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Teach Your Monster to Read is a free online game for beginning readers. It starts with individual letter sounds, first consonants, then vowels, and then blending into words. Kids who are drawn to learning on the computer will likely enjoy the game. Each player creates his or her own monster who crash lands his space ship in a land of islands. Each island king helps to repair a part of the space ship if the monster can find the king’s missing letters.

Things that work well:

  • Graphics and sounds are fun and colorful without being obnoxious or overwhelming.
  • Tasks are fairly intuitive if you have played any other computer games.
  • You can stop and start the game; it will re-start you where you last stopped.
  • If a child makes a mistake, the game allows him or her to repeat the activity until it is correct.

Things that didn’t work so well:

  • Many of the letters sounds demonstrated were too soft even though other sounds were plenty loud enough.
  • I didn’t work all the way through the game but I did make it to the second island. The routine and the activities were getting a bit repetitive. You seven year old’s mileage might vary.
  • The prizes were on the odd side–clothing pieces for your monster, oh-kay, but underwear? And I really have a thing against good as prizes even if it’s pretend molded jello. 😉
  • And some child (read–boy) is probably going to point out to great hilarity all around that the monsters seem to “poop” their stars. (Play, you’ll see what I mean. Or maybe it’s just me!) Not a prob at home but if you had your whole classroom playing, this observation could lead to a bit of a class management struggle!

It’s hard to find really excellent computer games and Teach Your Monster to Read is certainly not a bad one–but neither is it an outstanding one. It won’t really teach a child to read but it is free and it may help some children who need a bit more practice and need it in a novel format.

If you try it with your children, post here and let us know what you think.



I’m not wild about computers and children. It’s up there with TV as one more screen that it’s just too easy to sit a kid down in front of. Yet there are times when kids want to play and they want to play on the computer.

It’s especially hard to find “places” where little ones can go and can “do something” successfully, just like older kids. pointed me to the site Chateau Meddybemps and it looks like a winner.

The home page is here but I like this page where there are picture links to all the activities. You can also see what skill each activity encourages. Many of them are language, math, and thinking based.

As you visit around in the site, notice how often comments encourage playing, keeping things fun, moving on when tired, and doing things together with your child. If one follows those guidelines and keeps time online limited, Meddybemps can be a fun place to visit.

Have fun,



If you’re happy and you know it–speak your first word in Toddler Time! Oh my, what a moment! We were all singing and had reached the “Hooray!” point–when out of the blue, a just barely walking kiddo said, “Hap-py!”  I’m not making this up. 🙂

We read Choo Choo Clickety-Clack by Mayo and we all got louder and louder and louder. So many great sounds to make in that book! So good for phonological awareness! So fun!

And Ring Around the Rosies was a winner as well. Lots and lots of giggles. And when the little boy with some social struggles grabbed his dad’s hand to join in–well, we did it again! We do Rosies with two verses (scroll down the column on the left to listen) and today there were children anticipating what comes next! Another name for “what comes next” is anticipation, which leads to making predictions and later reading comprehension, and sequencing, which leads to understanding how letters go together to make words (and that was the early literacy TIP for the day).

Betcha didn’t know you could have all that in twenty minutes of fingerplays and singing and a dash of reading!

Nothing but awesomeness!


Here’s one of my favorite indoor winter games for kids. It really burns off the energy, leads to lots of giggles, and requires nothing but up and down movement! They’ll even build a bit of phonological awareness in the process.

First, show a “B b” letter and remind kids of the sound.

Then, teach them the song, “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”

Next, while they are all sitting, tell them when they hear a “b” sound to stand up if they are sitting and to sit down if they are standing. Now start singing!

It sounds simple but it is hysterically difficult even for older kids!

Have fun!


This one’s about as traditional as it gets.

from NJ Digital Highway collection

from NJ Digital Highway collection

But have you ever heard a 2nd verse for it? Me, neither. And I love it ’cause it gets the kids back up off the floor and standing again. 🙂

Click here to listen and click here for the words (or scroll down on the left).


orisinalI’ve never met a kid (or adult) that didn’t love these games. They’re fun, the graphics are top notch, and you won’t believe the music. And last I looked, there was only one involving shooting things. 😉

So when your kid needs a break from reading and playing outdoors, check out Orisinal.



These are primarily for ages 3ish to 6 ish.

Scroll down in the left column to the pages for Singing Games which will give you the words and directions.

Listen here for the tunes.

Have fun!


When I was a kid and we traveled from Atlanta to Florida (every year for two weeks in a Karmann Ghia or VW bug with no A/C), we had AM radio and car games to keep us occupied.minivan

“Cows” was my favorite, and I loved to wipe my brother’s out by being the first to spot a cemetery! (In the days before the interstate’s were finished, we drove through a lot of Georgia countryside).

My mom would usually pack us a peach basket with coloring book and crayons, pencil and paper games, etch-a-sketch and other pass-the-time trinkets–but we really had to dole those out slowly or they wouldn’t last.

So then it was back to Cows and Car Tags. Yeah, I’m old enough there were no DVD players in cars or even the means to play an audiobook (after AM radio, there was only 8 tracks; no cassettes, no walkman–and if you don’t know what those are, google them and have a good laugh :-)).

But even today, with DVD’s and audiobooks, you still need things to do in the car, and games and songs are a great way to pass the time. (Please don’t plug in movies for ten hours; truly, it’s not good for your kids). Share some family time, build some memories, have some fun, even exercise a few brain cells–you can’t do that with the kids plugged in in the back seat. The kids really will enjoy it and remember it and probably be in a better mood when you arrive.

Here’s a website with 101 of them: Mom’s Minivan!



  • catrow-spot-1June 3  Lisa Moore and The Penny Project by the Train
  • June 10  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • June 17  Christine Jones-Daboll, drama & music, by the Train
  • June 24  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • July 1  Peggy Godfrey,  Sidewalk Poetry, check back for location
  • July 8  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • July 15  Games in the Park: Get Creative with Play, Cole Park
  • July 22 Shadows & Journeys, Now or Never Theatre from Boulder,  CO, Special location: Boys & Girls Club, Alamosa
  • July 29  Games, Awards, and Ice Cream by the Train

hopscotchIs there a connection between reading and playing? The jury may still be out on a firm conclusion but the articles linked below are very persuasive that there may be a connection.

And why not play games? What have we or our children to lose? Over the last couple decades, schools have taught and tested our children at younger and younger ages–yet scores have continued to decline.

Earlier is not better. Dr. David Elkind wrote in the 80’s about research showing that if we taught children too soon (in other words, taught them things that were not age appropriate) that they did not truly learn those things, they became stressed out, and by third grade they hated school.

So here’s to games and letting kids be kids!

School Recess Improves Behavior

Oakland Group Seeks More Play in School Day (summary and audio)

The 3 R’s? A Fourth is Crucial Too: Recess (based on a study from the journal Pediatrics)

And tell me what you think!


It’s hhheeeerrreee! What you’ve been waiting for! All the gory details on


summer reading! Read on! 🙂

Looking  for fun, games, and creative ways to fill those summer hours? Then come “Be Creative @ your library” with the Sum

mer Reading Club at Southern Peaks Public Library in Alamosa from June 1 through July 31.   The program is open to all young people, from birth through young teens, with visiting guests, prize drawings, storytime for toddlers, Mornings on the Lawn, and new this year—Games in the Park.

Why games this year? “Last summer we had a program when we all learned old dances—and then we got up and danced! Kids and adults alike had a great time. It got me to thinking about how little children get to play together any more,” says Babette Reeves, Children and Youth Librarian. “Since then, several studies have come out over the past year showing that in schools where games have been recently re-introduced to recess, the kids are doing better in their learning and social skills. Finally, games help us relax and loosen up and that helps us be more creative. We’re really sensing a lot of excitement around these game days and hope folks will come out and have a good time together.” All game days will be on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. in Cole Park behind the library.

On other Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. the library will continue its tradition of “Mornings on the Lawn” under the tents near the train with special guests and activities. The Penny Project and Sidewalk Poetry are just two of the programs offered. A special presentation by the Now or Never Theatre from Boulder, Colorado, will also be part of this summer’s creative line-up. Toddler Time for children from birth through age 3 will happen on Thursday mornings at 10:15 a.m. Complete schedules are available in the newspaper each week, from the library at 589-6592, or on the web sites, or here at The Passionate Librarian, . All programs are free of charge.

New this year is the opportunity to register your children online at under the Summer Reading link on the left. “We realize how busy parents are and hope online registration will make life a little easier while still encouraging parents and children to read during the summer,” says Reeves. “Registration is optional, there’s no deadline, and it can be completed from any computer anywhere at any time. Registration will help us with planning, and with a good response to it this year, we may be able to move reading logs online next year.”

Reading logs can be picked up at the library beginning May 25; children can begin recording their time as of June 1 and continue through July 31. Reading logs are time-based with opportunities to log “bonus reading” time as well.  Studies show that children who read just fifteen minutes each day during the summer retain skills needed for school in the fall.  And all reading counts!  Children may read books, magazines (yes, you can check these out, too!), cookbooks, game books, comic books, hobby books, newspapers, menus, signs, even web sites!  A child may be read to, may read on his or her own, or may read to another person in order to earn their time.  The Summer Reading program hopes to encourage children and their families to be creative and enjoy the downtime of summer with books and with each other!

Come have fun!


goo-2Ready to have some fun this weekend? Check out The World of Goo.

It’s an online game that has great graphics and music–and it promotes thinking skills and basic understanding of physics.

Mostly it’s fun! 😉

The free demo will let you play the whole first level. After that it’s $20. Way cheaper than a movie for the family.



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Contact Info for Babette

email babette(dot)reeves(at)gmail(dot)com
snail mail
73 State Avenue
Alamosa, CO 81101

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