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Introducing Read! Spell! Do!

For a long time I have been thinking to write a blog post about Read! Spell! Do! (RSD) but, although simple to a fault, RSD is so versatile that almost every time I use the game in the classroom I discover another slant to it. In today’s blog I wish to introduce the game and give you a general overview of it.


Early in 2007 I was in discussions with Peter Warner and others about phonics, a topic which continues to fascinate me to this day, and during these discussions I got the idea to not only categorize nouns according to their phonics but to specifically categorize verbs in like manner and so began a long search suitable verbs on which to base the ‘Do!’ cards. It was a long and arduous search, which has given the game 720 different ‘Do!’ cards. Again in conversation with Peter Warner and others, I decided to write phrases instead of sentences on the first set of ‘Read!’ cards to keep the phonics almost 100% decodable so as not to confuse beginner readers, in retrospect I see that as a mistake and have since updated all of the ‘Read!’ cards to make complete sentences, whilst still keeping them at near 100% in decodability, if you use or are familiar with NFO, then you will know what I based this “decodability” on. The ‘Spell!’ cards were the easiest to design, at least to begin with, as I had always enjoyed collecting and making word lists suitable for the teaching of phonics, it was the search for suitable graphics that took the time. The ‘Spell!’ cards range from simple CVC nouns in level 1-1 to verbs, adjectives and finally adverbs in levels 4-1 and 4-2, with the first six levels of cards being strictly phonically regulated. I thought about the design of the board before making the cards, I wanted something versatile, something that was going to be useful for more than just a week or two as many board games are. The first edition of the game was completed in 2007 in time for the Kansai ETJ Expo and the first person to see the game was Jeff Hodsdon who immediately wanted to purchase it and did so, this makes him the proud owner of the very first printing, not me. Jeff has recently redesigned the RSD board and I will briefly speak about the comparison of the two boards which are now in circulation.


Here is the original boards, which is sold as a foldable XL board (4 x A4 for just 500 yen), or given away for teachers to print their own, a half-size board is also available. The advantages of these boards are the RSD keys, the fact that once a child rolls the dice they are going to get the opportunity to get a card or complete the game, the card squares are large enough for two packs of cards making a multi-level game possible, very easy to fold and carry to any venue and when printing it is light on ink, and also the half-size board is great when you don’t have much room for playing, some half-size boards will be available at the Kansai ETJ EXPO




Below is the latest version of the RSD board in my possession and it was designed by Jeff Hodsdon who will be selling these at the Kansai Expo. Certainly the design is more attractive and the fact that it has no seams makes it more so. You don’t want to fold this board but you will be able to roll it up and put it in a tube for transportation. When I know more about its continued availability I will let you know.




Every time I look at the rules of the game I want to add or change something to better reflect how to use the game in the classroom. I will add the present rules below and expand on them in a future blog. I will also write about how set up Read! Spell! D0! to get the best use out of it.


Basic Rules for Read! Spell! Do!

Use dice, counters, paper and pencils and RSD cards. For mixed level classes use two levels of cards. The RSD cards of Levels 2-1 to 3-2 are best used in sets sorted by graphemes, giving 30 cards to a set.
Place the cards face down on the board. Players take turns to throw a die and move the (rearmost) counter forward by the number shown.
Game can be teacher or student led. If you land on a yellow square, pick up a ‘spell’ card and read the word saying “Please spell…”, then the other player/s write the word. Jan-ken for the card if need be, keep card if all incorrect. If you land on a blue square, pick up a ‘read’ card, read the word and sentence and keep the card.
If you land on a pink square, pick up a ‘do’ card and other players ask “What are you doing?” Answer “I’m …ing …” whilst doing the appropriate action, then keep the card or the player on your right picks up the card and asks “What can you do?” answer “I can …” and do the action, then you keep the card. “What do you want to do?” is another option. If the student doesn’t want to do the action, then another student can try for a bonus card or students can ask the questions of the teacher.
If you land on a orange square, then do all three.
If you land on a fishing square, then throw the dice and move back the number shown and do the activity.
If you land on the dice square, then throw again to move forward and do the activity.
The game ends when all counters reach the finish or you run out of cards; cards can now be counted if you wish.
Up to six players can play in pairs or group/s on one board. All six players can be involved at the same time. To speed up the game use fewer counters and more dice.
Generally you will use about 15 cards for each counter to go around the board.
Feel free to play around with the rules of the game.



You can find details of the game here and orders can be made directly from me through the contact page of the ETJ Book Service.

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