First of all, I have to say that I am a huge fan of My Virtual Tutor games for the Nintendo DS. Previously, my daughter (at that time, a first grader) and I played and reviewer My Virtual Tutor: Reading for First to Second Grade and we were both thrilled to death with the game. My daughter loved every aspect of it and I loved the fact that she loved it and that it was both fun and highly educational.
With this latest release, My Reading Tutor, which is geared toward ages five and up, or Kindergarten to second grade, the concept is basically the same, but with new content. This edition is complete with interactive stories (14 new ones); the introduction of reading skills, such as beginning sounds and consonants, sight word recognition; and the ability for the child to read and record the story in their own voice.. For my daughter, this last item is the best part.
In My Reading Tutor, the included games and activities are done in such a way that when an incorrect answer is given, the tutor, very encouragingly, asks if there is a better answer. In my opinion, this way of teaching is incredibly important, making the child know that it is okay to make mistakes. Instead of becoming discouraged, they will want to try again and learn the correct answers.
As for the organization, the setup is akin to a train line where each new station/stop centers on its own learning area. As the player progresses, more stations open up.
The games include Learning Track, where players complete games focusing on short vowel sounds, consonants, and crazy r’s. There is also one called Phonics Activity where the tutor will ask the child to find words that start with a certain sound or contain a certain sound. The child will then be given several words which will then slowly scroll across the DS screen giving the child several opportunities to find them. Once again, if an incorrect answer is given, the tutor will, very kindly, ask if there is perhaps a better answer, or suggest they try again.
In addition, there are spelling games/activities, which are similar to jumbles; quizzes based on the stories; and sight word activities, where there is a group of words on the screen, the tutor says a word and the player must find and touch that particular word.
Another fun and creative aspect of My Reading Tutor is the paint option, where children can doodle and draw pictures while the tutor is reading various stories. Children are free to use their imagination to draw pictures from the story being read — bringing the story to life — or they can just free play/draw.
With so many different learning aspects, activities, and educational fun, My Reading Tutor is sure to be a huge hit with both children and parents. Speaking of this latter group, there is a section just for you, as well. In the “options” section of the game, there is a parent mode which keeps track of your child’s progress, time played, and books read. Also of note, up to three individual players can save profiles on the game, that way three different children can use and play the game without having to worry about erasing anyone’s progress.
With Christmas coming up, shortly, My Reading Tutor is the perfect stocking stuffer and/or gift for any child from Kindergarten to second grade. As a parent, myself, I cannot express my pleasure with these game enough. They make learning fun and rewarding.
My Reading Tutor is rated E (Everyone) by the ESRB