My seven-year-old is well above grade level at reading comprehension, math, and writing, which thrills me. But his reading fluency needs a little help. Because he has ADHD, he’s super active. (And I mean, super active.) And that makes him rather…impatient.
When he tries to read aloud or spell words, he gets frustrated whenever he can’t do it right the first time. But, like most kids, he loves to play. So it was it a wonderful gift to get to try out Nessy Reading & Spelling – a game-based reading and spelling program that makes it simple to improve reading fluency for active kids or children with dyslexia!
Read on to see how we’re using this fabulous reading program to help our child with ADHD work on reading and spelling. Plus, learn how to score a 15 percent discount on a monthly subscription AND a free book about dyslexia!
Disclosure: I received access to this program in exchange for this post and I was compensated for my time. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
How Nessy Reading & Spelling Works
Nessy Reading & Spelling looks and operates much like a video game, so your kids are not going to fight you when it’s time for reading practice. I promise. 🙂
When you first sign up, you’ll receive login information and then you can create a “monkey” (an avatar) for your child. Or you can let them create it on their own.
Kids can use their own name to sign in, so you don’t have to worry about helping them remember a username. Once they log in for the first time, they’ll get a quick tour of how the program works.
The tour is really helpful, because it shows kids how to navigate between “islands” (game levels) and how to find all the activities for each island. Nessy Reading & Spelling is touch-centric, so it’s awesome to try on a tablet, by the way.
After completing the video tour, kids receive “nuggets”, which are basically points. As they progress through games and levels, they receive more that they can use in MonkeyTown, which I’ll talk about in a bit.
Once they take the tour, kids are prompted to complete the Nessy Challenge – an assessment of their current reading level.
During the Nessy Challenge, kids fill in blanks with the appropriate word. As they complete words correctly, the questions get more and more difficult.
I will admit: The Nessy Challenge is long. It takes kids through all ten levels, and the challenge automatically proceeds to the next level once one is finished.
After about five levels, my guy was at the end of his patience limit. So I let him stop and go on to the Home screen to find an island he could explore. (You can always resume the challenge or take it again at a different time.)
Here’s a look at the “islands” in Nessy Reading and Spelling. Each one corresponds to about half a grade level, so Islands 1 and 2 are roughly equivalent to kindergarten, while islands 9 and 10 equate to fifth grade or so.
You might wonder: How can you go over half of an elementary grade on one of these islands?
Easy! By including a ton of standard-specific exercises! These islands are jam-packed with reading practice, lessons, games, and even printables!
There’s even sight word and mnemonic practice included – and that’s just in Island 1!
Remember MonkeyTown? Here’s a look at it. After kids complete their schoolwork for the day, they can go play in MonkeyTown – a game area that’s just for fun. You can set limits as to how long they can play in this area or how many lessons they must complete before entering.
Using Nessy Reading & Spelling to Improve Reading Fluency
Once my seven-year-old finished the Nessy Challenge, he was placed on Island 5. After looking through the standards, we started him on compound words – a topic he hadn’t learned much about yet.
Since he was already familiar with the concept of compound words (two small words joined together to make a larger word), he went straight to the games.
In the game “Monkey Words”, kids can help their monkeys jump to the top of the tree by correctly combining small words to form compound words. My guy did pretty good with this one.
See? At the end of the game, you can see a report that shows you which words kids learned, how they scored, and how long it took them to complete it. You can set the passing score however you like, but the default is 8 out of 10.
Then it was on to another game – “Hands Off My Bananas”. This was a great activity, because it was practice in typing, spelling, and recognizing the same compound words he just practiced in the previous game.
In this game, he had to listen to the compound word being spoken and then type it correctly. I love how Nessy Reading & Spelling lets kids work on reading and recognizing the same group of words through a variety of exercises. So much better than just drilling them over and over!
And, as you can see, even though he worked on the same group of words for about 20 minutes, he didn’t get impatient or frustrated at all. He loved it!
Finally, for that lesson, we used one of the printable resources: A compound words bingo game! We printed out the game and let my two boys play against each other.
As with the previous exercises, this game focused on the very same set of compound words. The challenge for each boy was to find the compound word I called out and get “BINGO” before the other.
Since the game boards aren’t identical (each one contains different words), there’s truly no way to know who will win.
But my seven-year-old won anyway. 🙂
And I made them both shake hands afterward. Good game, fellas!
We really had a ball working with Nessy Reading & Spelling and this was just a few exercises from one of the over 100 lessons! There’s so much to work with here for kids from grades K-5. It’s truly an excellent, comprehensive program for building reading fluency and spelling skills!
To learn more about Nessy Learning and how you can get a subscription to Nessy Reading & Spelling, follow the company on social media:
And if you’re ready to sign up for a monthly Nessy Reading & Spelling subscription, you can save 15% with the promo code BLOG17!
Plus, score an ebook about how dyslexia affects kids – FREE! This is super important if you have a child that struggles with dyslexia or if you suspect your early reader may be displaying signs of a learning disorder. Download the free Dyslexia Explained ebook to learn more about how to help your kids master reading, even if they’re living with dyslexia.
Get more tips for helping your readers on my Reading for Kids Pinterest board!