Okay the excitement is mounting on all sides I must say. Company representatives are getting ready to travel to New York City and set up their booths, store reps are getting ready to top their Fit-Bit mileage in 4 days and press representatives are scanning all the incoming e-mail blasts about new products and launches.

Each day we get Toy Fair Press releases and this week it was great to see one from a small company and PAL Award winner, “P. F. Shaggy Launches Rule Crazy, a Multi Award-Winning Board Game to Inspire Budding Readers.” I love when parents, who are on the front line watching their kids learn to read, sometimes with great effort, invent a fun game to teach kids to read. In this case, it’s a father-daughter team, founder-dad, Shahin Orci, and his 6-year-old daughter CFO (Chief Fun Officer), Sabrina, who designed a game for kids 5-8 (grades K-2), Rule Crazy helps children build sentence-reading skills thanks to outrageous vocabulary and imagery, and a mainstream board game format. Rule Crazy also sneakily incorporates 72 sight words to help children master those more challenging, frequently-used words in early reading materials.

This dad-daughter team isn’t afraid to stand up for reading, amidst all the emphasis on the importance of STEM-based products. Don’t get me wrong. I am very supportive of the movement to build interest and skills in our young scientists, especially girls, but I think we overlook the importance of early language skill building and reading. Finding innovative ways to make learning to read fun should be a top priority as proficient language and reading skills are essential in all professions, especially as school and the work force require more collaboration and explanation of  ideas and results.

I applaud P.F Shaggy for bringing reading back into the forefront of top priorities in children’s products:

“Currently, STEM and STEAM-based games are in great demand. However, the makers of Rule Crazy believe that there is another brain-boosting category that must not be forgotten by the board game industry: Reading. Mass market retail shelves today are especially lacking reading-based games for ages 5-6.”