Reading Readiness – Houndini

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About Houndini

The Fast ForWord Reading Readiness exercise Houndini helps improve phonemic awareness and basic decoding skills.

In Houndini, the student helps the magic dog perform card tricks by identifying the word that sounds different from the others.

How students use Houndini

To work on Houndini, the student clicks Houndini the magic dog. Houndini presents four cards and asks the student to click the card that presents a different sound than the other three cards. The student must listen carefully, because the dog may ask for a different first sound, a different last sound, or a different middle sound. Points are awarded for each correct answer, and bonus points are awarded after 10 correct answers.

As the student progresses in the exercise, the level of difficulty increases:

  • In the first stage, the cards display pictures that represent the spoken words (no written words).
  • In the second stage, the cards display pictures with their corresponding written words. This helps the student learn to associate a spoken word with a written word.
  • In the third stage, the cards display written words only. The visual picture cues disappear, and the student learns to recognize written words and map letters to speech sounds.

Tip: The following keyboard shortcuts are available in Houndini:

  • Houndini the dog (start button). Space bar
  • Cards, left to right (response buttons). Number keys 1 through 4

How Houndini rewards progress

Session consecutive correct counter. The three stars next to Houndini represent the consecutive correct counter. The stars light up to indicate the number of consecutive correct responses. When the student answers three consecutive trials correctly, the curtain rises a little bit and the counter resets. When the student answers three consecutive trials correctly four times, the curtain opens and the picture wheel round begins. The student has a few seconds to spin the wheel (by dragging in a circle); otherwise, the magic dog will spin the wheel instead. When the wheel stops on an item, that item is added to the picture on the right. As the student continues answering trials correctly in a session, more items appear in the picture, which can help indicate a more successful session performance.

Session high score. Each time the student surpasses the highest score ever achieved in one session, the points counter lights up and flashes the words High Score.

Time. The timer at the top of the screen shows the amount of time the student needs to work on the exercise that day, which is based on the student's protocol. When the time requirement is met, the exercise session automatically ends, and the student can either choose another exercise to work on or review his/her success in the exercises.

Exercise percent complete markers. The percent complete markers (bars) below the points counter indicate the percentage of completed content in the exercise. Each marker represents 10% of the exercise. When all of the markers light up, the exercise is complete.

How students master Houndini

The student will continue to work on Houndini until the skills in the exercise are mastered. Then, the exercise is closed. To learn more see About completing a program.

Tip: For a complete list of content in the exercise, see the Reading Readiness teacher manual.