name and password as shown above.
I like how the icons next to the user name and password are also on the login area of the website. This means your child can log in themselves even if they can’t read!
I hope that this section helped any parents that struggle with the tech side of this application!
Teach Your Monster To Read Review – Final Thoughts
Well, my Teach Your Monster to Read review is coming to an end, all that is left is, to sum up, my experience.
Teach your monster to read is a great free phonic resource for any parent looking to improve their child’s phonic knowledge.
On its own, I don’t believe it would offer enough to completely teach your child phonics. However, as a practice tool, this service is worth its weight in gold.
This is especially true due to the problem I mentioned above about children being able to “game” the progress system in this game.
I find it amazing that the computer version of this service is totally free. It is quite rare that you see something this detailed and professionally made for free.
As a teacher, I know the value of helping a child have fun with phonics. This resource is bringing this into the home, which is great to see!!
As you may have gathered, this is pretty much among my favorite free phonic resources!! If you have had any experience with Teach Your Monster to Read, I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.
Equally, if you have come across any better free phonic resources, I would love to hear all about them!
Hopefully, we are helping to do away with the need for phonic worksheets!
To get started with Teach Your Monster to Read, simply head over to their official website.