Homeschool Idea – Reading Spinner Game

Fae really picks up on literature, and languages. We just read a book to her once, and she’ll remember it pretty well for months between readings. It probably helped that we started her on chapter books around four years old. At night, we read a couple chapters (usually the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne, or the Disney Fairies collection). The next night, we ask Fae what happened the night before, and I think that’s been training her long-term memory pretty well, with regards to literature.

This attention to reading seems to make the current Language Arts curriculum so painstaking. K12 wants me to read a story to Fae (this week’s is the real version of Red Riding Hood, by the Brothers Grimm) each day over the course of 2-4 days. After each reading, there are some cut-out activities, definitions, and general questions. Ok, fine, I get the need to ensure her grasp of the reading material. But, three days for Red Riding Hood?

And in looking forward, the near future doesn’t look any better, as far as belaboring the story. So, I came up with a new method to combine all the discussion question topics into a single, easy, and fun game.

First, what you’ll need:

1. Get a spinner (like Twister) with different colors or numbers. The one I have is quartered by color.

2. Get enough tokens, coins, markers, whatever so that you have 3 of each section on the spinner. For example, I have 3 blue, 3 red, 3 yellow, and 3 green tokens.

3. Combine all the discussion questions from each of the lessons, then divide them by the different spinner sections. The three lessons covering Red Riding Hood had a total of 12 discussion questions, so I have three questions for each color.

4. Your child.

Reading Spinner Game - Child Not Included.

Reading Spinner Game - Child Not Included.

How to play:

1. Have your child spin the spinner to determine the color question.

2. If she gets the answer correct, she receives a colored token. If she doesn’t get the answer correct, then she receives nothing.

3. Continue until she gets three tokens of the same color. If she’s lucky, it’ll only be three questions from the same color. If she’s not, well, she may have to answer most of the questions on the sheet.

Some variations:

  • Take a question from each lesson to make a colored question group. That way, like in Jeopardy, each subsequent question should be more difficult.
  • Create 5-6 questions for each color, then require your child to acquire three tokens of each color.
  • If your child get a wrong answer, go back to the section of the story/book and re-read it right then. Have her try to answer again. If she gets it right, she gets token.

Why I think this works:

First, it creates a visual game for a subject that’s auditory in the beginning. Sitting through reading a story, then sitting through a question and answer period can be challenging — especially for kinesthetic learners.  Second, it provides some randomness to the assignment. I think this would keep Fae more focused just because of the anticipation of the spinner. Third, and the most important reason for me, I think taking multiple days to cover one short story is gross overkill. Let’s trust that our children will retain what we teach, and not belabor the lesson plan to the point of total boredom and shut-down.

After all, if she doesn’t “win” the game, you can always revisit the story the next day.


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About PDX Dad

Simple father from Portland, Oregon. International logistics by trade, economics by education, writer by passion.

One response to “Homeschool Idea – Reading Spinner Game”

  1. Julie says :

    Neat idea! I like it. We have been doing a lot of quizes recently., but I like the idea of basing it on one book.

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