Committed to providing positive, meaningful and effective literacy support for developing readers.


Committed to providing positive, meaningful and effective literacy support for developing readers.


Teachers play an essential role in children learning to read by designing scaffolded and differentiated learning environments. The school day includes high quality reading instruction, small group reading practice, the introduction of great book choices and dynamic read alouds while modeling the joy of reading. There often isn’t time in the school day to provide each child with the individualized reading practice that is needed. Teachers reach out to parents to read with their children but teachers often don’t have the time or resources to fully equip parents to effectively read with their children.

Zirkel was created with teachers in mind! Zirkel game play reinforces decoding and comprehension strategies that the child is learning in the classroom. Parents feel equipped to support a fun and productive reading experience with little to no training from the teacher. Teachers have enthusiastically reported that Zirkel game play during the summer has minimized or eliminated “summer slide” in reading achievement. Compared to reading interventions and summer school remediation, training families to play Zirkel with their children is a brilliant option.

Zirkel is being used in elementary schools in a variety of ways. Some elementary schools invite students and their families to attend a onetime training before Zirkel goes home with the family. Other schools have invited trained Reading Buddy volunteers to come and play Zirkel with children during the school day. Yet another school chooses to keep their school library open during the summer. When the children come to check books out, they had the option of playing Zirkel with a trained Reading Buddy volunteer. What might work best in your school?

Here is what educators  said about playing Zirkel

It was just like teaching Guided Reading with my students, but more fun.

Jessica Endres – 1st grade teacher at BFK Elementary School, Loveland, Colorado

The thing I love is the simplicity of game play and how kids are given the opportunity to read whatever they want and receive a sense of empowerment over their reading.” 

Mary Westorp – Thompson R2J District Media Services Coordinator, Loveland, Colorado

What Linda Leon and Jane Askham are doing for children’s and families’ reading goes far beyond their ingenious design of the buddy reading game and experience. Although they know the power of having something specific and research-based for readers and buddies to do together with free-choice books, their work focuses clearly on providing access to reading opportunities for children in low-income neighborhoods. This kind of access has been indexed repeatedly as the central issue defining the persistent and insidious ‘achievement gap,’ where children from low-income neighborhoods on the whole show three years less reading achievement than their middle-class counterparts by the end of elementary grades.” 

James Erekson, Ph.D. Associate Professor of Reading at the University of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado

© 2016 Kids Read