I am very pleased that both of my children seem to have developed my love for books and reading, which only seems to be growing as they get older. Now that Neil is in P3 at primary school, he is being encouraged to read on his own a lot more. He is fantastic at reading words, and always has been. Words I often think he couldn’t possibly have come across before, he knows them. Reading is not just about reading words on a page though, it’s about understanding what the words are trying to tell you. When it comes to that comprehension, Neil can struggle a lot. That’s why we were keen to try Learning Resources new reading comprehension game, Play by the Book.
Reading comprehension is something we are working on with Neil, both at school and at home. Play by the Book is a board game for children aged 8 and up, designed to get children talking and really thinking about the books they have read. The box says:
Get children talking and learning about literature with Play by the Book, the only board game where players can read or watch ANY fiction book, chapter, film or clip and then develop their comprehension skills through discussion and active learning!
Included in the box are 100 game cards, dice and 6 playing pieces.
The game cards are split in to categories: About the board, About the book, About the chapter, About the screen. ‘About the board’ is used in all games, and then you can select the cards to use depending on whether you are talking about a book, a particular chapter, a movie or a movie scene. Each card contains two questions with a 1* and 2* difficulty, and the questions are designed to get children thinking, and asking questions about the book or movie.
Players take it in turns to answer a question, before rolling the dice and moving their piece around the board. Along the way there are special squares that encourage players to act, draw or sing scenes from the book. The first player to reach the end is the winner.
To begin, we chose a book that we all knew very well, The Gruffalo. We then set up the board game and got ready to play.
The kids each took it in turn to answer questions such as ‘Name something one of the characters did that surprised you’ and ‘Explain who your favourite character is and why you like him or her’. My particular favourite, to which Neil gave a good answer, was ‘Is the main character’s behaviour fair to others?’. Neil answered that he didn’t think the mouse was very fair, because he tricked all of the other characters in the book. My children, at 6 & 7, are slightly younger than the target age range, so some of the questions were a little difficult to answer on their own, but the questions allowed me to explain and discuss things with them.
One particular part of the game the kids enjoyed was landing on the action squares. Neil had to act out a scene from The Gruffalo, and we all had to guess what it was. He proceeded to slither around the room on his tummy like the snake from the book, which gave us all a good giggle. We also drew sketches of scenes for each other to guess which was fun. I was looking forward to hearing the kids do a Gruffalo rap, but unfortunately no one landed on that square of the board!
In the end, Caitlin won, but we all had good fun discussing our favourite book. Playing it together as a family has given us a great opportunity to really discuss the books we have been reading. Despite some of the questions being a little difficult, the kids were always willing to give it a go and say what they thought, allowing me to expand on and build their ideas with them. I love that there are 2 ranges of difficulty so that the game grows as your children’s reading ability does.
Play by the Book is a must for any fiction fans. It is available from Learning Resources for £18, and would be a great fun but educational addition to family game night! It would be a fabulous resource for schools, working really well in a class room setting!
We were sent ‘Play by the Book’ free of charge in return for an honest review of the product. All opinions are my own.