The Biff, Chip and Kipper books are nearly as old as I am (thanks for that Wikipedia) and I turned 31 yesterday!
The books are a series of stories designed to teach children how to read and speak English in line with the National Curriculum that is taught in schools. Because of this they have been incredibly popular with parents and schools for nearly 30 years!
The books, often known as “The Magic Key” books, centre around three children called; Biff, Chip and Kipper. The children frequently make use of a magic key to go on an adventure together.
Recently Nintendo have released a game for the 3DS/2DS entitled “Phonics Fun with Biff, Chip and Kipper”. The game is a series of activities built to help children learn how to read.
We’ve only had the games for a couple of games but they are proving to be very popular with my 2 year old daughter and as a parent and teacher I can see huge potential for what they have to offer.
So far we’ve played a few sessions of Volume one and on that we’ve played on Level 1 and Level 1+.
The games have proved to be a very clever way of approaching reading for early, non readers. The game provides a collection of around 5 images and tapping on them creates a unique noise, for example cats purring, a vacuum sucking, and music playing. Once all of the individual sounds have been listened to the images are found in one large picture, Then a sound is played a the child is needed to find the item in the picture that makes the noise.
This may not sound much like reading but it provides a wonder start to introducing the concept that letters have sounds attached to them. As we progressed into Level 1+ this is exactly what happened. The activity style remains exactly the same but the pictures are gone, replaced by letters.
As well as these activities there are also a series of songs that can be listened to and learnt and lots of short books.
The short books are read aloud to the user and can be read and recorded a line at a time allowing children to read/recite a line of a book. By stringing several of these together it is able to replay the child reading a whole story back to themselves. This is a fantastic idea and is really encouraging for a young child to listen to.
We will continue to work/play through Volume 1 and have a look at volumes 2 and 3.
So far I’ve been really, really impressed with Phonics fun with Biff, Chip and Kipper. I have no doubt we’ll be back on it tomorrow morning.