Educational, Reviews

Play By The Book Review

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.

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.

play by the book

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.

play by the book

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.

play by the book

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.

play by the book

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.

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  • Reply Dean of Little Steps February 12, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I feel lucky too my daughter shares the same love for books as we do. Have never of this game, she’s five now and I have a feeling she’s going to love this too, especially since it’s the last day before half-term! This will save us from incessant demands of “I”m bored, let’s do something! 😉 via #BloggerClubUK FB

  • Reply Gemma Nuttall February 12, 2016 at 9:30 am

    What a fab review and a really brilliant idea for a game! I might send it on to my sons school as I could see it being a really helpful learning aid in small group sessions and things like that.
    Love that your kids enjoyed it too.x

  • Reply Leah Miller February 12, 2016 at 10:04 am

    I love this idea. My children are also (thankfully) avid readers, but as a governor at their school, I am very aware that the children as a whole have difficulty grasping the comprehension side. I am going to recommend this at the next FGB!

    Thank you!

  • Reply Katy February 12, 2016 at 10:12 am

    This sounds like a great game, not only to get kids reading and thinking about what they’ve read, but to get them talking as well! I often struggle with putting things into words in normal life, so it sounds like this would be good for me too (some of those questions on The Gruffalo had me pondering for a while!)

    • Reply Lauren February 14, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Yes, I did spend some time pondering the questions a bit too, I’ve never really looked that deeply in to The Gruffalo before!

  • Reply Cathy ( MummyTravels ) February 12, 2016 at 10:46 am

    This is such a clever idea for a game, really fun while still helping them learn. I love the way there are different levels as they grow too. My daughter already lives books and it’s something I want to develop as she gets older as well.

    • Reply Lauren February 14, 2016 at 11:34 am

      It’s great that your daughter loves books! I’m all for children choosing their own interests but I must admit it makes me very happy to see children who love books and reading!

  • Reply Yvonne February 12, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    This is a really good idea. I have to say I have never heard of this and I wasn’t sure what it was about until I read your post. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for these as my boys get older. I love inventive ideas to help them learn, it doesn’t have to be boring process at all and nice to see some fun being put into the process. Thanks for sharing, Yvonne

    • Reply Lauren February 14, 2016 at 11:32 am

      I hadn’t heard of this game until I got it either, although I think it’s new. You should have a look at Learning Resources other products, they are all about fun ways to learn, we’ve loved everything we’ve got from them!

  • Reply Laura's Lovely Blog February 12, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    My children are too young to read yet, although the love being read to. I hope they inherit my passion for reading, this is a really nice and fun way to encourage reading and development though 🙂

    • Reply Lauren February 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

      It’s great that they love being read to though, that’s usually the start of a life long love for reading!

  • Reply Tracey February 13, 2016 at 7:51 pm

    This looks like such a cool idea. It would really suit my 8 year old who is just getting into reading books by himself. I haven’t seen it before, I must look out for it.

    • Reply Lauren February 14, 2016 at 11:30 am

      It would be well suited for your boy I think, you should definitely look out for it. It’s educational but it doesn’t feel like work!

  • Reply Where To Next Kids? February 14, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I really love the sound of this. It’s such a fun way to get kids to think about the story and the characters in the book. It can only help with fostering a love of ready

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