WATCH — Port Arthur native’s educational board game featured on “Good Morning America”

Published 12:40 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

In November, Jacqueline Davis was working to fund a board game she created to help her dyslexic son learn to read.

On Wednesday morning, the Port Arthur native, her son and their game was featured on “Good Morning America.”

“March is National Reading Month, and there’s a growing number of children falling behind in their reading skills,” co-host Michael Strahan said. “It’s a problem that was made worse by the pandemic, but there’s a new tool that is helping.”

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The segment focused on Davis, a Thomas Jefferson High School graduate who now lives in Washington D.C., and the creation of her game, Kangaroo Cravings, which is a product of her non-profit Clever Noodle.

Kangaroo Cravings is a game created by Port Arthur native Jacquelyn Davis to help teach her son to read. (Courtesy photo)

Davis previously told Port Arthur Newsmedia she created the game during the pandemic when her son was attending school virtually and she was able to better see the severity of Madden’s struggle with reading.

At the time, Madden’s parents were unaware of his dyslexia. Once he was tested, she began researching ways to help children learn to read.

“Like so many of us during the pandemic, we were ordering things to our house,” Davis told Port Arthur Newsmedia in November. “So I started cutting up the boxes. I made 15 games and we played them every day. One day he said, ‘Mom, I know what you’re doing. You’re teaching me to read. But that’s OK because it’s really fun.’”

When Madden returned to school, his teacher quickly noticed his improvement and asked to test the game.

Soon after, a Kickstarter campaign was created with a goal of $50,000 to help manufacture 2,000 games.

The crowd-funding site garnered more than $65,000 in pledged donations.

“There are about 300 sight words that children need to learn between kindergarten and second grade,” Davis said during this week’s “Good Morning America” segment. “They’re words that have really high frequency, so children just need to learn them so they have them in their long term memory.”

According to the National Literary Institute, approximately 40 percent of third-grade students in the U.S. cannot read at a basic level. That number increases to 70 percent in low-income fourth grade students. This can result in social and emotional difficulties, the Institute said.

Geared for ages 4-9, Kangaroo Cravings uses speaking and movement to work with sight words.

“There are actions like spell the word each letter with your tail like a kangaroo,” Davis said on the television show. “We know from the science that using words and moving your body with the letters actually helps you learn them.”

An example, she gave, was spelling the word “me.” If a player drew that card, they would spell it in the air with their nose while saying it again for repetition.

The game has been tested in more than 40 classrooms in the U.S.

And Melissa Kim, former deputy chancellor for the D.C. Public School System, said the district is purchasing the game for each of their schools.

Kangaroo Cravings is available for preorder, and is expected to be out this summer.

The game can be purchased by clicking here.

ICYMI: Port Arthur native with dyslexic child creates game aimed at teaching kids to read